Delaware adds $10M to lab grant program

Delaware State News
Posted 7/29/21

WILMINGTON — The General Assembly has approved allocating an additional $10 million to its lab grant program, designed to spur private sector-led projects that will boost science and tech companies who choose Delaware with increased capacity for lab space.

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Delaware adds $10M to lab grant program

Posted

WILMINGTON — The General Assembly has approved allocating an additional $10 million to its lab grant program, designed to spur private sector-led projects that will boost science and tech companies who choose Delaware with increased capacity for lab space.

The Delaware Prosperity Partnership is responsible for vetting companies to ensure they are at the right phase to qualify for the grants, which debuted last year.

To qualify for review, companies need to be partnered with developers on a specific project. Once a company completes the vetting process, the state is poised to review the qualified applicant.

A 2018-19 study commissioned by DPP surveyed 60 science-sector organizations in Delaware to gauge current and future lab-space needs. It revealed that roughly a dozen of the respondents identified a need for at least 150,000 additional square feet of space over the next few years.

“The pilot program was a response to increased demand for lab space from early-stage life science and biopharma companies in the region,” said Becky Harrington, DPP’s director of business development. “Access to capital can present a barrier to growth, as most companies in this phase of growth are focused on using their resources to get their product to market versus investing in facilities.”

DPP and other economic-development organizations want to increase the inventory of lab space and programming, so Delaware can keep these companies in the state and encourage their long-term growth here. The program is especially focused on companies poised to commercialize their products.

Offering grants that cover up to 33% of fit-out costs for lab space, the program requires that the landlord agree to make good-faith efforts to fill the space with lab tenants if the original user grows out of it or has another reason for moving.

In the event those efforts aren’t successful, the state will provide the building owner with a portion of the lost rent as a stopgap measure. This will ensure that the infrastructure remains intact as an asset within the state to support continued growth of the industry.

“The lab grant program not only offers needed support for companies to grow their businesses here,” said Noah Olson, DPP’s acting director of innovation, “but it should also build a greater awareness and understanding with landlords, brokers and the real estate community about the distinctive needs of the lab-based science sector.”

Companies or developers interested in learning more or applying for the grant should contact Mr. Olson at nolson@choosedelaware.com.