State of The City Preview: New York City Invests $38 Million In New Biotech Centers
NEW YORK—Today, Mayor de Blasio announced four winners of infrastructure grants totaling $38 million as a part of LifeSci NYC, a $500 million commitment to help establish New York City as the public health capital of the world. Today’s awards will fund applied research and development (R&D) facilities at four of New York City’s leading scientific research institutions—Columbia University, Montefiore-Einstein, the New York Stem Cell Foundation, and Rockefeller University.
Each facility will be dedicated to facilitating partnerships between New York’s leading academic scientists, and biotech and pharmaceutical companies, with the ultimate goal of advancing innovative treatments for patients and growing the local industry.
“New York City has fought back COVID-19 by trusting science and working closely with our partners in the scientific community. That work is only just beginning,” said Mayor Bill de Blasio. “As we rebuild a fairer and better city, it’s time to make New York City a global leader in pandemic response. This city will stand with the life sciences in good times and bad, and I can’t wait to see what our world-class partners will create in the years to come.”
Today’s announcement complements recent City efforts to address pandemic response, including a vision to create to a local institution, tentatively called the Pandemic Response Institute (PRI), that will serve as a hub to prepare for and respond to future health emergencies in New York City. The City also launched the Pandemic Response Lab (PRL), a facility dedicated to processing COVID-19 tests within 24-48 hours for NYC Health + Hospitals.
“Public health will guide New York City’s economic recovery; our city is only as healthy as its least healthy resident,” said Deputy Mayor for Housing and Economic Development Vicki Been. “This investment will strengthen New York City’s life sciences ecosystem as an economic development engine and as an incubator of cutting-edge public health technologies and treatments.”
“The winners of this important grant will help to keep New York City on the forefront of the life sciences industry,” said Deputy Mayor Melanie Hartzog. “Investments like these, in vital research and innovative strategies for growing our City’s life science infrastructure, are a key part of this Administration’s recovery agenda, helping create a smarter, healthier NYC, and laying the groundwork for related opportunity in the future.”
“The Applied Research and Development projects will provide quality jobs for New Yorkers, create more accessible biotech space, and support groundbreaking research and innovation — all critical components of the City’s LifeSci NYC initiative,” said James Patchett, President and CEO of New York City Economic Development Corporation. “These goals are vital to increasing access to public health resources and life-saving treatments for all New Yorkers. We’re thrilled these facilities will be a key addition to ensure early-stage technologies can be brought from academic labs to patients in need.”
Columbia University’s Therapeutic Validation Center will receive up to $9 million to establish research facilities dedicated to accelerating early-stage research into new start-ups. The Center will be located within Columbia University’s existing facilities and be open to scientists and entrepreneurs throughout the city, regardless of affiliation. The new Center will use advanced mass spectrometry imaging technology to create next-generation medicines that work by analyzing and orchestrating the behavior of individual cells in the human body to work in concert to eliminate disease. Columbia is in discussion with commercial partners about partnering on this initiative.
Montefiore Medicine, together with its medical school, the Albert Einstein College of Medicine, will launch the Einstein-Montefiore Biotechnology Accelerated Research Center (EMBARC) to establish a biomanufacturing operation focused on cell, gene, and antibody therapy production. This facility, supported with up to $13 million, will be located on Montefiore’s Einstein campus in Morris Park and be open to early stage and established companies in need of these scientific facilities.
New York Stem Cell Foundation (NYSCF) will be awarded up to $6.5 million to equip an expansion of its Research Institute located in West Midtown, enabling the translation of their research into new drugs and treatments ready for the clinic. The Institute’s expanded operations also allow further collaborations with local universities, biotechnology companies, pharmaceutical companies, and technology organizations who look to bring innovative cell-based treatments to patients in need. The equipment, funded by the City, will increase NYSCF’s cell production capacity, process-development abilities, and drug screening capabilities. The grant will also fund equipment for the NYSCF Research Institute clinical laboratory to further enable precision medicine approaches.
The Rockefeller University will receive up to $9 million to convert academic research labs into the Tri-Institutional Translational Center for Therapeutics, an incubator for commercial life sciences, which will serve as the first of its kind in the Upper East Side cluster of biomedical institutions. This new facility will also seek to convert the scientific potential of Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center and Weil Cornell Medicine into local high-growth companies.
“New York City boasts one of the world’s largest concentrations of biomedical research universities,” said Maria Gotsch, President and CEO of the Partnership Fund for New York City. “These translational research centers and incubators will play an important role in moving research from the academic lab to a commercial entity, where both products to improve human health and local jobs can be created. This investment by the City of New York is an important part of the overall plan to make New York a leading center of commercial life sciences.”
“We’re now in the golden age of biology, where basic science knowledge and technology are growing faster than ever before, “said Senior Advisor Dr. Jay Varma. “NYC’s investments in life sciences and therapeutics will ensure that the next great breakthroughs occur here, powered by the city’s innovators and workers and creating the pathway for NYC to be the public health capital of the world.
“We are grateful to Mayor de Blasio and the NYCEDC staff for supporting our vision to create a Center that leverages powerful new technologies for designing next generation medicines. We anticipate that the Center will launch multiple life science companies in NYC that create transformational medicines to change the landscape of treatment for COVID-19 and other human maladies,” said Dr. Brent Stockwell, Professor of Biological Sciences and Chemistry at Columbia University.
