ATLATL Innovation Cluster: An Evolved Kendall Square Miniature in China


Dr. P.C. Zhu was a Kendall Square entrepreneur who launched NEO-Innovator, his first shared lab, and initiated the founding of Mass Innovation Labs (renamed Smartlab). After moving to Shanghai, Dr. Zhu had a more ambitious plan – rather than create another co-lab space, he decided to build a Kendall-like cluster of innovation, naming it after a Nahuatl word: ATLATL.

ATLATL Innovation Cluster is located in the heart of Zhangjiang Pharma valley, an internationally prestigious high-tech zone in Shanghai. In a one-square-mile district, ATLATL contains modern research buildings, shared biotech labs, multiple research centers, sports facilities, a museum of fine arts, future philosophy symposiums, innovation unions, a CEO club, and Scottish bagpipe music.

ATLATL Innovation Cluster is an ecosystem with educational and research centers, on-site CROs, entrepreneurship, venture capital, and life sciences companies. ATLATL strives to increase research density and accelerate research commercialization. Innovative teams can jumpstart with turnkey solutions, leverage resources more efficiently, and reach milestones faster than ever.

ATLATL has the worlds largest shared Class-A-level laboratory space, designed as a launchpad for high-potential life sciences. It offers fully permitted laboratories and office space for scientists and entrepreneurs. To meet the demands of growing research teams, ATLATL has developed the first AI-based operation system for the research laboratories. ATLATL provides state-of-the-art facilities, the most advanced instruments, professional operations support, skilled laboratory personnel, on-site CROs, and the most creative Module research services, not only serving early-stage companies, but also supporting fast-growing teams who need to begin laboratory operations from day one. In the past, a Western company needed to spend large fixed costs to build their research space in China, Dr. Zhu said. Now, they have a de-risked and fast solution in ATLATL: ˜pay-as you go.

Since Shanghai is the CRO center in the world, the VIC (Venture Capital, IP, CRO) model is popular among the local biotech start-ups: outsourcing research and development to CROs, keeping their workforce lean, and using their capital on product development. To conduct research more effectively, ATLATL set up R&D assembly lines based on the VIC model. ATLATL combines its on-site CROs with global giant CRO companies. Co-location CRO services reduce the failure rate of management, communication, and logistics. This unique model separates research design from bench work, so that different people can each do what they are best at, Dr. Zhu said. Talent scientists can focus more on the key research and skillful technicians can deliver the jobs more efficiently. This model attracts not only local innovators and investors, but also scientists worldwide.

ATLATL Innovation Cluster is not only research-centered, but also contains a cultural icon of creativity and innovation. The ATLATL co-founded Institute of Ereignis focuses on science and future philosophy research, ethical issues, technology, and the future of humanity. The ATLATL Museum of Fine Arts is dedicated to presenting artistic creations and collections of artwork in various styles. The museum holds a variety of temporary exhibits, cultural activities, and artistic & educational workshops throughout the year. ATLATL organizes sporting activities and concert programs, hosts events, and celebrates different kinds of festivals. As a glorious mixture of art, philosophy, and science, ATLATL Innovation Cluster attracts innovators from across the globe.

Shanghai is one of the most enterprising cities full of talent, energy, and hunger. Facing significant unmet medical needs, China has prioritized reform of the regulatory environment, torn down the barriers to bringing innovation to the market, and invested more in the healthcare industry. China will be the worlds largest pharmaceutical market in the near future. We will embrace the opportunity and expand the ATLATL model to more cities, Dr. Zhu said. The ATLATL Innovation Cluster will commercialize global innovations and benefit healthcare not only in China, but around the world.

[Atlatl is a Nahuatl word that means spear thrower, which enabled ancient hunters to throw farther and faster, eventually generating greater returns. ATLATL is innovations spear thrower to facilitate innovators growth and enhance their ability to reach milestones more quickly than ever.]

Amanda Huo
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