Maine Center for Enterprise Development

Maine Bioscience Cluster Initiative

Portland, ME

Venture Challenge

Federal Share: $512,556
Local Match: $517,994

Maine has an impressive concentration of world-class scientists producing cutting-edge bioscience discoveries at globally recognized research facilities including Jackson Laboratory, Mount Desert Island Biological Laboratory (MDIBL), Gulf of Maine Research Institute, Bigelow Laboratory for Ocean Sciences, MaineHealth, the University of Maine, and the University of New England. There is a growing and documented interest in launching businesses from discoveries made at these institutions and by other bioscience innovators, underpinning Maine’s 10-year economic development plan to create “hubs of excellence,” and a culture of entrepreneurship. However, these institutions are geographically diverse and lack infrastructure to launch and accelerate commercialization of new scientific discoveries, products, and services. In collaboration with economic development organizations, the Maine Technology Institute, FocusMaine, MaineHealth Innovation Center, and select existing mixed-use accelerators and incubators, the Maine Center for Enterprise Development, d/b/a the Maine Center for Entrepreneurs (MCE), will fill this gap by adapting its successful statewide programs to grow the bioscience sector. BioInnovate will provide technical services to foster commercialization of ongoing research at partner institutions. BioStartup will provide focused technical support to cohorts at the three partner incubators with training, mentoring, and market intelligence, as well as initiatives to remove institutional and geographic barriers. Cutting across all programs will be a mission to strengthen linkages for a regional Portland-Portsmouth-Boston life sciences corridor. This initiative aligns with Greater Portland’s Comprehensive Economic Development Strategy which specifically calls for cluster development in high potential industries, like biopharma, biomedical and healthcare, that build on Maine’s unique assets.