Sometimes it seems as if Mike Bowman is running a hatchery for startup companies instead of an incubator at Delaware Technology Park (DTP) and nearby DTP@STAR Campus, the University of Delaware’s growing facility on South College Avenue in Newark. Since DTP’s founding in 1992, more than 100 companies have been located at the park, including 50 that have graduated.
“It’s been a tremendously busy year at STAR,” says Bowman, who was a founder of DTP and has headed it since 1998. “There’s about $700 million of construction going on there.” And it’s been a busy year with the companies that move in and out of the facilities Bowman oversees.
“For example, since last year, Kris Vaddi’s Prelude Therapeutics received venture capital money and moved into the innovations space at the Experimental Station. That meant we were able to keep the business in Delaware, rather than its going to Boston instead.”
Another startup, Foresee Pharmaceuticals, moved from the DTP main campus to the incubator at STAR, where it took over four laboratories. “That’s our philosophy — ‘Grow ’em up, move ’em out,’” Bowman says.
Other graduates of DTP have moved to commercial locations but maintained operations in Delaware. As an example, Wilmington PharmaTech expanded to three sites, including purchasing a former DuPont facility in Glasgow. Altogether, DTP has helped facilitate more than 16,000 jobs for Delaware’s economy, both within the park and around the area.
Bowman adds that five companies at DTP@STAR received major funding during the past year. In total,
there are 14 companies in the incubator.
“It’s very exciting to see all the things that are being developed in the incubator,” Bowman says, “including anti-corrosion coatings, technology to de-activate controlled substances rather than flush them down the drain, medical skin conditioners, 3-D printing of micro-electronics.”
Bowman is also pleased with the way student teams from the university, four of them at present, are getting hands-on experience by helping develop company projects within the incubator.
“Right now, everything is in ‘high buzz,’” Bowman says.