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Thursday, January 21, 2021

New York City plans to invest $38 million in 4 new biotech centers


New York plans to invest $38 million in biotech centers at four institutions around the city.

The applied research and development facilities will be at Columbia University, Montefiore-Einstein, the New York Stem Cell Foundation, and Rockefeller University.

The $38 million in infrastructure grants are part of the LifeSci NYC initiative, a 10-year, $500 million program meant to establish the city as a public health destination.

Each of the new facilities will focus on fostering partnerships between academic scientists and biotech and pharmaceutical companies with the goals of advancing new treatments for patients and growing the industry locally.

"We're going to bring together some of the top researchers in the world and some of the top entrepreneurs in the world to intensify research and development, to come up with new treatments, to come up with solutions," Mayor Bill de Blasio said at a press conference Thursday. "Nowhere do you find that ability to create and solve problems more than in New York City."

Here's a look at the plans at each institution:

Columbia University

The university's Therapeutic Validation Center will receive up to $9 million to create research facilities for turning early-stage research into new startup companies.

The center will be located within the university's existing facilities, and it will be open to scientists and entrepreneurs throughout the city, regardless of affiliation, according to the mayor's office. Columbia is talking with commercial partners about joining the initiative.

The Therapeutic Validation Center will use advanced mass spectrometry imaging technology to create medicines that work by analyzing and orchestrating the behavior of individual cells to eliminate disease.

Montefiore Medical Center

Montefiore Medical Center and its medical school, the Albert Einstein College of Medicine, will start the Einstein-Montefiore Biotechnology Accelerated Research Center.

The center will create a biomanufacturing operation focused on cell, gene and antibody therapy production. It will be located on Montefiore’s Einstein campus in Morris Park in the Bronx, and will be open to early-stage and established companies.

The city plans to award the center $13 million.

"We hope it’ll be a burgeoning area of development in the Bronx," said James Patchett, president and CEO of New York City Economic Development Corp., at the press briefing.

New York Stem Cell Foundation

The city will provide the New York Stem Cell Foundation up to $6.5 million to equip an expansion of its research institute in Midtown West.
The goal is to enable the research to be translated into new drugs and treatments ready for the clinic. Its expansion will also allow for more collaborations with universities, biotech companies, pharmaceutical companies and technology organizations.

"This will allow for the continued growth of stem cell-based therapies to target diseases that are … often untreatable, like glaucoma and Alzheimer's," Patchett said.

The Rockefeller University

The Rockefeller University will receive up to $9 million to convert academic research labs into a new incubator for commercial life sciences.

The incubator will be called the Tri-Institutional Translational Center for Therapeutics. The new facility will also look at converting scientific potential at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center and Weill Cornell Medicine into high-growth companies.

The life sciences industry has been growing in the city. New York has one of the top 10 life science clusters in the U.S., according to a recent report by brokerage CBRE.

The report looked at size, growth and concentration of life sciences employment, concentration of research and development life sciences employment, size of lab inventory, and amount of life sciences venture capital funding and National Institutes of Health funding. New York ranked No. 8 by those measures.

De Blasio also recently announced New York City will create a pandemic response institute with the goal of preparing for future disease outbreaks and attracting private investment in research into the city.


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