Press Releases

Deputy Mayor Steel And NYCEDC Announce Two New Initiatives to Dramatically Grow City's Life Sciences Sector


$100 Million Early-Stage Life Sciences Funding Initiative to Launch Breakthrough New Ventures With Anchor Funding from NYCEDC, Celgene, GE Ventures, and Eli Lilly and Company  

Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, in Partnership With Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, to Form New Institute of Technology to Train Future Leaders in Development of Technology-Based Solutions to Critical Healthcare Needs

Deputy Mayor for Economic Development Robert K. Steel and New York City Economic Development Corporation President Kyle Kimball today announced two major initiatives to help New York City grow into a preeminent capital for life sciences innovation in the world: the City of New York Early-Stage Life Sciences Funding Initiative, and the new Mt. Sinai Institute of Technology. Established by the New York City Economic Development Corporation (NYCEDC), with $50 million in anchor participation from NYCEDC, Celgene Corporation, GE Ventures and Eli Lilly & Company, the City of New York Early-Stage Life Sciences Funding Initiative represents an unprecedented public-private co-investment partnership across world-class academic institutions, industry leaders, top-tier investors and the philanthropic community. By leveraging at least $50 million in matching funds from top-tier venture capital partners, the co-investment partnership will deploy a minimum of $100 million and seek to launch 15 to 20 breakthrough ventures by 2020, anchoring and accelerating the growth of New York City’s ecosystem for venture creation and early-stage research and development.    

In addition to the creation of the new Life Sciences Funding Initiative, City officials today announced the creation of the Mount Sinai Institute of Technology (MSIT), which with support from the City of New York, will establish a new institution designed to transform biomedicine through discovery and development of technology-based solutions to critical unmet healthcare needs.  MSIT will create a new generation of experts in the field by conferring graduate degrees in technology-based life sciences disciplines, integrating entrepreneurship activities with rigorous training across a spectrum of science and engineering academic areas. Together, these initiatives mark a historic advancement in the City's efforts to strengthen its life sciences ecosystem, offering cutting-edge innovations to develop new technologies and products including therapeutics, medical devices, diagnostics, research and development instrumentation, and digital life sciences tools for patients, researchers and clinicians. The initiatives also represent an important step in further diversifying the City's economy, creating a new hub for investment and innovation and drawing top-tier talent from around the world.    

“This funding initiative is a testament to the strength of the City’s life sciences community,” Deputy Mayor Steel said. “We have seen an unprecedented level of leadership from our local academic leaders in recent years. Today’s announcement marks the beginning of a united front across the academic and commercial life sciences sectors in New York City.  We are pleased to see Celgene, Lilly and GE Ventures place their full confidence in the future of New York City’s life sciences ecosystem. With their support, and in close partnership with our local research institutions, New York City will become a formidable force in life sciences innovation.”  

“Growing New York City’s commercial life sciences industry is a central goal in NYCEDC’s efforts to diversify the economy, spur entrepreneurship and promote high-growth industries in which the City has competitive advantages,” NYCEDC President Kyle Kimball said. “Through the Life Sciences Funding Initiative and our overall investments in the life sciences ecosystem, we have helped build an engine for innovation and economic development for decades to come. No other city is positioned to forge a partnership of this kind.”  

“On behalf of the Rockefeller University community and the wider academic community in New York City, we are thrilled to be a part of this initiative,” said Dr. Marc Tessier-Lavigne, President of Rockefeller University. “The Funding Initiative will be a game changer. We see this as a historic opportunity for our institutions to join forces in advancing world-class science in New York City. With the development of the Alexandria Center and the New York Genome Center in recent years, and now the Life Sciences Funding Initiative, New York City is clearly accelerating the city's infrastructure for venture creation and early stage research and development. We are grateful to the City of New York, Celgene, Lilly and GE Ventures for their support.”  

