Life Science Companies Fight COVID, Face Supply Chain Instability – BizWest

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Northern Colorado life science companies are feeling the supply chain crunch as parts and packaging struggle to get to where they’re needed.

Industry leaders who joined BizWest’s Life Sciences CEO Roundtable on Tuesday expressed concerns about rising costs and wait times.

“We are a brand company and our brand is very well known,” Growcentia Inc. CEO Scott Wiley said of the impact of supply chain issues on the company’s brand image. of biotechnology.

“The most constraining pinch relates to the packaging materials. Bottles, plastic bottles are really hard to get,” Wiley said.

ALS Global Ltd. Laboratory Manager Shiloh Summy is more optimistic about the effects of supply chain disruptions on the lab testing company.

“It’s a short-term cost increase, but ultimately it stabilizes,” Summy said.

Increased wait times for packaging and the diversification of parts distributors have forced companies to carry additional inventory, which has contributed to increased demand for space from startups and established companies.

The Fort Collins Innosphere Technology Incubator is constructing a 7,500 square foot building with wet lab spaces specializing in life sciences. The facility is intended to alleviate the capacity of Innosphere’s current building, as well as Fort Collins as a whole.

“The lab space that was currently in Fort Collins, area, was full,” said Innosphere Director of Life Sciences Ben Walker.

Growcentia is taking a different approach by opening a different new lab in Loveland. The lack of existing laboratories available for sale or rental led to this decision.

“We went for construction because there was nothing commercially available,” Wiley said.

Lack of space can be especially difficult for new startups. Many small businesses don’t need to rent entire labs for just one or two employees, but still need space to develop technology. Cardiost Inc. CEO Nicolås Anzellini is focused on raising capital to help the medical implant startup grow.

“Further down the line we would like to have a space,” Anzellini said.

Location isn’t everything for Michael Handley, CEO of Statera Biopharma Inc. Because the immunotherapy company is publicly traded, it doesn’t rely on local venture capital firms to fund research and development, but instead benefits investors.

“As long as the stock price is doing well, they’re happy,” Handley said.

With the rise of remote work and virtual conferencing, businesses in Colorado can better compete with companies in more traditional tech hubs. Berg Hill Greenleaf Ruscitti LLP, one of the sponsors of the event, found an unexpected benefit from the pandemic. As national firms sought to cut legal costs, they turned to smaller firms, according to Berg Hill partner David Kerr.

“We’ve been able to bring in a lot of new customers who have left those big East Coast and West Coast companies,” Kerr said.

One of Berg Hill Greenleaf Ruscitti’s areas of interest has been intellectual property law, which is the lifeblood of life sciences companies. As companies work on research and development, protecting their IP becomes paramount.

“From our perspective, we’re a start-up company, so basically all of our budget right now is spent on R&D,” said Charles Henry, CEO of Burst Diagnostics LLC.

Henry considers research and development to be central to what his company does. By licensing groundbreaking coronavirus testing from Colorado State University, the company aims to make point-of-care testing more accessible.

“Testing is limited by old technology which is not very good and new technology which is good but very expensive,” Henry said.

Local biotech companies aren’t just ready to test people for the coronavirus. Access Sensor Technologies LLC wants to test the air. By testing the air inside schools and hospitals, Access Sensor Technologies hopes to reduce transmission.

“I think new habits are forming and people in this air quality space should do well,” CEO Thomas Reilly said.

Dennis Paul represented Elevation Credit Union; Ashley Cawthorne and David Kerr represented Berg Hill Greenleaf Ruscitti LLP; and Chris Otto and Sean Nohavec represented Plante Moran at the event, which was sponsored by all three companies.

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