Princeton University May 17 unveiled its new high-tech Princeton Innovation Center BioLabs, led by Nishta Rao, during a ribbon-cutting ceremony.
The ceremony was attended by more than 100 representatives from Princeton University, the town of Plainsboro, local industries and the center’s first tenant companies at the Forrestal Center in Plainsboro.
Rao, who will serve as the director at the center, said two businesses have already started working there, and two more will start June 1, with another five companies having already had their applications accepted.
The Indian American director has an M.B.A. from The Johns Hopkins University Carey Business School, earning the degree in healthcare management.
She previously worked as a research scientist at Columbia University, as well as at New York-based Kadmon Holdings Inc. While at Kadmon, Rao transitioned into the role of senior director of procurement and scientific operations before leaving that position and later joining Mt. Sinai Innovation Partners as a business development employee.
The center offers co-working lab and office space for high-tech startup companies formed by Princeton University faculty, students and alumni as well as members of the wider New Jersey community.
“This dynamic incubator space for high-potential startups and new ventures pursues a vision shared by members of our campus community and others in the surrounding municipalities,” said Princeton president Christopher L. Eisgruber, according to a university news release.
Eisgruber added that the center is among several initiatives designed to strengthen the innovation ecosystem in central New Jersey, hopefully expanding the university’s teaching and research impact.
The facility is designed to encourage collaboration, with shared work areas and many types of meeting spaces where scientists and entrepreneurs can share techniques and spark new ideas, the university said.
The 31,000-square-foot entrepreneurial hub includes fully equipped work spaces for biology, chemistry and engineering companies, with 68 lab benches, private offices and shared desks for more than 200 scientists and entrepreneurs.
When full, Princeton Innovation Center BioLabs will house 25 or more small companies, most with only a handful of employees, it said.