Ex-DuPont scientists sign contract-research lab deal

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These former DuPont Co. Ph.D. scientists and their supporters have set up STRIDE, the Science, Technology and Research Institute of Delaware, and Stride Services, a for-profit company offering contract R&D to corporations and agencies.

Delaware Innovation Space has agreed to lease lab space to the Science, Technology, and Research Institute of Delaware (STRIDE) as a home for the contract research affiliate.

The state-backed DuPont Co.-University of Delaware consortium that is managing two buildings at the DuPont Experimental Station as a home for start-up companies will host the nonprofit group of 85 former DuPont Ph.D. chemists and other scientists, who worked at DuPont’s former Central Research and Development unit and other businesses. STRIDE was created after the scientists were downsized by DuPont in preparation for its planned Friday merger with Dow Chemical Co.

DuPont has signed up other corporate tenants such as Incyte and Kuraray to help fill space at the center. STRIDE was organized with help from the Eckert Seamans law firm, and is funded in part by the Longwood Foundation, a charity set up by member of the du Pont family, whose ancestors founded the DuPont Co. in 1802. “Many of our industrial clients have been waiting for us to secure lab space,” said Seetha Coleman-Kammula Ph.D., a former DuPont chemist and executive who is STRIDE’s president. “We can help our industrial clients innovate and develop new products and technologies.” She said the enlarged Dow DuPont and its planned spin-off companies are among the clients STRIDE expects to serve.

With the Longwood grant and the prospect of contract research revenues, STRIDE is also applying for federal Economic Development Administration funding, and seeks to develop marketing and individual research infrastructure for members’ smaller projects. The deal “gives them a home that will allow them to do what they love to do — get back to work in the lab,” said U.S. Sen. Chris Coons (D., Del.) in a statement. “They are an asset to the state,” which is trying to reshape its economy after DuPont and other large companies reduced employment and taxes.