The Pagliuca Harvard Life Lab is a 15,000-square-foot state-of-the-art wet laboratory and co-working space for high-potential biotech and life science ventures at Harvard. Companies in our intimate, highly curated community thrive with the support of the Harvard and LabCentral ecosystems.
Is your Harvard-affiliated biotech or life science company ready to level up?
Apply to be a part of our community
-Dedicated co-working office space for Life Lab members
-3 conference rooms
-4 phone booths
-Lockers and filing cabinets
-30 benches in the open lab
-6 benches in the private suite
-Biosafety lab level 1 (BSL-1), with dedicated biosafety lab
level 2 (BSL-2) rooms
The space is supported by fume hood alcoves, tissue culture rooms, refrigeration, a microscopy room, and associated operational infrastructure.
We offer below-market rates to allow our entrepreneurs to focus their capital on pursuing groundbreaking science and building their ventures. Companies tailor their stay to fit their growth, and join on a month-to-month basis for up to two years.
Through June 2022, rates for the facility are:
-Membership fee for each resident: $300 per month
-Lab benches: $3,000 per month
Members can reserve equipment through an online reservation tool.
-Glassware prep: autoclave, glass washer
-Formulation equipment: fume hoods, pH meters, type I and type II water
-Cold storage: refrigerators, -20C freezers, -80C freezer, cryo storage
-Basic equipment: centrifuges, vortexes, shakers, micropipettors, electrophoresis tanks, vacuum, gas supplies, ice machine
-Standard sample analysis tools: plate readers, PCRs, imaging stations, spectrophotometers
-Fully equipped BSL-2 labs for tissue culture, virology, and microbiology
We take care of the lab so you can concentrate on science.
-EHS training and compliance for all lab users
-Permits for all laboratory operations
-Cleaning and waste removal
-Maintenance of equipment and technical support
-Centralized purchasing, in which pooled access reduces costs
While we offer no direct funding, our extensive connections in the field help us connect you to VCs and other support. Ventures can also participate in the annual Harvard President’s Innovation Challenge.
As our operating partner, Life Lab participants have access to all of LabCentral’s resources, including events, sponsors, and community.
At these regular lunches, venture leaders share knowledge through guided and spontaneous discussions. Building a company is easier with mutual coaching and support from fellow founders!
Frequent happy hours are a joyful part of the Life Lab experience! It’s an opportunity to relax with other community members, network with occasional guest speakers, and build lasting connections.
We’re happiest when we’re celebrating venture milestones. It’s not only inspiring, it’s an opportunity to learn from each other’s success.
We’re proud to maintain a community of mutual support. Sharing goals and knowledge, whether a team has just joined the Life Lab or has been a member for months, encourages accountability and builds relationships.
Former Life Lab ventures often return to share what they’ve learned and experienced since leaving our space, providing inspiration and invaluable information on how to navigate the current startup and science worlds.
As you advance your science, we make sure that you have and know how to use the best equipment for your needs. We are always glad to train you on shared equipment provided by the Life Lab or an outside vendor. Life Lab ventures also learn best practices on laboratory tools.
As part of the Harvard Innovation Labs ecosystem, Life Lab members also gain access to diverse resources – from business-building and industry-specific programming in the Venture Program, to our extensive network of advisors and experts, to the prototyping and manufacturing tools in the Maker Studio. Ventures at the Life Lab led by Harvard alumni may also choose to apply for Launch Lab X GEO, a venture leadership program including founder talks, business-building workshops, leadership circles, and pitch feedback sessions.
Our partner, LabCentral, has vast resources open to Life Lab ventures, including office hours and webinars. Teams can meet with the LabCentral team to make critical connections with investors, experts, sponsors, and the biopharmaceutical industry.
BioDevek improves clinical outcomes following internal surgeries by leveraging materials science, biology, and medicine to develop the next generation of biomaterial-based surgical solutions. Our degradable biomaterials can be injected or sprayed onto biological tissues to protect and improve the healing of traditionally sutured or stapled wounds. By engineering the material to degrade at predetermined rates, drugs can be delivered locally over time, improving patient outcomes while eliminating the side effects associated with systemic drug delivery.
Many oral diseases, such as cavities and gum disease, can be reversed if diagnosed early. Unfortunately, current diagnostics don’t provide enough information to catch these early stages. CaviSense technology enables early diagnosis of cavities and monitoring at home. Our continuous monitoring platform provides continuous data and communication between patients and dentists, helping dentists make informed and timely decisions between office visits. Ultimately, CaviSense empowers patients to take control of and improve their oral health right at home.
