A consortium of entrepreneurs, scientists and investors can tap $3.5 million in federal funds over the next three years to try to improve the health of people in Maine and other parts of the Northeast.
The Driven Biomedical Technology Accelerator Hub, which is just starting up in Maine, will provide investment, education, mentoring and other resources to move life sciences discoveries from the lab to the market by creating new biomedical companies.
“The goal of the hub is to create an ecosystem that doesn’t exist in Maine,” said Kevin Strange, a co-investigator in the Driven program. Strange is the former president of the MDI Biological Laboratory in Bar Harbor and president of startup company Novo Biosciences.
The U.S. National Institutes of Health’s National Institute of General Medical Sciences is funding the accelerator program in four regions nationwide. The NIH funding will be used to administer the program and provide resources to get new companies off the ground.
The Northeast region includes Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, Rhode Island and Delaware.
The hub is part of the NIH’s Institutional Development Award program, which aims to build research capacities in states, including Maine, that historically have had low levels of NIH funding.
Maine has two members in the program: the MDI Biological Laboratory in Bar Harbor and Maine Medical Center in Portland.
“Sharing among all of the states will increase the probability of success. The grant also provides some startup expertise that, when combined with places like the Maine Center for Entrepreneurs, will also increase the chance of successfully launching meaningful products and growing jobs locally,” said Todd Keiller, director of technology transfer at Maine Medical Center Research Institute.