LabCentral Lands $22M for New Shared Lab Project

The funds support space for biotech startups at an MIT innovation hub in Cambridge, Mass.
LabCentral 238 in Cambridge, Mass. Image courtesy of Perkins&Will

LabCentral Inc. has reeled in $22.4 million in sponsorship commitments for the development of LabCentral 238, a new co-working laboratory space in Cambridge, Mass. The 100,000-square-foot project will be part of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s South of Main Street Development in the middle of the Kendall Square neighborhood’s innovation hub.

LabCentral, which provides unique, shared laboratory space designed as a launchpad for potential biotech startups, secured the new commitments from Thermo Fisher Scientific and Waters Corp., which join existing sponsor MIT and founding sponsor Astellas. LabCentral 238 is already under way and will take shape in two phases, the first of which will yield 50,000 square feet of fully permitted space. Architectural firm Perkins&Will designed the space facility, while Encore served as architectural renderer.


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For life sciences companies, let alone startups, square footage has long been hard to come by in the metropolitan Boston area, the leading life sciences cluster of the U.S. “Life sciences tenants seeking space in Cambridge are expected to have to wait nearly two years for available space,” according to a year-end 2020 report by Newmark.

Phase one of LabCentral 238 is on track to reach completion in November 2021, and two companies have already staked a claim to space at the facility. In the meantime, LabCentral anticipates additional sponsorship commitments for the public-private endeavor.

Demand Above Demand

The COVID-19 pandemic only served the make the call for life sciences space even louder. LabCentral announced LabCentral 238 in October 2019—and the project couldn’t be more timely.

“The biotech industry has seen a significant spike in demand for shared lab space, particularly since the mobilization of the industry in response to the pandemic,” Mike LaRhette, chief business officer, LabCentral Inc., told Commercial Property Executive. “This trend reflects the heightened demand to accelerate process development, production and manufacturing capabilities of early stage, growth stage and mature companies in this space. This demand is complemented by the need for more collaboration among multiple players and the speed of access to resources and expertise. We believe our unique platform and model meets these needs.”

The second phase of LabCentral 238, which will deliver the remaining 50,000 square feet, is due to reach completion in late spring 2022. LabCentral said the development costs of the project are not fixed as the company moves through the build-out process.