Delaware Technology Park
An entrepreneurial hub with a long tradition of success.
People might have left their offices during the pandemic, but they didn’t leave their labs. In fact, they flocked to them. In the last two years, the client base doubled at Delaware Technology Park (DTP).
“When you need to work in a lab, you need to be in a lab,” says Barbara DeHaven, incubator administrator and business development consultant for DTP at the University of Delaware’s STAR Campus.
Innovation for the first state is why DTP exists.The nonprofit provides affordable, state-of-the-art facilities, access to resources and business, academic and government support to create high-value jobs in Delaware. To meet this vision, DTP has several buildings in Newark housing lab space. It also owns the soon-to-open FinTechInnovation Hub on the STAR Campus.
DTP “made it easy for us,” says Paul Parsons, CEO and chief science officer of DeLUX Advanced Manufacturing, which started out using DTP as office space and then expanded to the incubator to use lab space. DeLUX manufactures specialized multifunctional materials and devices. Parsons describes its mission as finding ways to makesquare pegs fit in round holes. DTP provided private, secure lab space and consumables, like gloves and glassware necessary for research. Having those assets already available allowed Parsons and DeLUX to focus on their work, rather than the details of being able to do that work.
“It would have been prohibitively expensive to try to start [the company] up on our own. DTP offered us a full-service solution,” says Parsons. DeLUX wouldn’t be where it is today without DTP, he adds.
A Place Where Companies Mature
Since the park opened in 1992, DTP has housed more than 100 companies, including four companies that went public and 50 that matured and outgrew the park.
“Most of what we’ve done has stayed in Delaware,” says Mike Bowman, president of DTP. “We get a lot of R&D in the early stages because of the talent we have in this area.”
In fact, many of the companies stayed at DTP— companies like contract research organization QPS, which started with three people at DTP in 1995 and now has more than 1,200 employees globally and revenues of more than $200 million. The company’s global headquarters, with 304 employees, is at DTP.
It makes sense because Newark is in the middle of the East Coast pharmaceutical belt, says Ben Hsu, the general manager and chief operating officer of QPS.
“DTP is still really our flagship for our lab services. It is always looking for ways to help us grow,” he says.
Bowman and DeHaven credit the success of DTP to its location and collaboration with the state, University of Delaware and the private sector.
The Delaware Prosperity Partnership (DPP), Delaware’s economic development agency, is a key DTP partner. Last August, DTP tenant Sepax, a chromatography materials and products manufacturer, announced it received a $420,150 grant through DPP to build more than 8,000 square feet of new labs next to its current site at the Delaware Technology Park as part of a $2 million project. That expansion will allow Sepax to hire 35 new employees by the end of 2023, each earning between $40,000 and $90,000, officials say. It currently employs 55 full-time.
Besides partnering with government and university programs, DTP also encourages partnerships of companies with each other. Collaborative space is a key component to buildings constructed at allDTP locations.
The six-story, 100,000-square-foot build of DTP’s FinTech Innovation Hub is a perfect example of public-private partnership and collaboration. Its construction was ongoing as of spring 2022, with the interior being fitted out for the public, private and University of Delaware partners signed up to move in. The facility is expected to be a hub of technology and innovation for the financial services industry and academia. DTP, Discover Bank and University of Delaware are the anchors.
The completed building, expected to open this summer, will have space for startups, labs for UD’s College of Engineering and Alfred Lerner College of Business and Economics as well as the Delaware Small Business Development Center. It is expected to feature an entrepreneurship center and an incubator space for software development and workforce development for the financial technology industry.
“The building is about 85% committed. The half of the building to be occupied by UD is in the design and costing phase for their fit,” says Bowman. “Some tenants from the private sector expect to move in by June. Occupancy will follow after several months. Hopefully by spring 2023, it will be full of lots of collaboration and events.”
Even once the fintech building is up and running, Bowman sees more growth in the future at DTP.
“There’s a general theme,” he says. “A lot of device makers have been coming methodically back to the States.”