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 2023, 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.
HitchBio develops RBC-based solutions using Cellgrip technology to affix & deliver diverse therapeutics with increased delivery efficiency to tissue.
The Ilios Therapeutics platform utilizes glutathione and poly-unsaturated fatty acids to drive therapeutic agents through the Blood-Brain Barrier to create a multi-functional effect upstream of the inflammatory and oxidative stress signaling pathways. The platform is optimized for multiple diseases through proprietary Machine Learning trained prediction. Their first program targets ALS, with future expansions to FTD, TBI, PD, and AD.
InGel Therapeutics is a Harvard-spinoff, regenerative medicine biotech leveraging novel neuroprotective mechanisms to stop retinal degeneration. Our beachhead indication is retinitis pigmentosa, with future expansion opportunities that include dry age-related macular degeneration and glaucoma.
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.
Kestrel Therapeutics is aspiring to extend the methodologies and successes of this field to targeting RAS and to other significant targets. Exploiting oncogene addiction has been the foundation of extraordinarily fruitful efforts to precisely drug mutated cancer targets and eliminate the malignant cells that carry them. The prospect of patient benefit through these approaches is profound.
Modulate Bio is developing novel small molecule therapeutics to treat patients with central nervous system disorders. Existing drugs used for diseases derived from functional GABA-A deficits are frequently plagued with toxicity and side-effects reflecting GABA-A receptor over-activation. Our next-generation Positive Allosteric Modulators (PAMs) maintain receptor functionality within homeostatic levels, which eliminates over-potentiation at higher doses. This allows our ‘bracketed’ drugs to correct the functional deficit and minimize on-target toxicity.
Org: Wyss Institute
Contact: Sukanya Punthambaker, CEO
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.
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.
Our ventures represent the breadth and diversity of Harvard University and highlight the cross-university demand for this space. Life Lab founders come from nine Harvard schools, 38% of the ventures have a female founder, and 70% have international founders. Every day, we’re proud to support great science and an incredible community.
Like the ‘butterfly effect’ wherein a meaningful event leads to larger impact, Harvard's Life Labs catalyzed a simple idea that has become STRM.BIO, and the goal of bringing gene therapy to life to the millions of people around the world who could benefit from it.
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 Life Lab took that organizational/logistical burden off our shoulders when we needed to focus 100% on our science and fundraising. From a cost-benefit perspective, Life Lab cannot be beat. I recommend it 100%. The team is always there to help whether connecting you to the right people, giving advice on lab ops as you get ready to move out, buying new equipment or just a friendly face!
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 allowed us to grow at the pace that was perfect for us. We started with just $100K in the bank, a single bench and just us three founders. With all the shared equipment and infrastructure, we successfully completed our first molecular cloning at the end of the first week! As we were making great progress in our first year, we were then fortunate to have the opportunity to move into the suite, where we grew to 12 and successfully hit all our milestones to raise a Series A about two years from the day we moved in.
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.
|If eligible, apply via the online application.
|Our selection committee reviews applications 3-4 times each year to determine whether to invite your venture to pitch.
|If invited, your venture pitches to our selection committee.
|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!