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New Pagliuca Harvard Life Lab Opens Along Allston’s Western Avenue Innovation Corridor

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Harvard University this afternoon held a ribbon-cutting ceremony to mark the much-anticipated opening of the Pagliuca Harvard Life Lab, the most recent addition to a growing innovation corridor along Allston’s Western Avenue.

The new facility provides a space for students, faculty, alumni and postdoctoral scholars from schools across the university, including Harvard Business School (HBS), to incubate high-potential startups in biotech and future-minded life sciences. It will also provide the necessary equipment for these often costly science-focused startups to scale.

A generous donation from HBS MBA alumni Judy and Steve Pagliuca made the new 15,000-square-foot building possible. The Pagliucas were joined by HBS Dean Nitin Nohria, Harvard University President Drew Gilpin Faust and Boston Mayor Marty Walsh for the afternoon ceremony. Srikant Datar, HBS professor and i-Lab faculty chair, and Jodi Goldstein, Innovation Lab managing director, also took part in the celebration. A reception in the Harvard i-lab lobby is scheduled to follow the opening ceremony, to include self-guided tours of the new Life Lab facility.

“We believe innovation in the life sciences is critically important to the future of our region from an economic standpoint and equally important to all of our futures in its potential to solve complex health problems,” Steve Pagliuca (MBA ’82) said in a statement.

“We are thrilled to be able to contribute to the innovation movement at Harvard and we are excited at the potential of the ideas that will emerge from this new space,” added Judy Pagliuca (MBA ’83).

The conception of the building came during the early years of the aforementioned i-Lab, when several participants who pursued life sciences required specific “wet labs” (labs that test chemicals, drugs and other materials that need special ventilation). About 20 ventures at a time can be housed in the new facility, which will also be close to Harvard’s soon-to-be-completed Science and Engineering Complex. The inaugural ventures include between two and five students representing eight different Harvard schools, and almost half have a female founder.

Generously, the Life Lab has gifted a one-time $60,000 grant to Allston-Brighton public schools to provide new Chromebooks for students. Facility organizers plan to continue working with the community, sponsoring local science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) workshops open to the public. Together with the i-lab and Launch Lab, it will also host an annual ice cream social for the community, to being this fall.

Speaking about the inaugural venture teams, Jodi Goldstein, managing director of the Harvard Innovation Labs, said in a statement, “We hope by building community we will accelerate their development and increase their likelihood of future success and ultimate impact on the world.”

Read more about the new Pagliuca Harvard Life Lab here.

*Intro image courtesy of Harvard University