Susan Froshauer is ecstatic about the possibilities for the future of bioscience in Connecticut.
That’s where her focus is: cultivating more startups in the industry. This cultivation will facilitate the development and engineering of biopharmaceuticals and medical devices that will eventually revolutionize healthcare entirely.
Connecticut United for Research Excellence, Inc. (CURE), the organization of which Froshauer serves as president and CEO, aims to do this by tightening the bolts of Connecticut’s bioscience cluster — bringing its members together and providing them with the resources they need to achieve next-level accomplishments in the industry sphere. With partners and members in universities and government agencies along with, scientists, educators, mentors, students, entrepreneurs, business experts, service providers and investors, they’ve built a network powerful enough to do just that.
The organization’s latest endeavor to support the bioscience cluster has been the CURE Innovation Commons — a 24,000-square-foot incubator coming to Groton, CT, focused specifically on advancing bioscience entrepreneurship and commercialization in the state. An incubator that, Froshauer says, is a little bit different from what we’ve seen in incubators that have come before.
“The definition of the Commons is not just what one would expect — bringing together mentors, investors, and educating entrepreneurs,” she said, “but cooking up novel ideas exploiting that talent [in our network] and that neighborhood.
“Because of CURE’s network and experience, plus an incredibly distinguished and experienced board of directors, we have access to talent, mentors and financing capability. That is eventually what will all coalesce in this space.”
A little over 140 members have joined CURE, a grab bag of big pharmaceutical companies, medium-sized companies and even some smaller ones. This, combined with a whole collection of colleges, universities and expert service providers such as consultants and attorneys, builds what is quite a broad spectrum of membership that is CURE’s network. It’s something Froshauer strongly believes will play a large role in the success of developing the next big thing at the Commons.
“By bringing people together in a community, this incubator, the Commons, creativity and innovation can be cultivated,” she said.
But what is really going to hammer this thing home, she believes, is their latest partnership announced last week with Comcast Business, who will be providing an infrastructure for the Commons that will truly allow visionaries and innovators to take full advantage of this space.
Comcast Business was selected as CURE’s founding technology network services partner for the project and will be providing the Commons with one Gigabit-per-second (Gbps) Ethernet Dedicated Internet service, which will be integral to stimulating new bioscience incubators on the Groton campus. Additionally, members will receive access to Comcast Business VoiceEdge™, a cloud-based voice and unified communications solution that helps keep entrepreneurs connected anytime, anywhere.
“These robust services available in Groton will not only exceed CURE’s needs in performing cutting-edge life science research in the state,” the press release for the partnership states, “but will also allow the incubator to continue competing globally as an innovation leader in the bioscience field.”
In the case of this partnership, the excitement is mutual. Mary McLaughlin, Comcast’s Regional SVP, is hopeful about what the Commons will be able to produce.
“I’d love to see some innovative research findings for products in the bioscience arena,” she told us. “That could span anything from drugs or technologies that improve people’s lives and health to what’s next in sustainable food.”
“I’d also love to see it as a growth driver for jobs in Connecticut. I think that we’re invested in Connecticut, with our employee base and network connection, and I’d love to continue to see this state grow with more jobs in a more robust economy.”
For Froshauer, what she hopes to see the CURE Innovation Commons produce it a little more broad and, perhaps, a little more hopeful:
“A big idea,” she said “that is an intellectual surprise — that a couple years down the road [the Commons] is providing this resource and positive environment where folks will be hanging out, having a coffee and just continuing to incubate new ideas for a new approach to help in medicine.”
We’re all excited about the future of bioscience in Connecticut. This state has the potential to be a global leader in bioscience innovation, with this space and its powerful infrastructure at the center of it all. The possibilities of what can happen when the industry comes together, collaborates and supports each other are truly endless.
Who knows what we could see come out of this place:
- Engineering of new and innovative 3D printing approaches to medical product design?
- Sustainable solutions to the global hunger crisis?
- A viable way to further integrate telepresence into healthcare?
- New and cheaper ways to manufacture pharmaceuticals?
- A cure for cancer?