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New Castle bioscience co. ABS launches new accelerator

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Analytical Biological Services, a manufacturer of cell cultures and tissues for biopharma research, is starting a new accelerator program. | PHOTO COURTESY OF DREW HAYS/UNSPLASH

NEW CASTLE – Fresh off a major expansion of its operations in Delaware, the bioscience company Analytical Biological Services (ABS) has opened a new accelerator lab space that will help growing firms to scale their research.

President & CEO Charles Saller founded ABS in 1990 after a career as a researcher working for the National Institutes of Health and AstraZeneca’s predecessor ICI – he worked on the blockbuster antipsychotic medication Seroquel. Recognizing an opportunity to help save companies time in growing cells needed to test the efficacy of their drugs, Saller poured his life’s savings into starting ABS.

Today, ABS grows cell and tissue samples for most leading biopharmaceutical companies as well as emerging biotech companies, and business has boomed in recent years.

Founded in the Cornell Business Park in Minquadale, ABS acquired the former Discover Bank offices at 2 Read’s Way in New Castle and built its new headquarter offices and labs there, opening a few months ago. The project also saw the creation of 2,500 square feet of new labs divided into six spaces for tenants, with an additional 10,000 square feet available should the demand warrant its conversion.

“We’ve been in this business 33 years now and we’d like to help some of the new companies who are trying to get a start,” Saller told Delaware Business Times.

The company is launching the ABS BioAccelerator, which will not only provide tenants with dedicated lab space, but also access to ABS’ products, expertise and building services.

“Most of these companies, when they start out, replicate what everybody does, like set up a cell culture lab,” Saller said. “But if you’ve got somebody in the same building that can do those services for you, you can focus on discovering things rather than just building the shop to make the discovery.”

BioAccelerator tenants will also gain access to ABS’ business services, including purchasing and negotiation, services referrals, quality management, high-speed internet, meeting facility and catering, reception, and more.

ABS’ ready-to-go lab space is a welcome addition in the northern Delaware market where such space is difficult to find. The Delaware Innovation Space at the DuPont Experimental Station and Delaware Technology Park are virtually the only biotech incubator spaces in the state.

“In a couple of years that may be very different but right now it’s still a desperate need all across the board,” Saller said, referring to work at Chestnut Run Innovation & Science Park and a 100,000-square-foot lab planned by South Duvall in Newark.

Future tenants of the BioAccelerator will also be joining a site that is buzzing with activity. After its expansion, ABS has already roughly doubled its headcount to 50 people, Saller said.

“We’re now in a position with the new building where I expect we’ll grow a good bit more this year,” he added, noting that demand is still high for its products.

While ABS does serve some clients in Europe and Asia, Saller said that the company would likely be expanding its international work in the next few years.

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