While Connecticut’s startup community continues to will its way into the public eye, one bioscience cluster in Groton is singlehandedly thrusting the state into the national conversation.
The organization, CURE, provides its members with the resources to create, innovate and network with partnering government agencies, mentors, investors, educators, scientists and entrepreneurs.
Around this time last year, we profiled CURE. Earlier this week, we caught up with President and CEO Susan Froshauer to learn about the progress they have made over the last year.
CURE represented Connecticut last month at the 2016 BIO International Conference in San Francisco. CURE members from 12 companies presented their work to the international community and showed industry leaders what the state has to offer, Froshauer says.
The group’s current mission is to move away from bolstering internal collaboration in favor of showcasing what CURE members have accomplished to draw talent to Connecticut.
CURE regularly hosts large-scale networking events, like a summer picnic at its headquarters, which drew more than 300 people to Groton. There, a panel sifted through ways CURE Innovation Commons can build on the solid foundation they’ve forged over the years.
Members are also partnering with Yale School of Medicine’s BioHaven program, which, according to its website, engages in identifying “clinical stage compounds targeting the glutamatergic system.”
Three weeks ago, CURE opened its 22,000-square-foot Innovation Commons incubator space to bring the state’s leaders in bioscience together. The space will be home to startups focused on biotechnology, law, healthcare IT, accounting and biopharmaceuticals.
The incubator is already home to three full-time tenants, Froshauer says, with three more expected to join along with their 20 sponsors, all of whom are members.
Statewide-operating firms will soon occupy the labs, scheduling their own office hours. Membership packages vary greatly, so tenants’ needs are met based on their time and budgets.
“We wanted to offer something more than walls in helping to grow companies,” Froshauer says.
“This very space is meant to be engaging, lively and flexible to meet the needs of talented individuals starting and growing companies,” she says. “I’m very proud of this space. It’s off and running.”
Froshauer’s group has already received glowing reviews from members like GestVision, Inc., who have access to assistance from laboratory supply firms, hazardous waste training and quality control manufacturing.
“The commons allow companies to get started without having to use their service providers,” she said. “All of these partnerships help give a company a huge leg up and save immense [amounts of] time. Members are excited about the layout of the space and have said how conducive it is for networking and collaboration.”
The commons have used a unique resource to set themselves apart, too: a partnership with Comcast Business, which provides one Gigabit-per-second (Gbps) Ethernet Dedicated Internet service. This state-of-the-art capacity helps them operate data analysis more efficiently and provide a full sweep of on-demand services, Froshauer says.
What will CURE be innovating another year from now? Who knows, but we’re excited to find out.