Startups | Accelerators | Founders

14 Biotech Accelerators Startups Should Know

What if you could condense years of startup growth into just a few months? That's the promise of accelerators, the high-octane programs that have become key pillars of the startup ecosystem, along with incubators and lab shares. While many biotech accelerators offer strategic support, funding, lab space, and business development, each one has its own nuances. To help cut through the clutter, we’ve compiled a list of biotech accelerators that startups should know about.

Go deeper: How to Choose Between Biotech Incubators, Accelerators, and Lab Shares for Your Startup

14 biotech accelerators driving scientific discovery

The following accelerators were chosen for this list based on their proven track record, the quality of support they provide, and their ability to drive substantial growth and innovation in the biotech sector. Please note that the acceptance rates are approximate, and you should check with each accelerator for current information.

1. BioGenerator

Location: St. Louis, MO
Acceptance Rate: ~12%

BioGenerator is an evergreen investor that creates, grows, and invests in promising bioscience companies in the St. Louis region. They provide pre-seed and seed investments, along with access to lab space and business expertise. The startup division of BioSTL, BioGenerator has helped launch over 60 companies, contributing significantly to the local biotech ecosystem.


2. BioInnovation Institute

Location: Copenhagen, Denmark
Acceptance Rate: ~12%

Based in Copenhagen, the BioInnovation Institute (BII) supports life science startups through funding, lab facilities, and access to a network of experts and investors, fostering innovation from discovery to market. BII has supported over 100 startups, promoting advancements in areas like therapeutics, bioindustrial, and health tech.


3. Creative Destruction Lab

Location: Global (various locations)
Acceptance Rate: ~10%

Creative Destruction Lab (CDL) provides an objective-based 8-week program for science and technology startups, including those in the biotech sector. This non-profit offers virtual and in-person mentorship, funding opportunities, and business development support. CDL has supported over 400 startups, leading to over $4 billion in equity value creation.


4. Illumina Accelerator

Locations: San Francisco, CA and Cambridge, UK
Acceptance Rate: ~5%

Illumina Accelerator focuses on driving innovation in genomics by partnering with startups to provide funding, business guidance, and access to sequencing technology. Illumina Accelerator operates on a six-month cycle, with funding provided for up to five startups per cycle and curricula that are custom tailored to each company's unique needs. Since 2014, Illumina Accelerator has supported over 50 genomics startups, advancing cutting-edge research in the field.


5. IndieBio

Location: San Francisco, CA and New York, NY
Acceptance Rate: ~5%

IndieBio is one of the world’s leading biotech accelerators and is supported by SOSV, a global venture capital firm. Working with founders either virtually or in-person over a four-month period, IndieBio offers daily, one-on-one support from staff scientists, engineers, and mentors. This support is provided in well-equipped laboratory spaces shared with a cohort of 10-15 companies. Participants receive an investment package ranging from $250,000 to $525,000, with the option to choose between IndieBio's locations in New York City or San Francisco. Since 2014, approximately 250 companies have graduated from IndieBio, collectively raising $2.9 billion, including over $190 million from SOSV.


6. LabCentral

Location: Cambridge, MA
Acceptance Rate: ~15%

LabCentral provides more than 70,000 square feet of co-working lab space at six locations throughout Cambridge, MA. Founded in 2013, LabCentral has helped to foster the growth of 278 companies, resulting in $18.4 billion in funding, 132 clinical trials, and 180 new patents. Home to 100 teams and growing, it offers first-class facilities for biotech startups to develop their products, along with an active community of entrepreneurs and scientists.


7. LaunchBio

Locations: National, including Durham, San Diego, Dallas, Cambridge, New York, Philadelphia, San Francisco and New Haven.
Acceptance Rate: ~20%

Started in 2016 with the support of BioLabs, a network of co-working spaces, LaunchBio is a national nonprofit organization that supports high-growth, high-impact life science companies. They offer networking events, educational programming and workshops, and strategic partnerships to help startups thrive. LaunchBio's signature program, Larger Than Life Science, provides a platform for entrepreneurs to connect with investors and industry experts.


8. MassChallenge

Location: Boston, MA
Acceptance Rate: ~8%

MassChallenge is a global network of zero-equity startup accelerators across many industries. Their dedicated healthcare and life sciences program in Boston offers extensive mentorship, resources, and networking opportunities. MassChallenge has accelerated over 2,000 startups globally, which have raised more than $6 billion in funding.


9. Nucleate

Location: Various cities across the globe
Acceptance Rate: ~10%

Nucleate is a student-led, nonprofit organization that helps early-stage life science ventures by providing resources and a collaborative environment. Their flagship program, Activator, begins with a “mutual-matching” team formation phase, followed by workshops and mentor office hours, culminating in a final pitch showcase before world-renowned judges. Since inception, Activator has been responsible for the creation of 78 companies and USD $310 million in funds raised.


10. Petri

Location: Boston, MA
Acceptance Rate: ~8%

Petri works closely with founders over a six-month period, offering both virtual and in-person support. The program provides daily, one-on-one mentorship from a team of experienced scientists, engineers, and industry experts. Companies have access to state-of-the-art laboratory spaces and receive an investment package of $250,000 to $2 million. Participants can work at Petri's Boston-based facilities, benefiting from the local biotech ecosystem. Since its launch in 2020, Petri has supported numerous startups, helping them to secure further funding and achieve significant milestones in biotechnology and life sciences.


11. Plug and Play Tech Center

Location: Sunnyvale, CA
Acceptance Rate: ~2%

Plug and Play operates a biotech and health-focused accelerator that offers funding, office space, and a robust network of corporate partners to help startups scale quickly. Plug and Play has supported over 1,200 startups, contributing to significant advancements in healthcare technology.


12. Startup Health

Location: New York, NY
Acceptance Rate: ~10%

Startup Health focuses on transforming health by supporting health innovators, aka “health transformers.” Their unique coaching program and global platform connect startups with a network of over 200,000 investors, partners, and customers. Since 2011, Startup Health has been building health moonshot communities dedicated to solving health moonshots like access to care, cost to zero, health equity, women’s health, Type 1 diabetes, and Alzheimer's disease. To date, it has supported over 400 companies with a mission to improve the health and wellbeing of everyone on the planet.


13. StartX

Location: Palo Alto, CA
Acceptance Rate: ~10%

StartX collaborates with founders through both virtual and in-person programs over a three-month period, providing extensive support from a network of seasoned entrepreneurs, investors, and industry experts. Participants benefit from tailored mentorship, strategic resources, and access to cutting-edge facilities at Stanford University. Companies in the program receive non-dilutive funding and are part of a community that emphasizes peer-to-peer learning and collaboration. Since its inception in 2009, StartX has supported over 1,500 companies, which have collectively raised more than $8 billion and achieved notable success in various sectors, including biotechnology and healthcare.


14. Y Combinator

Location: Mountain View, CA
Acceptance Rate: ~1.5%

Combinator is a renowned startup accelerator that has supported successful biotech companies like Ginkgo Bioworks and Mammoth Biosciences. Annually, it hosts two three-month programs, providing seed funding, mentorship, and access to a vast network of investors and partners. While Y Combinator has funded over 2,000 companies across a wide variety of industries, over 120 of which have been biotech.

These accelerators are at the forefront of biotech innovation, providing essential resources and support to help startups navigate the complex and competitive landscape of the life sciences industry. Whether you're an early-stage startup or looking to scale, these programs offer valuable opportunities to accelerate your growth and impact.

More resources for biotech startups and early-stage companies

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