Since 1996 southwest Ohio bioscience entrepreneurs and startups have had specialized help in finding their footing, their funding, and sometimes, their courage. BIOSTART, Cincinnati’s bioscience incubator, has assisted 125 companies launch their businesses, build their management team, and raise $180 million over the past 15 years.

On September 30, BIOSTART’s lease in the Hoxworth Blood Center Building ends, and so will its physical incubator facility. But BIOSTART’s role in the entrepreneurial community will not end. The Ohio Department of Development has approved a special allocation to Hamilton County Business Center that will allow BIOSTART to continue providing business assistance services to health care technology start-ups and enable exploration of a new service delivery model.

In a statement last Friday, BIOSTART President Carol Frankenstein (in photo) explained the changes:

Although there are many factors contributing to the decision to close the facility, our Board recognizes that an incubator facility with small laboratories is less relevant in today’s environment with frequent outsourcing of product development and widely available low cost commercial space. It is important to our mission that we evolve rather than just survive and our current debt-financed, facility-based model does not enable us to offer value added services that generate economic impact for the region.

“From BioOhio’s perspective the closing of the BIOSTART facility is a much more of a positive restructuring than a closure,” said BioOhio President & CEO Tony Dennis. “BIOSTART leadership is responding to changes in their local market and while the old model was successful, I believe that the restructured entity will be even more so by better aligning with local demand and opportunities.”