FastForward innovation hub expands to East Baltimore


Credit: Johns Hopkins Technology Ventures

Building on the success of Johns Hopkins University's first business accelerator, FastForward, in demand since it opened in the Stieff Silver building two years ago, the university is expanding its innovation program to East Baltimore.

Called FastForward East, the new innovation hub has an interim office and laboratory space located in the Rangos Building in the 800 block of North Wolfe Street, just north of the university's East Baltimore medical campus. The university is working to secure 30,000 square feet of space at 1812 Ashland Street for a long-term home for FastForward East.

The university is expanding FastForward to drive more economic development in Baltimore by supporting local startups as they head to market. "Space that is affordable and turnkey for startups is a part of our overall effort to help these early ventures realize their potential and bring innovation and life-changing technologies to market," says Christy Wyskiel, senior adviser to the university's president for enterprise development.

The Rangos Building hub has a shared co-working space that can seat 28, six dedicated offices, and additional features, including a shared conference room, common room, kitchen, and two wet labs.

Gemstone Biotherapeutics LLC, a stem cell therapeutics firm making novel treatments for wound healing, is among the first companies moving into FastForward East. One of the founders, Sharon Gerecht, an associate professor in Johns Hopkins' Whiting School of Engineering, says the complex in the shadow of the Johns Hopkins Hospital is the perfect location for a medical startup. "Hopkins labs have always produced world-class innovations that have the potential to impact millions of lives," says Gerecht. "With FastForward, we now have infrastructure in place that improves the chances of getting these innovations to market."

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