Products that rebuild microbial communities do not yet exist because no one can map the vast, inter-species interaction networks responsible for community behavior. To meet this need, Concerto Biosciences’ cofounders invented kChip, the only ultra-high-throughput platform that can measure millions of microbial interactions. Using kChip data, we can map interaction networks that reveal “ensembles”—groups of microbes that shepherd damaged microbial communities to health. To date, we have measured >6 million interactions and discovered an ensemble that corrects the microbial deficiency underlying atopic dermatitis. Concerto will become the premier inventor of ensembles in medicine and agriculture, reinventing humanity’s relationship with microbes.
General Biologics, Inc. is a synthetic biology and protein engineering company that develops therapeutics for unmet medical needs. We use rational biological design to create therapies with multiple functional elements whose activities are balanced to minimize side effects, enhance pharmacokinetics, and attack disease on multiple fronts. General Biologics’ lead fusion protein and gene therapy products are based on a platform technology that allows proteins to reversibly and safely bind to red blood cells. This dramatically extends the plasma half-life of these proteins and allows for infrequent injections. General Biologics is currently supported by contracts with the Department of Defense.
Holistick Medical is an early-stage medical device company developing an innovative device aimed at treating common cardiac defects, such as Patent Foramen Ovale (PFO). PFO is a common septal defect causing blood flow between left and right atria – usually without any impact on the individual’s health. However, PFO has been linked to strokes in young people. Several recent clinical studies have shown that PFO closure significantly reduces stroke recurrence. Unlike current metallic devices, Holistick uses flexible materials, allowing an atraumatic, small footprint PFO closure while leaving the septum intact. This has the potential to improve long-term patient outcomes and provides options for future therapies.
The exponential growth of digital data outpaces our ability to store that data with existing technologies. Given its superior density, stability, longevity, and energy efficiency, DNA is an attractive data storage medium. However, current DNA data storage costs are prohibitively high ($3500 per megabyte). Kern Systems is leveraging the power of enzymes and cutting-edge software to store digital data in DNA cheaper, faster, and at scale.
M13 Therapeutics is harnessing the phageome to engineer a diverse set of immune-privileged gene delivery nanoparticles, called phage-derived particles (PDPs), for targeted human cell transduction. The bacteriophage-based platform is a highly modular system with engineerable protein capsids and designer minimal phage DNA (mpDNA) cargos. PDPs offer durable therapeutic efficacy via repeat administration, enable tissue-specific targeting, support massively scalable manufacturing, and can package >99% of human cDNA as a therapeutic (>20 kb). M13Tx’s mission is to deliver any therapeutic gene to any target cell.
The pace of drug discovery is limited by the complexity of biology. Experimental systems that yield the most relevant data—bespoke assays and animal models—only support testing one drug candidate at a time. Manifold Bio aims to upgrade drug discovery with massively parallel measurement at every step. We are building a platform that combines DNA technologies and a novel protein barcoding capability, allowing measurement of protein therapeutic candidates, in mixture, across in vitro and in vivo assays. Our platform unlocks entire categories of treatments, leading to a deep pipeline of drugs to serve patients in need.
Nabla Bio is a next-generation antibody design company spun out of George Church’s lab at Harvard. Nabla’s platform combines state-of-the-art protein language modeling – a branch of AI-driven protein modeling Nabla cofounders helped pioneer – with a novel high-throughput multiplex antibody assay technology. The integration of Nabla’s AI with proprietary wet-lab experimentation enables engineering of multiple clinically essential properties into next-generation antibodies, making them safer, more effective, and easier to manufacture. Nabla has raised an $11M seed financing round co-led by Khosla Ventures and Zetta Venture Partners, with participation from Fifty Years, Cantos Ventures, and others.
Promakhos Therapeutics is developing new drugs for inflammatory disorders. Current therapies for inflammatory disorders are immunosuppressive, do not work well, often require injection, and can cause significant side effects. Instead of immunosuppression, Promakhos Therapeutics focuses on local and controlled modulation of specific elements of the immune system to restore homeostasis. Our expertise in immunology, cell biology, bacteriology, and drug discovery has enabled us to develop oral immunomodulatory small molecules with limited side effects.