Deputy Mayor Steel and NYCEDC President Kimball were joined at the announcement, at Rockefeller University by Rockefeller University President and Chair of the Life Sciences Funding Initiative Advisory Council Dr. Marc Tessier-Lavigne and representatives from the Funding Initiative’s Strategic Investors, including Jan Lundberg, PhD, Executive Vice President of Science and Technology and President of Lilly Research Laboratories and Perry Karsen, Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer, Celgene. Maria Gotsch, President and CEO of the Partnership Fund for New York City, which is also contributing to the Funding Initiative, was also present. Dennis S. Charney, MD, Dean of the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai and President for Academic Affairs at the Mount Sinai Health System and Geoffrey W. Smith, Director of the Center for Technology, Innovation and Entrepreneurship at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, were also in attendance as well as other civic and business leaders.  

With $1.4 billion in annual National Institutes of Health funding and the greatest concentration of world class academic medical centers and research foundations in the country, the City offers a unique and robust pool of assets as a major center for life sciences and healthcare innovation. The Life Sciences Funding Initiative will build on these strengths and position New York City as a leader in translating cutting-edge academic research into breakthrough products for patients worldwide, while also acting as a game-changer for the local economy in New York City, resulting in at least $100 million in initial capital investment, the anticipated creation of 15 to 20 breakthrough life sciences ventures by 2020, and the creation of permanent private-sector jobs. Continuing innovation in the life sciences in New York City will attract additional significant research and development dollars, fortifying the City’s leadership as a center for academic research and clinical care.  

NYCEDC, Celgene, Lilly, GE Ventures and the Partnership Fund are entering into a partnership that aims to co-invest a minimum of $50 million in seed and Series A funding alongside a select cohort of top-tier investment partners with venture capital and venture creation expertise. The co-invested funds will be invested directly in early-stage companies alongside matching funds from top-tier venture capital partners in a unique structure that will incentivize new life sciences ventures to be created in NYC.  A highly competitive selection process is currently underway to identify the Initiative’s anchor venture capital partners, who will be selected by the City based on a number of factors relating to the firms’ ability to build a generation of new companies around cutting-edge science, recruit first-class industrial R&D talent, deploy sufficient follow-on capital over the long-term, work alongside the City’s academic medical centers, research foundations and Strategic Partners, and commit resources to the NYC ecosystem. These top-tier venture capital partners will help strengthen networks and spark interdisciplinary collaborations across the City’s leading life sciences stakeholders, and attract a critical mass of serial entrepreneurs and managers with expertise in life sciences venture creation and producing high quality deal-flow for investors. With responses to the request for proposals submitted in October 2013, institutional venture capital investors from around the country are under consideration in the selection process.  Selections will be in place in early 2014, and the Life Sciences Funding Initiative is expected to make its first investments in mid-2014.    

“We congratulate the City of New York in developing this formidable initiative for life sciences innovation in New York,” said George Golumbeski, PhD, Senior Vice President of Business Development at Celgene. “We believe it is not only good for Celgene but also critical to the health of the ecosystem of innovation that leading biotechnology companies join with higher educational institutions, academic medical centers, venture capital investors and government agencies to support early-stage innovation and accelerate development of new research ventures.  The investments of the Life Sciences Funding Initiative will pay significant dividends for years to come in spurring innovation, advancing new therapies for patients and driving economic growth, and we are pleased to take part.”  

“New York City is an extraordinary hub for breakthrough research, and Lilly is fortunate to have been a corporate citizen in the New York City life sciences community for a number of years through numerous collaborations and our ImClone subsidiary,” said Jan Lundberg, Ph.D., Executive Vice President of Science and Technology and President of Lilly Research Laboratories.  “We look forward to Lilly’s talented scientists working alongside NYC’s top-tier researchers to help speed the discovery of new medicines for some of the world’s most devastating diseases, such as cancer, diabetes, and Alzheimer’s disease.”  

“By partnering with the City of New York we are working to build a thriving ecosystem for life sciences innovation,” said Sue Siegel, CEO of GE Ventures. “Combining New York City’s research and medical institutions, entrepreneurs, scientists and innovators provides us a rich opportunity to greatly accelerate healthcare diagnosis and treatment.”  

“We are excited to support the Early Stage Life Sciences Funding Initiative,” said Maria Gotsch, President and CEO of the Partnership Fund for New York City. “This initiative fills a crucial financing gap that will encourage scientists and entrepreneurs to turn their groundbreaking ideas into early stage companies in New York City. Ultimately this early stage funding, which complements other programs such as the BioAccelerateNYC prize and Harlem Biospace, is a great way to boost the city’s growing life sciences sector and the middle-income jobs that come with it.”  

