Box 1. Incubators no more.


In 2007, Pfizer Inc. and Biogen Idec Inc. created incubators that provided both space and funding for startups.

The Biogen Idec Innovation Incubator funded and housed two companies: Escoublac Inc. and Provasculon Inc.

Biogen Idec spokesperson Naomi Aoki said the incubator is now closed and that the company is "continuing to rethink its incubator strategy." Escoublac was developing osteocalcin technology from Columbia University. The biotech shut down in the fall of 2010, and Columbia repartnered the technology with Sanofi earlier this year.1

Cardiovascular company Provasculon is still being supported by Biogen but is no longer in the physical incubator. "We are still working to help to meet their business goals and business plan. They are a cardiovascular-focused company, which is not a strategic area we are focused on," said Aoki.

The Pfizer Incubator in La Jolla supported three companies: Wintherix LLC, Fabrus LLC and RGo BioScience LLC. Wintherix and Fabrus left the incubator without granting Pfizer rights to any programs, although Pfizer retains equity in the companies. A Pfizer spokesperson confirmed to SciBX that RGo BioScience has been acquired by Pfizer and that the incubator space has been up for sale since November 2008.

Wintherix is developing activators of the wingless-type MMTV integration site (WNT) signaling pathway to promote bone growth.2 The biotech has since spun out a related company, Epitherix, which is developing WNT inhibitors for cancer.3 Fabrus, which is building libraries for antibody discovery,4 has funding from Opko Health Inc.          -CC