Raqia Therapeutics is developing controllable CAR-T cells to improve the safety, efficacy, and durability of CAR-T cell therapies for cancer treatment. Our platform technology uncouples tumor targeting from CAR-T cell killing. Unlike traditional CAR-Ts, Raqia’s CAR-Ts are activated by a small molecule-conjugated antibody targeting a specific tumor antigen. By adjusting the dose of this antibody conjugate, a physician can dynamically control tumor cell killing and minimize the risk of any off-target side effects. Our therapy can employ multiple different tumor-targeting antibodies to maximize the recognition and killing of tumors, minimizing the risk of relapse. Raqia Therapeutics CAR-Ts are also armed with a dynamic phenotypic switch technology that optimizes the phenotype of CAR-T cells before and after dosing.
Rhogen Biotech is a preclinical-stage biotech company redefining the potential of the human recombinant fusion enzyme protein for the treatment of sepsis and sepsis-associated organ dysfunctions. Despite advances in understanding the pathology of sepsis, therapy management has not changed for decades, and mortality rates remain up to 60% in more severe cases. Because of this, Rhogen is developing a novel therapeutic target for sepsis. Rhogen research also focuses on new approaches in microbial engineering to design AI-based living therapeutics medicines and develop recombinant/synthetic proteins to treat infectious and inflammatory diseases.
Stratagen Bio is transforming treatment planning to ensure that each patient has personalized and optimized care. Our first product is the OxyTrack platform – a proprietary suite of tissue oxygen sensors and treatment planning software that enables clinicians to incorporate quantitative and absolute measurements of tissue oxygen in their treatment planning process. Our OxyTrack sensor is made completely of silicone, measured non-invasively using MRI, and remains in the tissue indefinitely to enable long-term monitoring of tissue oxygen before, during, and after treatment. Our OxyTrack platform can be used to personalize care and improve outcomes for patients with diseases and injuries including cancer, trauma, ischemic injuries, and vascular disorders.
STRM.BIO is a pre-clinical, VC-backed biotechnology company that is developing extracellular vesicles (EV) to deliver gene therapies in vivo. STRM.BIO’s EV platform has a natural tropism to hematopoietic stem cells, has a large carrying capacity that supports protein and nucleic acid delivery, and allows for repeat dosing. The company’s lead therapeutic programs are targeting rare blood diseases in bone marrow. This work will open the door to the future of medicine for patients worldwide by establishing a new class of therapeutics, and bringing new, effective treatments and cures to market.
Motivated to address the pervasive threat posed by climate change, Terascale is developing a new platform to mass-manufacture highly-efficient, inexpensive solar panels. Solar energy is an abundant, equitable resource that must drive our collective effort to achieve net zero carbon emissions by 2050. To meet this goal, the world will need to quadruple the total solar energy capacity installed over the last thirty years each year beginning around 2040. Terascale’s innovation in manufacturing and materials is primed to address this challenge by enabling the mass-production of inexpensive and highly-efficient solar panels. Terascale is a home for creative, collaborative people on a mission to make the world a better, more sustainable place.
Biologics are revolutionary medicines that have advanced the treatment of diseases ranging from Crohn’s Disease to cancer. However, these large, complex molecules are not readily absorbed in the human gut and must be injected or infused. Transcera is solving this problem with a novel lipid-based platform that enables large molecules to cross biological barriers in the body. Transcera hopes to apply this approach to many chronic diseases, starting with oral peptide treatments for type II diabetes and obesity. The team is actively exploring adjacent applications of the technology, including the potential to improve delivery of biologics to hard-to-reach tissues such as the brain. Transcera won the 2021 Harvard President’s Innovation Challenge and raised a $1 million pre-seed financing round led by Pear VC in June 2021.
No matter what challenge I came across while building UrSure, one of the other founders in the Life Lab had already encountered and solved it. Having access to that knowledge base was like having a super power for an early stage company and CEO.
The ability to operate lean and to de-risk the underlying technology and approach was critical. The close knit community at [the] Life Lab was also instrumental in shaping our strong company culture.
The Life Lab wasn’t our first lab incubator environment so I thought I knew what to expect. I was wrong. The Life Lab staff and other teams were so much more supportive than I had experienced previously. We felt welcomed into a warm community, whereas past spaces had felt like, well, just space.
[The] Life Lab community and resources were invaluable to a super early stage university spinout company like us. From operational help and resources to strategic thinking, [the] Life Lab was helpful all throughout our company building journey.
In addition to the flexibility for growth, we benefited from hard-earned wisdom from fellow co-founders that proved instrumental to navigating our early stages.
Accure evolved from having one scientist — happens to be the CEO — to having a multi-functional team, a fully-automated digital diagnostic device, and two industry partnerships generating revenue.