“These new programs represent a major investment in New York City's life sciences sector.  Building on the expertise of existing organizations these new programs are a great way to encourage the best and the brightest to come to New York City to develop their ideas,” said U.S. Representative Carolyn Maloney. “I applaud Mayor Bloomberg and NYCEDC for finding new ways to attract and foster the entrepreneurial and creative talents of world class scientists, and I welcome the partnerships that are being established today.”  

As Strategic Partners, Celgene, GE Ventures, and Lilly will receive early visibility on quality deal flow in New York, benefiting from top-tier due diligence on new venture opportunities.  The strategic partners will also participate in an extensive advisory network, working closely with the investment partners and leading scientists as well as the academic medical centers and entrepreneurs to launch new companies from scratch.  NYCEDC and the strategic partners envision increasing the scale of the project through additional civic and strategic partners and contributions from philanthropy and industry.    

The Initiative was undertaken by NYCEDC and the City after extensive conversations with local university presidents and deans, entrepreneurs, leading CEOs, civic leaders and venture capitalists over the last several years. These stakeholders cited a deficit of senior entrepreneurial talent as a major barrier to success in building a robust commercial life sciences ecosystem. The Early Stage Life Sciences Funding Initiative is building an alternative investment model that mitigates the risk for early-stage investors, by coupling unique funding terms with access to NYC’s world-class academic medical centers and medical research foundations, helping to recruit top-tier executives to lead the next generation of life sciences companies in New York City.    

Supported by $5 million in City funds, the Mount Sinai Institute of Technology (MSIT) will transform biomedicine through discovery and development of technology-based solutions to critical unmet healthcare needs. Students and faculty will engage in academic research, product development and active entrepreneurship in areas including Big Data, cloud computing, social networking, scientific and clinical simulation, tissue engineering, sensors, microprocessors, robotics, mechatronics, drug delivery and nanomedicine and other areas, ultimately conferring graduate degrees in Design, Technology, and Entrepreneurship (Ph.D.) and Biomedical Informatics (M.S.). The program commencement in Fall 2014 will initially engage 10 full time faculty, 33 students, and 35 post-doctoral researchers, ultimately growing to 40 faculty and 140 students and post-docs upon full matriculation in January 2018. As part of a partnership with Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI), the oldest technological research university in the United States, renowned for its inter-disciplinary expertise in biotechnology, engineering, and computational sciences, the program will call for five multi-disciplinary teams of faculty members, post-doctoral scholars and students from both entities that are devoted to solving a specific technology problem. MSIT will also seek to create partnerships with other academic centers, such as the Grove School of Engineering at City College of New York.  

“We are grateful to the New York City Economic Development Corporation and the administration of Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg for their generous support in helping to make MSIT a reality,” said Dean Charney of the Icahn School of Medicine. “The City has long recognized the need to expand applied science education and to establish research facilities for these efforts. The work that we’ll carry out at the Institute – from basic research to developing medical technology and devising effective treatments – will ultimately go a long way toward helping improve patient outcomes and the quality of life for people in New York City and beyond.”  

“The creation of the Mount Sinai Institute of Technology, in partnership with the EDC, 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 the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai. “MSIT will allow us to address major challenges in the biomedical sciences through the development of novel, cost-effective, technology-based solutions, while training the next generation of scientific and clinical leaders to have the technical expertise and practical experience to drive use-inspired basic research from original biologic insight all the way through the technology and product development process.”  

“The Mount Sinai Institute of Technology is a robust extension of our partnership with the Icahn School of Medicine,” said Rensselaer President Shirley Ann Jackson. “This research and technology hub will enable innovation and discovery in biomedical technologies, healthcare analytics and education, and drive economic development and improved health care. Rensselaer will work closely with Mount Sinai to foster the growth of the MSIT, while expanding opportunities to build Rensselaer-driven biomedical technologies.”    

