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Bakar Labs to award lab space to startups developing gene tech for cystic fibrosis

April 20, 2022
By: Public Affairs
Empty lab space at Bakar BioEnginuity Hub
Bakar Labs, the flagship life sciences incubator at UC Berkeley’s Bakar BioEnginuity Hub (BBH), and the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation will hold a competition to provide free lab space and resources to startups that are focused on the application of gene therapy technologies that treat cystic fibrosis. (Photo by Brittany Hosea-Small)

Bakar Labs, the flagship life sciences incubator at UC Berkeley’s Bakar BioEnginuity Hub (BBH), has formed a partnership with the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation to provide free lab space and resources to startups that are focused on the application of gene therapy technologies that treat cystic fibrosis.

Companies with this emerging tech can apply to the “Golden Ticket” competition, starting May 2 through May 30, for the chance to win a free year of lab space and access to facilities at Bakar Labs. Up to three winners will be selected.

This is the first collaboration of its kind for Bakar Labs. And Berkeley, with a strength in gene therapy research, is an ideal setting for startups in this field, said David Schaffer, a Berkeley professor in chemical and biomolecular engineering, bioengineering, and molecular and cell biology.

“This collaboration is inspiring,” said Schaffer, who is also executive director of BBH. “Students and professors will see the potential of entrepreneurship fused with the resources and mission of a major patient advocacy organization. It will be a tremendous example that could well spur partnerships in a broad range of areas.”

For over 60 years, the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation has done work to combat cystic fibrosis, an inherited disorder that causes severe damage to the lungs, digestive system and other organs in the body. Through the competition, the foundation will provide winning Bakar Labs startups access to scientific experts, mentors, an extensive patient registry, clinical trial design support and a therapeutics development network of over 90 clinical trial sites in the U.S.

Working with the foundation fits with the Bakar Labs’ spirit of entrepreneurship to benefit society, said Regis Kelly, director of Bakar Labs.

“Collaborating with the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation creates an extraordinary opportunity,” Bakar Labs Managing Director Gino Segrè said. “We will draw attention to a devastating condition and make available special resources that will inspire and support a community of researchers and entrepreneurs to apply their breakthrough ideas to the development of a cure. We’re delighted that Bakar Labs is now a proving ground for major advances.”

For more information, visit the CF Foundation Golden Ticket page.