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Healthcare Business News

New York's biotech industry bolstered

Two initiatives, a $100 million venture fund and a new biomedical institute, draw focus to both the life sciences and the Bloomberg administration's economic development legacy.

By Thornton McEnery, Crain's New York Business
Posted: December 5, 2013 - 9:45 am ET

New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg's administration is using its final days to cement its vision the city as an economic epicenter for the life sciences industry. On Tuesday, Deputy Mayor Robert Steel announced that the city will soon play host to both a $100 million venture fund for life sciences research and a new technological institute focusing on medical technology.

During a press conference at Rockefeller University, Steel unveiled the City of New York Early-Stage Life Sciences Funding Initiative, a public-private effort that will be seeded by $10 million from the city Economic Development Corp. and $40 million from corporate sponsors Celgene, GE Ventures and Eli Lilly & Co. That $50 million is expected to be matched through venture capital partnerships, creating a $100 million fund to be administered across the city's life science-focused research universities, which will aim to initiate 15 to 20 early-stage research and development ventures by 2020.

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Steel said that while the Bloomberg administration has focused on life sciences as a major area of economic diversification, the city's infrastructure still lacked some key elements to foster an ideal ecosystem for the industry's growth. "Venture capital dollars for scientific research was a missing piece of the puzzle," he said. "Seeing these companies vote with their capital is a sign that we're now on the right track."

Another missing piece, according to Steel, is the city's lack of available lab space, an issue that he said will be addressed in some part by the unveiling of the Mount Sinai Institute of Technology. With $5 million in assistance from the city, Mount Sinai's Icahn School of Medicine will partner with Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute to construct a new institution focusing on biomedical discovery and development of technology-based healthcare solutions.

"The Mount Sinai Institute of Technology is an exciting example of a public-private partnership developing critical resources to address major problems," said Geoffrey Smith, director of the Center for Technology, Innovation and Entrepreneurship at Mount Sinai's Icahn School of Medicine. "MSIT will allow us to address major challenges in the biomedical sciences through the development of novel, cost-effective, technology-based solutions."

Construction on MSIT's East Harlem campus will begin in the coming weeks and the academic program will commence in fall 2014 with 10 full-time faculty and 68 students and researchers. By January 2018, those numbers are expected to grow to full matriculation, with 40 faculty and 140 students and researchers.

"What you're seeing here is the Bloomberg-style recipe," Mr. Steel said. "We believe that the city should be part of the process, but really the ratification of our ideas comes from financial partners."

City's biotech industry bolstered originally appeared on Crain's New York Business website.

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