New science labs open at the Virginia Tech Corporate Research Center

Published: Mar. 30, 2023 at 5:58 PM EDT
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Blacksburg, Va. (WDBJ) - COgro unveiled its new labs on Thursday at the Virginia Tech Corporate Research Center or CRC.

President of the CRC Brett Malone said they will be a space for a variety of companies.

“So, we have facilities that are safe for people working in electronics as well as technology and life sciences,” said Malone.

GO Virginia, the CRC, Roanoke City, and Montgomery County invested $1.2 million in this project to support startups in the region.

“It helps out early-stage companies be more successful because they can put more dollars into the science instead of building a lab,” explained Malone. “So, they can come in rent a bench, and have all the equipment fully furnished.”

The CRC has partnered with Johnson & Johnson Innovation to provide additional support. Companies that qualify will have virtual support from JLABS in DC.

“We provide access to expertise from Johnson & Johnson, mentorship, a lot of programming, all of our resources,” said JLABS DC Head Sally Allain. “So, how we can provide essentially a big company benefits to early-stage entrepreneurs and companies.”

Officials hope this will help keep talent and ideas in the valley.

“We need to be able to keep them here at various stages of their growth and development,” said Virginia Tech Center for Economic and Community Engagement Director John Provo. “We need to be a hope to these ideas over time and that’s what the program does and Go Virginia is really happy to support.”

The center says the new lab will bring in 125 jobs with an average salary of $80,000 over the next five years. They expect a 140 % return in employment-relate revenue on the initial investment from GO Virginia funding.

“We expect companies to come in and use this space but then they would graduate and go to a much larger space either on their own or one of our Roanoke facilities,” added Malone.

Companies can start using the labs in April.