Shared facilities

Since 2016 Novio Tech Campus Service opened a new service for entrepreneurs on and off campus: Shared Facilities. On the top floor of the M building a complete laboratory has been kitted out with both new and used equipment that can be rented and used by entrepreneurs.

“Young entrepreneurs who want to start their own business straight after university, often do not have the means to buy expensive equipment,” explains Rikus Wolbers, director of Novio Tech Campus. “They have been used to using the facilities available at university, but now they have to invest. With Shared Facilities we want to offer a solution: a complete lab with equipment that we can rent to young entrepreneurs. We have various advanced equipment such as a new high-performance liquid chromatography mass spectrometer (HPLC-MS), a gas chromatography mass spectrometer (GC-MS) and an ionchromatograph.

 

The lab is mainly equipped with ‘workhorses’, equipment that we can safely assume will be used frequently. Besides these, the inventory consists of all standard laboratory materials such as glassware, fume cupboards, an industrial glassware washer, an autoclave, various gases and so on. Novio Tech Campus is also the second location of iLabNijmegen, the partner of the iLab location in building 3 of the Mercator Science Park on the Radboud University campus.

 

Our customers do not have to be located on campus; businesses from elsewhere can also rent the Shared Facilities lab, even for short periods. “We operate expensive high-tech equipment, so it is important that it is operated correctly. Should a user need assistance, there are sufficient qualified people present who are willing to assist and able to give advice,” emphasises Rikus Wolbers. “For some of the more complex equipment, if necessary, arrangements can be made for the main users to perform tests for others on an hourly basis. The lab manager ensures efficient use and planning of the equipment.”

 

User and supplier

PharmaCystics has been located on the Novio Tech Campus since mid 2015. The pharmaceutical company is working on a method to improve the bioavailability, i.e. the absorption, of medication. CEO Han van ‘t Klooster is enthusiastic about Shared Facilities. “At the lab we can use standard equipment like the glassware washer or autoclave which you need regularly, but are still too expensive for one partner to purchase on their own. We use the LC-MS on a daily basis. Since it has been located here, the processing time of the test has vastly improved. If it had not been here, we would have had to go back and forth to the university, hoping for an available LC-MS, and then waited for the results. This really saves us days time-wise. Shared Facilities didn’t exist when we set up here, but we did campaign for it because this service is very important for us. “

Avivia, also located on the Novio Tech Campus, is another one of its users, “But we also supply equipment to Shared Facilities”, says Hans van der Steen, project leader at Avivia. “Avivia is still in the development phase, but it does have a lot of equipment available. So far we are not utilizing it to its full extent, so in consultation with NTCServices we have put our equipment at the disposal of other entrepreneurs, ensuring better capacity utilization. For us, we now also have access to the LC-MS of Shared Facilities. A device such as this costs several hundred thousand euro and if utilized at only 10 % of its capacity, it would be far too expensive for us to purchase.”

 

Rikus Wolbers: “Shared Facilities has not been set up on a true revenue model; if we manage to cover costs, our goal has been achieved. We aim for a capacity utilization of about 60-70 %. The most important thing for us is to provide added value for our tenants and businesses from outside the campus, thus strengthening the connection with our contacts. As a resource, Shared Facilities offers a competitive advantage and enhances the image of Novio Tech Campus. You can already see how the ‘sharing’ phenomenon boosts mutual cooperation as well as improving the atmosphere on campus. All things considered, a service like Shared Facilities is an extra reason for many tenants to stay here and for new tenants to locate here. Sharing is winning, in all respects.”

 

 

Equipment at Shared Facilities, Novio Tech Campus
• HPLC 1: Agilent/HP 1100 series with VWD detector
• HPLC 2: Agilent/HP 1100 series with DAD detector
• LCMS: Agilent 1260 Infinity with 6-column changer and DAD detector, linked to 6120 Quadrupole MS (single-quad with ESI or APCI source).
• GCMS: GC Agilent 7890b with FID detector, MS HP 5973 single-quad, linked with a headspace autosampler (CTC Combipal)
• Genevac centrifugal evaporator
• Ionchromatograph
• Autoclave
• Fume cupboards
• Gases (natural gas, nitrogen, helium
• Industrial glassware washer
• Various glassware