Critical Success Factors for Biotech Incubators - A Qualitative Study of Successful Incubators in China and the US

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


With the creation of start-up biotech businesses being a very risky pursuit, with capital intensive projects, long product development lead times and regulatory hurdles to overcome, support for such businesses is essential. Business incubators have long been a method of improving start-up success and boosting the local economy. There are, however, many models and metrics for success and some suggestions that in some cases incubators simply keep alive companies that would otherwise not survive. Qualitative interviews were carried out with incubator managers, tenants and partners in the US and China to establish what could be improved in the incubation process, leading to several suggestions for improvements. We found that partnerships with corporate service providers are an underused resource which could provide both revenue for the incubators, network/services for the tenants and boost the local economy with collaborations with tenants enhancing knowledge transfer. Whilst some incubators gained tenants from other incubators or those who had been validated by gaining significant competitive funding, some early-stage incubators had little in the way of selection criteria past being in the local area or being affiliated with the university. We suggest it might also be useful to provide a filtered pipeline or funnel to the physical incubator using a virtual incubator first to allow a coherent team and strategy to be formed before a commitment to paying for physical space, which could increase the quality of tenants and help founders transition from a pure science base to include business skills.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)92-124
Number of pages32
JournalJournal of Asia Entrepreneurship and Sustainability
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1 Apr 2022


  • entrepreneurship
  • incubators
  • start-ups


Dive into the research topics of 'Critical Success Factors for Biotech Incubators - A Qualitative Study of Successful Incubators in China and the US'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this