Universities are the secret weapon of national startup hubs like Silicon Valley and Boston. And over the last few years Baltimore has done its best to follow suit.

Consider spaces like Johns Hopkins’ FastForward incubator, the University of Maryland BioPark and IMET’s Harbor Launch incubator, and even accelerator programs like Dreamit Health Baltimore. These are all spaces where research takes the leap into commerce.

Because that’s the big challenge: The research is here, but bringing those discoveries out of the lab and into the commercial sector is difficult.

Of course, plenty of research-driven startups have made it work — perhaps because of the infrastructural investment local institutions have made in recent years.

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