The exceptional support we enjoyed from the Life Lab team enabled us to focus on our science from day 1 and stay on track through the challenging times brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic. It is a special place where the occasionally isolating business of a start-up is greatly facilitated by the quality of resources available, and where our team always felt part of a larger, vibrant, and innovative community.
High-potential ventures founded and led by Harvard faculty, alumni, students, and postdoctoral scholars are invited to apply. The Harvard founder or Harvard team lead must be located on-site. Faculty and alumni ventures should have institutional funding (e.g., commercialization grants, angel or VC funding.) Teams must demonstrate that their enterprise supports the Harvard community and that they are willing to contribute to the Harvard Innovation Labs ecosystem.
|1.||If eligible, apply via the online application.|
|2.||Our selection committee reviews applications 3-4 times each year to determine whether to invite your venture to pitch.|
|3.||If invited, your venture pitches to our selection committee.|
|4.||Selected ventures are invited to join our space!|
Amitabh Chandra – Faculty Chair, Pagliuca Harvard Life Lab Selection Committee; Ethel Zimmerman Wiener Professor of Public Policy, Harvard Kennedy School; Henry and Allison McCance Professor of Business Administration, Harvard Business School
Galit Alter – Professor of Medicine, Harvard Medical School
Emery Brown – Edward Hood Taplin Professor of Medical Engineering and of Computational Neuroscience, Massachusetts Institute of Technology; Professor of Health Sciences and Technology, Massachusetts Institute of Technology; Warren M. Zapol Professor of Anaesthesia, Harvard Medical School, Massachusetts General Hospital; Director, Harvard-MIT Health Sciences and Technology Program, MIT; Associate Director, Institute for Medical Engineering and Science, MIT; Investigator, Picower Institute for Learning and Memory, Department of Brain and Cognitive Sciences, MIT
Adam Cohen – Professor of Chemistry and Chemical Biology, and of Physics, Harvard University
Alan Crane – Entrepreneur Partner at Polaris Partners
George Daley – Dean of the Faculty of Medicine and Caroline Shields Walker Professor of Medicine, Harvard Medical School
Tom Eisenmann – Peter O. Crisp Faculty Chair, Harvard Innovation Labs; Howard H. Stevenson Professor of Business Administration, Harvard Business School
Johannes Fruehauf – Co-founder and President, LabCentral
Paulina Hill – Biotech Investor, Omega Funds
Samir Mitragotri – Hiller Professor of Bioengineering and Hansjörg Wyss Professor of Biologically Inspired Engineering, Harvard John A. Paulson School of Engineering and Applied Sciences
Mark Namchuk – Executive Director of Therapeutics Translation, Harvard Medical School
Amy Wagers – Forst Family Professor of Stem Cell and Regenerative Biology, Harvard University
Stacie Weninger – President, FBRI
The Pagliuca Harvard Life Lab was made possible by the support and generosity of Judy and Stephen Pagliuca.
Originally from Chicago, Judy earned a BS of Mechanical Engineering from the University of Illinois, and an MBA from Harvard Business School (MBA 1983). She is the managing partner of Pagsgroup, where she invests in startup companies in the Boston area, working with founders to help grow their businesses. Judy is involved in a large number of philanthropic endeavors focusing on children and education and is a founder of Step Up Your Game.
Steve received a BA from Duke University, an MBA from Harvard Business School (MBA 1982), and is a Certified Public Accountant. He is the Co-Chair of Bain Capital, a leading global private investment firm based in Boston. Steve is also a Managing General Partner and co-owner of the Boston Celtics, playing a leadership role in the development of basketball strategy and operations. Steve is the President of the Boston Celtics Shamrock Foundation and is active with several other non-profits. He is also active in political causes and believes in a “big tent” philosophy that works to find common ground among different public opinions.
At HBS, Judy and Steve have been active volunteers serving over the years as Co-Chairs of their respective MBA Class Reunion Campaigns. They are long-time members of the HBS Board of Dean’s Advisors. Additionally, Steve has served on the Health Care Initiative Advisory Board since 2006.
Commenting on the gift to the Life Lab in 2016, Steve noted, “We believe innovation in the life sciences is critically important to the future of our region from an economic standpoint and equally important to all of our futures in its potential to solve complex health problems.”
“We are thrilled to be able to contribute to the innovation movement at Harvard and we are excited at the potential of the ideas that will emerge from this new space,” Judy added.
The Life Lab is proud to support all of Harvard’s high-potential ventures exploring science. We look forward to hearing about your venture and want to know how we can help you reach your full potential. We can’t wait to be a part of your entrepreneurial journey!