“We must accelerate both the pace and success rate of developing new and better treatments for patients, and to do so it is essential for research scientists and companies to perform end-to-end drug screening on the human cells that are actually affected by the diseases we are trying to cure,” said NYSCF founder and CEO Susan L. Solomon. “This new equipment will enable us to realize this opportunity and execute all aspects of a drug screening program right in New York City at our Translational Stem Cell Research Facility, working in close collaboration with scientists and clinicians from the City’s great institutions. Developing drugs and new treatments on human cells is critical and I am very excited that the City continues to make this a priority.”
“The combined research strengths of three world-leading biomedical institutions provides an unparalleled foundation to ensure the success of the new Tri-Institutional Translational Center for Therapeutics,” said Richard P. Lifton, President of Rockefeller University. “By consolidating existing collaborations and providing much-needed biotech incubator space into the bargain, this new center will focus the boldest biomedical science in the world on solving today’s most challenging medical problems – while also growing the fast-emerging biotech sector in New York City.”
“The investments announced today further cement New York City’s place as an innovation hub for life sciences. The commitment by New York City and the collaboration by the world-class institutions receiving the grants will enhance opportunities for entrepreneurs to found high-growth companies that develop important therapeutics” said Jennifer Hawks Bland, CEO of NewYorkBIO, the leading association representing the life science industry in New York. “By providing support to academic researchers, LifeSci NYC is building on the promise of prior investments and will allow New York to accelerate the development of treatments and cures that benefit the world.”
“I applaud Mayor de Blasio and NYCEDC for investing in the future of New York City with a new biotech center at Rockefeller University,” said Rep. Carolyn B. Maloney. “Rockefeller University has long been a national leader in life science innovation. This new investment will cement our city as a leader in life science innovation, critical to our preparedness for future pandemics, everyday illnesses, and other maladies that threaten human health.”
“New York City’s prioritization of the life sciences has not only delivered thousands of new jobs and fostered tremendous innovation, it has also yielded meaningful scientific progress, developing hundreds of new cures and treatments. I am thrilled that the City has decided to continue these fruitful efforts by investing millions in organizations like Columbia University and the New York Stem Cell Foundation, whose work seeks to better prepare our city for future health emergencies and overcome current crises, including COVID-19,” said Rep. Jerry Nadler. “I’m grateful to have the City’s support for the life-saving research being done by life science organizations in my district and I will continue to work on their behalf as they strive to build a healthier, safer New York.”
“Since it was founded in 1953, Montefiore Albert Einstein College of Medicine has been at the forefront of scientific breakthroughs, showing why we are ‘the Borough of Universities’,” said Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. “This grant allows Montefiore Albert Einstein College of Medicine to continue doing cutting-edge research, in life sciences and healthcare, as well as provide office space for companies looking to be headquartered right here in The Bronx.”
“Our city has suffered incredible loss in the wake of the pandemic – but it is the work of the medical community that will lead us out of the darkness and carry us through to recovery. I extend my gratitude to the Mayor’s office and the New York City Economic Development Corporation for this important investment to further the technological advancement of healthcare treatment and research in the Bronx, and look forward to the success of the new facility and program at Montefiore Medical Center’s Einstein University,” said State Senator Alessandra Biaggi.
“As we begin to turn the corner on the fight against COVID-19, and plan for the rebirth of our city’s economy, it will be vital that we invest in preparing the ground for the industries of tomorrow. This pandemic has shown us how vital life sciences research and development will be in the future, and I commend Mayor de Blasio for encouraging the growth of this industry in New York City,” said State Senator Liz Krueger.
“New York City can’t afford to lose top talent for lack of affordable biotech incubator space. When doctors make discoveries they want to bring to the market, they need somewhere to incubate their ideas, and we are building it right here on the Eastside of Manhattan,” said Council Member Ben Kallos. “Thank you to Mayor de Blasio and EDC President James Patchett for investing in the incubators we need to retain top talent. On my first day on the job, we met with the President of Rockefeller and Vice President Timothy O’Connor with a proposal to add incubator space to their campus to retain top talent, and seven years of hard work later I am proud that we can finally announce it!”
“Supporting New York City’s emerging healthcare and tech organizations that will turn scientific research into the treatments of tomorrow is critical in our post-COVID world,” said Council Member Paul A. Vallone, Chair of the Committee on Economic Development. “These additional investments will foster scientific innovation and benefit patients in New York City and beyond for years to come.”
“I am pleased to see the City expanding its life sciences footprint with an investment in these new centers of innovation that will lead to permanent economic opportunities for New Yorkers and to life-changing (and life-saving) developments in medicine. In the wake of the pandemic, we must focus on fomenting these local jobs of tomorrow, while ensuring that equitable access to these opportunities is fostered through education and apprenticeships for all who seek them,” said Council Member Carlina Rivera, Chair of the City Council’s Committee on Hospitals.
“Community Board 8 congratulates Rockefeller University on this grant award,” said Russell Squire, Chair of Community Board 8 Manhattan. “We are proud to have this world-renowned institution in our district.”
Launched in 2016, LifeSci NYC is the City of New York’s $500 million dollar commitment to establish New York City as a global leader in the commercial life sciences. LifeSci NYC’s investments span three areas—connecting research to industry, unlocking space for life sciences growth, and building a diverse pipeline of industry talent in New York City. Since 2016, LifeSci NYC has partnered with [email protected] to activate the City’s largest wet-lab incubator, launched an annual summer internship for undergraduates and graduate students interested in life sciences careers, and partnered with Deerfield Management and King Street Properties to develop a total of more than 500,000 square feet of new lab space, located at 345 Park Avenue South and 48-15 Court Square respectively. To learn more about LifeSci NYC, visit lifesci.nyc.