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LabCentral and Astellas Launch Inaugural $500,000 "Diamond Ticket" at LabCentral 238

March 5, 2024

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Eight Golden Tickets offer more opportunity for underrepresented biotech entrepreneurs and scientists to benefit from LabCentral's lab space, shared resources and community

CAMBRIDGE, Mass., May 15, 2023 /PRNewswire/ -- LabCentral Ignite, a platform dedicated to advancing racial, gender and other representation and opportunity within the life sciences field, today launched its third annual Golden Ticket contest that is designed to support diverse, underrepresented biotech entrepreneurs who are using innovative science to solve problems for human health. Interested entrepreneurs and scientists can visit LabCentral Ignite Golden Tickets for a program overview, eligibility rules, and to apply.

With support from sponsors Amgen, Bristol Myers Squibb, Novartis Institutes for BioMedical Research, Pfizer, Takeda, Silicon Valley Bank, a division of First Citizens Bank, Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati, EisnerAmper, and Alira Health, LabCentral Ignite will be awarding eight Golden Tickets – twice the number from last year. The contest will be awarding four to companies with a founder who identifies as a woman and four to companies with a founder that identifies as Black, Latinx, indigenous or other person of color. Winners receive one year of advisory support and a seat at LabCentral's shared lab space based in Kendall Square along with a $10,000 cash prize and exclusive access to the LabCentral Ignite network and resources.

"As part of our broader corporate strategy on diversity, inclusion and belonging focused on scientific innovation, we're excited to support LabCentral Ignite with our two Golden Tickets for the contest," said Tiffany Thiel, Executive Director, Process Development at Amgen and Cambridge, MA site DI&B lead. "The diseases and challenges we face in human health require new ideas, new solutions and new ways of thinking, which is why programs like this that build a more inclusive industry help to foster and accelerate innovation."

"Bristol Myers Squibb is delighted to partner with LabCentral for a second year by supporting the LabCentral Ignite Golden Ticket contest," said Emma Lees, Senior Vice President, Oncology Discovery and Site Head for BMS Cambridge R&D. "It is essential that we recognize the exceptional expertise that exists and work collectively to encourage and empower underrepresented groups to enhance innovation and scientific discovery."

"We at Silicon Valley Bank are delighted to be involved with a program that's opening up the life sciences to diverse perspectives and inclusive environments," said Anton Xavier, Director, SVB Startup Banking at Silicon Valley Bank, a division of First Citizens Bank. "LabCentral Ignite offers valuable opportunities for advancement in new, exciting areas."

As part of LabCentral Ignite's mission to address systemic racial and gender underrepresentation in the life sciences, the LabCentral Golden Tickets and the accompanying fellowship program provide access to LabCentral's extensive network, resources and support to promising entrepreneurs that have historically faced roadblocks to entering the life sciences industry.

The 2022 LabCentral Ignite Golden Ticket winners, including Cellens, Guardian Bio, QurCan Therapeutics and Spheric Bio, are moving into LabCentral and advancing their science, ranging from using stem cells to fight cancer and an intracardiac device to prevent strokes to a noninvasive bladder cancer detection suite and nanomedicine for overcoming resistance to therapies for cancer or other diseases. In addition, the inaugural LabCentral Ignite Golden Ticket winners from 2021 each received significant investment last year, including a $6 million seed round for Harmony and a $10 million Series A for Nanopath with a lead investor coming through LabCentral Ignite.

The deadline for applications is June 30, 2023. As with all LabCentral Golden Tickets, candidates will be reviewed based on the quality and potential impact of their science along with other standard selection criteria. A select number of finalists will receive access to coaching and will be invited to present at a pitch event on September 19th where the eight winning companies will be awarded LabCentral Ignite Golden Tickets.

About LabCentral Ignite

The growing Ignite platform is dedicated to developing equity, inclusion, and opportunity within the life sciences field. Through a range of equity-driven programs and a growing member network of industry, startups, higher education, and nonprofits, Ignite connects underrepresented students, talent and innovators to academic, technical skills-building, mentoring, job placement, and board and leadership preparation opportunities that fuel biotech diversity and inclusively transform careers. More information is available at

About LabCentral

A private, non-profit institution, LabCentral was founded in 2013 as a launchpad for high potential life-sciences and biotech startups. Operating a total of 225,000 square-feet in the heart of Kendall Square in Cambridge, Mass., LabCentral offers fully permitted laboratory and office space for as many as 100 startups comprising approximately 1,000 scientists and entrepreneurs. More information is available at