New York Could Be Next Booming Bio Hub as Cellectis, Pfizer and Eli Lilly Set Up Shop There

New York Could Be Next Booming Bio Hub as Cellectis, Pfizer and Lilly Set Up Shop There May 17, 2016
By Alex Keown, BioSpace.com Breaking News Staff

NEW YORK – With biotechs fiercely competing for space in places like Cambridge, Mass. and South San Francisco, some companies are looking for new places to call home that offer less expensive real estate and easier-to-come-by talent.

That was one reason Paris-based Cellectis selected to come to New York last year. In April 2015, Cellectis snapped up a new 12,000-square foot facility, which includes state-of-the-art research laboratories. The company moved to New York to develop its engineered CAR-T cells to treat cancers such as leukemia and solid tumors. At the time, Andre Choulika, chief executive officer of Cellectis, said the company chose its new location at the Alexandria Center due to the number of biotech companies, academic and medical institutions in the area. Additionally, Choulika said another attractive feature is the home to a plethora of “robust financial” markets in the area, resources the company may like to tap into for funding research and development. More recently, Choulika told Ft.com that it is easier to attract new talent in New York because there is less “cut-throat competition.”

Cellectis’ new digs are also the home of pharma-giants Pfizer , Eli Lilly and Roche . There are also numerous pharma research facilities across the river in New Jersey. Likewise, Regeneron is not too far away from the city in Tarrytown, N.Y.

Choulika noted access to venture capitalists. There has been a quadrupling of venture capital financing of biotechs in New York state. In 2015, there was approximately $256.5 million raised in the state compared to $53.7 million in 2014. Despite that growth, it still lags far behind Massachusetts and California, which saw a combined $6.8 billion in venture capital raised in 2015.

While New York may be making a push into becoming a biotech hub, neighboring New Jersey has already been hard at work competing with Massachusetts. New Jersey is currently home to more than 3,000 businesses in the pharma, medtech and life sciences industries. The growth of the biotech and pharmaceutical industries has several drivers in New Jersey, including a lower cost of living (in comparison to other pharma hubs), strong research from area colleges and universities, a legacy big pharma footprint and a supportive state government.

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