NYC Continues Quest to Become Premiere Biotech Hub

New York City

For the last several years New York has been building itself up to be the biggest biotech hub on the east coast. The drive has been part of initiatives launched by state and local government leaders that include hundreds of millions of dollars for investment.

Additionally, developers have been building multiple facilities to provide space for companies and investors are lining up with cash to support those companies.

Two years ago New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced a $650 million initiative to spur the growth of a new, world-class life science research cluster in New York. The initiative includes $250 million in tax incentives for new and existing life science companies, $200 million in state capital grants to support investment in wet-lab and innovation space, $100 million in investment capital for early-stage life science initiatives, with an additional match of at least $100 million for operating support from private sector partnerships, according to a statement from the governor’s office.

Then, earlier this year, leaders from New York City set aside $100 million to develop a biotech hub. That money is part of a $500 million cache the city has earmarked for biotech investment, Forbes reported. The city is looking to rapidly increase the amount of space dedicated to biotech research and development and increase the number of commercial research jobs in the city.

Those investments are paying off. During the BIO Convention last week in Boston, a biannual report from the Biotechnology Innovation Organization, revealed that New York City now employs the most biotech research workers in the country. Boston was dropped to the number two spot and San Francisco moved to third.

With that feather in the city’s cap, New York City’s life science and biotech ecosystem will hit a few key milestones this month.

June 14 marks the start of the 2018 NYC Life Science Innovation Showcase. The showcase is expected to feature a number of biotech investors and venture capitalists, as well as panel discussions regarding turning New York City into the premiere biotech hub. Additionally, the showcase will include a competition for a $100,000 prize among 25 emerging NYC life science startups. 

The showcase will be held at New York’s Alexandria LaunchLabs, the first biotech incubator to launch in New York City. The LaunchLabs, located at the Alexandria Center for Life Science, is celebrating its first anniversary this month since it opened its doors to companies last summer. The new innovation center includes 15,000 square feet of lab and office space that is currently the home to 20 startup companies. Those companies that become part of the Alexandria LaunchLabs family have access to strategic risk capital for funding through the Alexandria Seed Capital Platform, expertise in early-stage company building, as well as a broad range of advisers.

One year in, Alexandria reported that 50 percent of the companies that have taken residence in the LaunchLabs have increased their employment. When LaunchLabs opened, there were about 20 employees among the startups accepted into the space. Today, there are about 60 employees, the company said.

In December another incubator, BioLabs@NYULangone opened in the Big Apple.

Not to be outdone, Johnson & Johnson’s JLABS @ NYC will finally open this month. The 30,000 square foot facility will open its doors on June 21. The facility is located at the nonprofit New York Genome Center. Johnson & Johnson has opened its JLABS incubator concept in multiple cities across the globe. To date, JLABS sites have incubated more than 200 companies.

There are additional plans for more life science space in New York. Last summer The New York Life Sciences and Biotechnology Center announced plans to construct a building that will provide 1.35 million square feet of “state of the art” space for life science companies. The building is expected to include flexible wet and dry laboratory space as well as build to suit Class A offices. Construction has been planned to begin this year.

While New York City gets the attention, there are other parts of the state that are attracting life science companies. Last year Westchester County officials gave the approval for the Westchester Bioscience and Technology Center. The center is a proposed $1.2 billion biotech development projected to bring up to 12,000 jobs to the greater New York City area. When news was first reported about the Westchester Bioscience and Technology Center, plans called for 2,252,600 square feet of biotech and research space, as well as 400,000 square feet of medical offices. Companies that set up shop in the Westchester site could be able to benefit from a nearby neighbor, Regeneron Pharmaceuticals, a company that has been in the process of expanding its own physical footprint in New York.

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