MSIT will commence construction  this month on a suite of new facilities in existing buildings on the ISMMS campus, in the East Harlem neighborhoods of Manhattan, including the Rapid Prototyping Center, an 1,800 SF space that includes laser cutters, 3-D printers, micro-milling machines, spin coaters and CAD workstations; the MSIT Innovation Lab, over 1,600 square feet that includes meeting spaces, small scale prototyping space, and virtual communications infrastructure; and the MSIT Teaching Facility, an 800 square foot learning complex that will include an electronically-enabled classroom, student meeting space and visualization technology.    

Entrepreneurial activities will be managed through Mount Sinai’s Center for Technology, Innovation, and Entrepreneurship (cTIE). Faculty-led teams will vie for seed grants to execute up to two years of their project plans; all students, post-doctoral fellows and faculty will have access to the cTIE Commons platform of resources at the earliest phases of idea generation process.    

The co-investment partnership and technology institute are signature initiatives in a portfolio of programs launched by NYCEDC to support the ecosystem for venture creation in the life sciences and healthcare sectors. In 2013, NYCEDC designed, launched and seeded a series of initiatives to address a spectrum of unmet needs among entrepreneurs, including Harlem Biospace, a wet lab incubator for new life-sciences ventures; Entrepreneurship Lab NYC, a six month intensive mentorship program for graduate students and post-docs launching new ventures; SBIR Impact NYC, a competitive application assistance program to recruit federal research and development funding for new ventures; and Pilot Health Tech NYC, a competition awarding $100,000 in matching funding to each of 10 New York City-based companies conducting healthcare technology pilots in a New York City healthcare provider setting. In their first year, these initiatives have energized the community, already engaging hundreds of participants and stakeholders.  By launching the City of New York Early-Stage Life Sciences Funding Initiative, the City, Celgene, GE Ventures and Lilly seek to build upon and institutionalize these efforts. Companies interested in participating in the funding initiative can visit www.nycedc.com/lifesciences or email LifeSciences@nycedc.com.    

Growing New York City’s commercial life sciences industry is a central goal in NYCEDC’s efforts to diversify the economy, spur entrepreneurship and promote high-growth industries in which the City has competitive advantages. Harlem Biospace, a first-of-its-kind life sciences incubator, opened last month in West Harlem, and founded in partnership with Sam Sia, PhD, an entrepreneur and faculty member at Columbia University’s Department of Biomedical Engineering. Harlem Biospace will provide affordable wet lab and microbench facilities, specialized laboratory equipment, mentorship and business support for up to 20 seed-stage life sciences companies. NYCEDC provided approximately $626,000 in financial support to offset capital improvements, equipment, operations and programming. Dr. Sia, a life sciences researcher and entrepreneur, brings extensive leadership and industry experience to the project. Dr. Sia previously founded Claros Diagnostics, a venture capital-backed company which was acquired by Opko Health in 2011.    

“Our team is grateful for the overwhelming support from the New York City life sciences community for Harlem Biospace,” said Dr. Sia. “We are thrilled that the city now houses an affordable wet lab space that is centrally located and beautifully designed. We look forward to working with some of the city's top life sciences startup companies, and welcome all life sciences entrepreneurs and investors to visit our space as we host events in the months to come.”    

Harlem Biospace is part of the City’s growing network of 16 business incubators either currently open or forthcoming. Through this network, NYCEDC is providing low-cost space (more than 130,000 square feet to date) as well as training and networking opportunities to hundreds of start-ups and small businesses.  Over 600 startup businesses and 1,000 employees are currently located at the City-sponsored incubators, and these companies have raised more than $125 million in venture funding.  These projects are key pieces of Harlem’s ongoing resurgence, providing neighborhood amenities, and creating jobs and economic activity in the area. Entrepreneurs interested in obtaining space at the Harlem Biospace incubator should visit www.harlembiospace.com.  

About NYCEDC

New York City Economic Development Corporation is the City's primary vehicle for promoting economic growth in each of the five boroughs. NYCEDC's mission is to stimulate growth through expansion and redevelopment programs that encourage investment, generate prosperity and strengthen the City's competitive position. NYCEDC serves as an advocate to the business community by building relationships with companies that allow them to take advantage of New York City's many opportunities. Find us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter, or visit our blog to learn more about NYCEDC projects and initiatives.

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