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New life science research space opening in midtown

(Flickr creative commons user Horia Varlan)

By Véronique LaCapra, St. Louis Public Radio

ST. LOUIS – A new life science research facility has opened in midtown St. Louis. The BioGenerator Accelerator will provide laboratory space to scientists in the early stages of developing a new product.

BioGenerator chairman John McDonnell said the labs are intended for biologists, chemists, and other scientists who are in the very early stages of turning a research idea into a commercially viable product.

"This gives them the space and the equipment, to be able to test out, do a proof of concept, of that idea, to determine whether it is likely to have commercial applicability."

McDonnell, who was chairman of the board of McDonnell Douglas, said that he hopes the new lab space will help to keep scientists in the St. Louis area and accelerate the growth of new life sciences companies.

Biochemist Joe Monahan is a former Pfizer researcher and one of the co-founders of a new drug-discovery company.

Monahan said that he and his colleagues had ideas for potential drugs, but nowhere to do their initial research.

"We needed to do our hypothesis testing, our feasibility studies, and to actually build our case that we have something that's important," Monahan, said, "And to do that you need a facility and you need equipment."

Right now, Monahan's company is the BioGenerator Accelerator's only tenant, but he said that the facility has research space for as many as seven start-ups.