RockStep Solutions Inc. recently began working out of the MDI Biological Lab. From left to right are RockStep’s Chuck Donnelly, CEO; Carrie LeDuc, director of product development; Abigail Ames, director of technology; and Kat Taylor, director of sales and marketing. PHOTO COURTESY OF ROCKSTEP

Biotech start-up moves to MDI Biological Laboratory



BAR HARBOR — A new Maine biotech company, RockStep Solutions Inc., began working out of space at the Mount Desert Island Biological Laboratory in Salisbury Cove on Jan. 5. Founded in October 2013, RockStep develops information management software for research laboratories.

“The MDI Biological Laboratory is a perfect start-up environment for RockStep,” said company CEO Chuck Donnelly. “The Institution offers a world-class research environment combined with an entrepreneurial spirit, and we’ll have the added benefit of being able to interact with the MDI Biological Laboratory’s scientific staff and their extended network of scientific, clinical and business collaborators.”

Donnelly launched RockStep with three others all of whom, like Donnelly, previously worked at The Jackson Laboratory in Bar Harbor. RockStep develops laboratory management information systems designed specifically for mobile platforms, such as smartphones and tablets, to give researchers quick access to their data. The company recently received a Small Business Innovation Research grant of $224,000 from the National Institutes of Health.

The MDI Biological Laboratory is a nonprofit, biomedical research institution with a focus on finding new ways to promote tissue repair and regenerative processes and slow or reverse degenerative changes that occur as humans age.

“We feel it’s critical to use our resources and unique environment to help early-stage biotech companies grow and to launch new companies that will take our discoveries to market and solve real world problems, said MDIBL President Dr. Kevin Strange.

“Bringing discovery together with business creates a dynamic research and development environment that benefits us all and will help grow and modernize Maine’s economy.”

The MDI Biological Laboratory campus is already home to the institution’s recent spinoff company, Novo Biosciences Inc., and its new environmental data collection project, Anecdata.org. Noting their presence, Donnelly said, “The MDI Biological Laboratory is a place where entrepreneurial collaborations and synergies are really ripe for picking.”

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