NYC Adds 15-Member Board to Drive Bio-Tech Initiatives

The New York City Biotech initiative now has a full board. With the help of the leadership co-chairs, the City selected its choices for a 15-member Life Sciences Advisory Board that will take charge of Mayor Bill de Blasio’s 500 million dollar LifeSci NYC Initiative.

The advisory board includes some of the top minds in the emerging biotech industry. The two chairs, Vicki Sato, a professor at Harvard Business School, and Dr. Harold Varmus, a Nobel Laureate and professor at Weill Cornell Medical College, bring some of the top scholastic and scientific information into their leadership roles. Many other NYC universities, businesses, philanthropists and innovators are also on the 15-member board, including individuals like Rick Lifton, Margaret Hamburg, Mary Tanner and others, and will bring their diverse backgrounds and perspectives into the initiative.

Several major biotech names, including Pfizer and Columbia University, are very supportive of the proposals. Mayor Bill de Blasio said last December that the goal is to bring in an extra 16,000 well-paying biotech jobs into New York City and increase the partnership between industry, academia, and the public sector.

That’s the public-private initiative’s primary goal, but they are also looking to expand the current realm of biotech knowledge. The city is already the home of over 100 research facilities and has one of the highest concentrations of academic institutions in the world, which is why Mayor Bill de Blasio is confident that the new 500-million-dollar project will make his city the world leader of the biotech industry.

The cornerstone of this plan is a new Applied Life Sciences Campus, plus incentives to companies performing biotech research in the city.

Affordable research space is hard to find in the city, and that has driven many top research labs into other places where they can focus more money on their research. To counter that, Bill de Blasio has committed 300 million dollars in tax incentives to support building commercial lab spaces and another 100 million to an Applied Life Sciences Campus, which will be used to anchor the emerging biotech industry.

The Campus will probably be located somewhere on the East side, near the major academic institutions already there. Some of the potential locations being discussed are on Manhattan’s East Side, Roosevelt Island or Long Island City.

To raise more money, the city is providing 20 million dollars of matching funds to private investors who are willing to take the risks in the new biotech investments.