PRESS RELEASE – Sherbrooke Innopole and its partners today inaugurated the multi-tenant science centre, Espace LABz, dedicated primarily to young Life Sciences companies in Sherbrooke. Present were the Honourable Marie-Claude Bibeau, Minister of International Development and La Francophonie, on behalf of the Honourable Navdeep Bains, Minister of Innovation, Science, and Economic Development, and guests from the business community and institutional sector.
The new building is located on Maximilien-Chagnon Street in the Sherbrooke Science Park, next to the Charles River biopharmaceutical company and the Université de Sherbrooke’s Health Campus. It covers 20 000 ft.2 spread over two floors and has 20 individual laboratories, a large shared laboratory, cutting-edge equipment, a level 2 containment room, plus a culture room, offices, a conference room, a cafeteria on each floor, and rest areas.
Sherbrooke Mayor, Steve Lussier, emphasized how such an infrastructure will play a leading role in the development of Sherbrooke’s Life Sciences sector. “The City of Sherbrooke is proud to have contributed to this project and to have participated in making this initiative a reality. Espace LABz is proving to be effective in attaining the Science Park’s ambitions and is an indispensable tool for retaining startups in the field and attracting foreign companies.”
An initiative of Sherbrooke Innopole, the project involves investments of $5.5M and will lead to the creation of 60 jobs over the next five years. It is the result of a partnership with the City of Sherbrooke, the Comité de promotion industrielle de Brompton (Brompton’s industrial promotion committee), and Sherbrooke’s industrial promotion committee, the Comité de promotion industrielle de Sherbrooke. Canada Economic Development for Quebec Regions has also contributed to the project in terms of the purchase of essential, cutting-edge equipment to meet the needs of entrepreneurs.
“The materialization of Espace LABz is the product of energy shared by the entire team and our partners,” stated Pierre Tremblay, President of Sherbrooke Innopole’s Board of Directors. A multi-tenant science centre of this scope is proving indispensable to our Life Sciences key sector by contributing to Sherbrooke’s burgeoning ecosystem, and by welcoming businesses from far and near. We are also very proud to welcome such promising tenants to our facilities, and their presence confirms the need for such an incubator.”
“The new Innovation and Skills Plan, created by the Government of Canada, makes it possible to support business incubators and accelerators like Espace LABz, that in turn contribute to the growth of the Canadian economy. I am proud to highlight the non-repayable contribution of $197 600 granted by CED through the Quebec Economic Development Program, which will enable talented, dynamic entrepreneurs from our region to take flight,” stated Minister Marie-Claude Bibeau, on behalf of Minister Navdeep Bains.
Rental objectives met
The first tenants took occupancy of the centre’s space in summer 2017. Immune Biosolutions moved into the premises on August 14, 2017, Archimed Médical on October 1, and VWR has a showroom featuring equipment available to all tenants. In terms of overall occupancy rate, Sherbrooke Innopole reached its target of 40% before the end of 2017. In fact, the multi-tenant centre is currently more than 70% occupied on the ground floor and more than 10% on the 2nd floor, not including the shared spaces. “We presently have three other prospects,” noted Josée Fortin, Director General of Sherbrooke Innopole. There is a demand, but a few places remain available.” The identity of the interested parties remains confidential for the moment.
While CPIS funded and supervised the construction, CPIB is the owner of the building and in charge of its management. Paul Proulx, President of CPIB, is delighted to see the premises reaching capacity. “As a multi-tenant science centre, Espace LABz has a very complete offer, which paired with its geographical proximity to other Life Sciences stakeholders, gives it a distinctive character,” noted Mr. Proulx. What’s more, its modern design, exceptional light, and breathtaking view make this a sought-after workplace.” It is also of note that Laboratory Coordinator, Alex Daviau, recently completed biosafety officer training at the Université de Sherbrooke’s Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences. This asset provides companies that must normally go through a complex process to access a qualified officer with a competitive edge.
Source and photo credits: Sherbrooke Innopole