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BLACKSBURG, Va. (March 30, 2023) — COgro Labs at the Virginia Tech Corporate Research Center is now open.  

The addition of 2,900 square feet of shared and flexible lab space at 2200 Kraft Drive in Blacksburg was announced in late 2021 as a collaboration between multiple partners to create lab space for short- or long-term use. The facility is designed to help companies and researchers work on projects that include anything from drones or battery testing to medical technologies.  

“Having lab space capacity in the region provides an opportunity for a company to further develop and test their research or product development with access to resources and equipment that might otherwise be out of reach,” said Brett Malone, President and CEO of the Virginia Tech Corporate Research Center. “This space is designed for early- to mid-stage companies to help them find the resources they need for success.”  

The VTCRC – with funding from GO Virginia – led a coalition, including Montgomery County, City of Roanoke and Carilion Clinic, to support the development of a shared lab facility, which also includes a collaboration with Johnson & Johnson LLC. The collaboration will provide early-stage innovators in the region with access to their virtual residency program which includes expert mentoring, programming, and resources offered through Johnson & Johnson Innovation – JLABS (JLABS). JLABS was established in 2012 with an aim to provide startups with access to the critical resources, expertise, networks, and collaborations needed to progress innovative healthcare solutions for patients and consumers. 

Having additional wet and dry lab space in the region is vital to supporting the innovation ecosystem and shows that the region is here to support entrepreneurial growth across sectors.  

COgro Labs includes accessible lab spaces in a turn-key facility. It includes lab benches, facility-wide equipment, specialized equipment, and access to shared space in the COgro co-working facility.  

The overall project is expected to generate 125 jobs with an average salary of $80,000 per year over five years with a $1.42 million, 140% return in employment-related revenue on the initial investment from GO Virginia funding.  

A number of regional groups worked together to make this project possible including the VTCRC team, Montgomery County, the City of Roanoke, Carilion Clinic, Fralin Biomedical Research Institute at VTC, Verge, Virginia Bio, the Virginia Tech Office of Economic Development, Virginia Economic Development Partnership, the Town of Blacksburg, the Virginia Tech Foundation, EDC, SMBW, and Facility Logix.