Project news

September 10, 2013

Project Fellow Explores Financial Woes Faced by DIYbio Labs

In a new piece for Scientific American, Daniel Grushkin, a fellow with the Synthetic Biology Project, looks at the growing financial problems faced by community labs, including the seminal Bay Area lab Biocurious:

Biocurious, which opened in 2011, is the largest of these community labs, and has a list of firsts to its name: the first community biotech lab to crowdfund its startup costs, the first to build a bioprinter, the first to sprout a company that Kickstarted almost half a million dollars. Now, Biocurious may become the first to close. The lab is struggling to meet its meager monthly expenses of roughly $6,000 to $8,000. “Over the history of Biocurious, we lose money every month,” Hathaway says.

For the past eight months, lab members have been battling over how to pull Biocurious out of financial jeopardy, while the four founders have seemed to wrestle each other for control. With just a few months of rent left in the coffers and no resolution to the conflict of personalities, Biocurious faces a crisis. “Is this the break up of the Beatles? I don’t know,” Hathaway says.

The entire piece can be found here.