Biotech’s best-kept secret is right here in Wilmington at UNCW CREST Research Park – the Campus for Research, Entrepreneurship, Service and Teaching. UNCW CREST Research Park began in 1999 as UNCW Center for Marine Science. By 2015, it has gained industry attention as a growing center of scientific innovation and global hub of forward thinking marine biotechnology.
At the heart of UNCW CREST Research Park is the state-of-the-art MARBIONC (Marine Biotechnology in North Carolina) building. This 69,000-square foot translational research facility, located off of Masonboro Loop Road, is a $30 million public/private business venture that opened in late 2013. The facility gives university researchers and entrepreneurs the opportunity to operate under one roof and collaborate on discoveries using marine organisms, and then turn those discoveries into products or processes that benefit the public.
MARBIONC Building offers modular commercial research laboratories available for rent to established firms, entrepreneurial startups, government agencies, universities focusing on biotechnology, analytical services, and early-stage pharmaceutical research and development. The companies that occupy these commercial laboratories will attract high-skill, high-pay jobs to the area. Once the lab space is outgrown the businesses will “graduate” from MARBIONC Building and seek larger real estate options in the region.
Tenants have access to the most advanced biotechnology labs and equipment on the East Coast, with university Ph.D.-level scientists and leading-edge instrumentation adjacent to leased labs. Scientists’ communal access to technologies eliminates the high cost of purchasing equipment on their own, and allows samples to be processed within the work environment, eliminating the need to ship them to other research facilities.
MARBIONC Building supports what is traditionally known as translational science, which means transforming a discovery into something useful that can benefit the public. In this paradigm, first comes the “aha” moment of the discovery. For example, UNCW CREST Research Park scientists experimented on molecules found in micro-algae. While separating the molecules, they discovered that one of the separated molecules had a healing effect for lung processes. Now the experiments on that molecule are leading to a medicine that may help cure lung diseases like cystic fibrosis and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).
Once a discovery is made, scientists have a process to guide a product from the marine environment to the marketplace. First they identify niche markets to develop products to meet specific needs. Then they assemble teams of UNCW CREST Research Park researchers from science, business and academia to work on the product based on partners’ needs. Then they provide infrastructure and support to bring the new marine products to the marketplace.
MARBIONC Building is currently more than 80 percent occupied with partners and scientists working on next-generation marine biotechnology products and processes. UNCW CREST Research Park will gain attention with the upcoming BioMarine 2015 convention held this October in Wilmington. International business leaders in marine biotechnology will be invited for a special day to tour the facilities, learn more about commercial opportunities and directly connect with UNCW thought leaders.
UNCW CREST Research Park will continue to ignite economic growth and expand with increasing marine biotechnology discoveries. As we attract new businesses and discoveries, the benefits to the American public are endless.
Discover why rising biotechnology and life sciences groups from all over the country are moving to UNCW CREST Research Park. UNCW CREST Research Park offers top-notch commercial laboratories available for lease at affordable rates, flexible terms, and innovative product development opportunities that are unmatched by any other park. Connect with CREST at [email protected] today.
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