Hopkins Hopes Latest Incubator, FastForward 1812, Spurs Commercialization

By Sarah Gantz
The Baltimore Sun

WWR Article Summary (tl;dr) “FastForward 1812” offers a new home for startup companies trying to build products that grow out of research at Johns Hopkins.

The Baltimore Sun

The Johns Hopkins University’s newest business incubator, set to open formally at the end of April, adds more office and lab space to spur the school’s ongoing effort to commercialize research.

FastForward 1812, located in the East Baltimore development area at 1812 Ashland Ave., offers a home to startup companies trying to build products that grow out of research at the univeristy or its medical school. It’s also open to other Baltimore-area entrepreneurs.

New patents, licenses and startups created with Hopkins technology have been on the rise.

Last year, the university reported $58 million in licensing revenue, three times more than the year before, according to Johns Hopkins Technology Ventures, the university’s commercialization office.

The spike largely reflects Hopkins’ share of a $300 million deal Japanese company Astellas Pharma struck with Immunomic Therapeutics, which is developing a new type of vaccine based on Hopkins research, and university leaders are optimistic such revenue will continue to grow.

“If we really want to [further] impact human health, we have to do more than research,” said Christy Wyskiel, an adviser on commercialization to university President Ronald J. Daniels. “We have to build” products from the research.

Companies founded on Hopkins technology have raised about $1.1 billion in funding since 2012, yet about 85 percent of them are no longer in Maryland, according to the commercialization office. Wyskiel said startups founded in Maryland often leave the area in search of better office and lab options, and to be closer to investors.

To stem that tide of departures, Hopkins has built up a network of incubators and resources intended to keep companies in Baltimore. The university’s FastForward East is across the street from the new incubator. This summer, Hopkins will relocate its original FastForward incubator, which opened in 2013, from the Stieff Silver Building near its Homewood campus to the nearby R. House in Remington.

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