CAMBRIDGE, Mass.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Kebotix, a Massachusetts-based technology platform company that transforms discovery of new chemicals and materials through AI and robotics, will establish an office and research footprint in Maine through its partnership with Northeastern University’s Roux Institute in Portland, Maine. Hiring that will lead to the new facility's opening is underway.
Working with the Roux Institute – an innovation hub devoted to deepening and expanding the digital economy in Portland, the state of Maine and northern New England – enables Cambridge-based Kebotix to build a talent pipeline across the region, including with area recent college graduates, and partner with world-class academic researchers from Northeastern and the University of Maine system.
Launching an operation at the Roux Institute has been inspired by the vision of technology entrepreneur and Maine native David Roux and his wife, Barbara, who invested $100 million to establish the institute in partnership with Northeastern to spur innovation, build talent and drive economic growth in northern New England. Clear signs of a growing skilled technical workforce, economic momentum and an enviable quality of life were also responsible for wooing Kebotix further up I-95.
“We recognize Portland as an exciting, fast-growing innovation hub that combines high-end technology with a rich bio feedstock base,” said Dr. Jill S. Becker, Kebotix CEO and founder. “What a perfect place and time it is to extend our expertise in machine learning and materials science at the Roux Institute. The location also helps in our mission to align with the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals. A presence in northern New England, home of many manufacturers of raw materials, will be of great benefit as we develop environmentally friendly specialty substances.”
Kebotix’s partnership with Northeastern began in 2019 when the tech company first collaborated with Northeastern professor Steven Lopez’s research group on a cancer research project supported by a $750,000 research grant from the Massachusetts Life Science Center. Focusing on photochemistry as a method to develop specialty molecules, the research tapped into Kebotix’s proprietary R&D that combines data, AI and robotics to accelerate the synthesis of new molecules for a sustainable world, according to Dr. Semion Saikin, Kebotix’s chief science officer.
“We’re delighted to expand our work with Dr. Steven Lopez’s research team to a second Northeastern campus,” Saikin said. “Soon we’ll announce our first collaborations at the Roux Institute and potentially other new areas of research at Northeastern.”
Lopez, Northeastern’s assistant professor of chemistry in the Department of Chemistry & Chemical Biology, is equally elated to continue working with the Kebotix team, saying, “Our research partnership has been extremely fruitful so far. I look forward to all that will be accomplished in this unique new environment.”
Echoing the excitement is Michael Pollastri, senior vice provost and academic lead for the Roux Institute.
“Kebotix is a long-tenured research partner of Northeastern, and we’ve been fortunate to extend our relationship to the Roux Institute,” Pollastri said. “Through this new engagement and in the months ahead, Kebotix will establish its first Maine footprint via our campus – a co-located home base for new hires, continued research and shared innovation.”
Kebotix’s new space at the Roux Institute gives the company a third facility beyond its Cambridge headquarters. Kebotix also has locations in Toronto and Woburn, Mass.
Today’s announcement will be discussed further at The Maine Connection: A Conversation with Kebotix and FocusMaine from 12-1 p.m. ET on Friday. The free virtual event, sponsored by the Roux Institute at Northeastern University, will feature a panel moderated by Pollastri and participated by Becker, Saikin and FocusMaine Program Director Dr. Toby Ahrens. Registration is available at kebotixandfocusmaine.splashthat.com.
FocusMaine’s Pivotal Role
FocusMaine, a private sector-led initiative accelerating the creation of quality jobs in Maine by investing in globally competitive and high-growth fields, is working closely with the Roux Institute to support the growth of Maine's life sciences economy and to market Maine's advantages to companies such as Kebotix.
Last year, FocusMaine and the Roux Institute signed a memorandum of understanding outlining several areas of collaboration to grow Maine’s skilled workforce and accelerate growth in the technology and life sciences sector. FocusMaine supported Kebotix throughout their exploration of Maine as an expansion opportunity.
“We are excited to welcome Kebotix to Maine,” said FocusMaine President Dr. Kimberly Hamilton. “Our partnership with the Roux Institute to make Maine the right choice for Kebotix can be replicated for other companies interested in Maine. This is why joining forces makes so much sense and goes to the heart of our mission to catalyze the growth of quality jobs in Maine."
Kebotix partners with the private and public sector in harnessing the power of its breakthrough platform that combines artificial intelligence and robotic automation to discover chemicals and materials significantly faster and more affordably. Kebotix is backed by a growing, talented and dedicated team led by world-class scientists and serial entrepreneurs – plus the world’s first self-driving lab for materials discovery – to develop AI/machine learning roadmaps and define problems and solution properties for its partners. Kebotix provides its partners technology access to its digital R&D solutions and complete end-to-end materials innovation programs to stay ahead of competition in the digital revolution. Kebotix is also dedicated to developing transformative technologies that facilitate important first steps toward tackling some of the world’s biggest challenges of the 21st century. For more information, visit www.kebotix.com.
About the Roux Institute
The Roux Institute in Portland, Maine is designed as an engine of innovation, talent-building, and economic growth for Portland, Maine, and northern New England. Partnerships set the model of graduate education and research apart. With leading companies and nonprofit organizations at the table from day one, the Roux Institute creates programs that are preparing the workforce to stay agile and thrive in a competitive landscape powered by artificial intelligence. The Roux Institute, as a global research university, is nurturing an environment for high-impact research and innovation in computer and data science, digital engineering, the advanced life sciences and medicine, and other tech fields. And the Roux helps entrepreneurs launch businesses focused on and powered by technology. Together, with our partners, we are creating an innovation corridor that will stretch from Boston to Portland and beyond. For more information: www.roux.northeastern.edu/.