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Press Release

NYCEDC Takes First Step Toward Launching Network of Life Sciences Incubators

Dec 20 2016

Seeking designer and operator for wet laboratory incubator, first in a series of affordable workspaces for high-growth life sciences companies in NYC

Part of Mayor de Blasio’s LifeSci NYC plan, which will create 16,000 new jobs at all education levels, 1,000 paid internships

NEW YORK, NY—New York City Economic Development Corporation (NYCEDC) today announced that it is seeking proposals from potential operators for a wet laboratory incubator, the first in a network of life sciences incubators announced by Mayor de Blasio earlier this month as part of his LifeSci NYC plan. NYCEDC hopes to have the first incubator open and operational as early as the end of 2017 – offering affordable workspace to at least five high-growth life sciences businesses at a time.

LifeSci NYC, a $500 million, ten-point initiative, will spur an estimated 16,000 new, good-paying jobs and establish New York City as a global leader in life sciences research and innovation. New Yorkers hoping to secure a career-track job in a growing industry and struggling with the rising cost of living will have access to 1,000 paid internships, new training programs and job placements in a field with average salaries of $75,000.

As part of LifeSci NYC, the City will invest $10 million to build a network of incubators for life sciences start-up facilities. These incubators will provide affordable space for the next generation of life sciences businesses. Incubators will be located near existing research centers to better support innovators and connect skilled workers with jobs.

“Some of New York’s smallest life science startups are the ones that have the hardest time finding affordable places to work. But with a little help, they’re the businesses with the greatest potential for big discoveries and big job growth,” said NYCEDC President Maria Torres-Springer. “By creating a network of affordable incubators, we’re making a real investment towards Mayor de Blasio’s goal of creating 16,000 good paying jobs and making New York City a global leader in this growing sector.”

The City is seeking operators to design and build a new life sciences incubator with at least 5,000 square feet in rentable wet-lab space, and capacity for a minimum of five tenant companies per graduation term. It will offer resources such as tissue culture hoods, safety cabinets, refrigerators and freezers, centrifuges, autoclaves and washers. The Incubator will also provide access to shared services, such as conference rooms, technical assistance and on-site facilities maintenance.

The Incubator will be home to early-stage life sciences companies conducting R&D in New York City. Companies will be evaluated based on commercialization potential of their research, quality of the management team, ability to attract additional funding, and a clear commitment to remain in the five boroughs for a minimum of three years after they leave the incubator. Operators wanting to create commercial wet lab space in addition to hosting an incubator could also apply for tax incentives through the City's Industrial Development Agency.

The life sciences and biotechnology industry includes a wide array of disciplines focused on developing cures, treatments and technologies. Its companies work to develop new vaccines and pharmaceuticals, build advanced prosthetic devices, and design software that makes diagnostics more accurate.

With 16 percent growth in jobs since 2009, the life sciences sector is among the fastest growing in the city. It offers a wide range of technical jobs such as microbiologists and lab technicians, as well as non-technical jobs in areas like marketing and administration. Roughly 30 percent of jobs in the industry require only a high-school diploma or Associate’s Degree, while another 50 percent of jobs require only a Bachelor’s Degree.

With more than 100 research foundations and nine academic medical centers, New York City is home to one of the largest concentrations of academic life sciences research in the world. However, challenges such as a shortage of commercial laboratory space have made it hard for New York City to hold on to young companies spinning out of its research institutions.

LifeSci NYC will generate 9,000 new direct jobs in the sector, 7,000 new jobs in related fields, and 7,400 construction jobs, increase economic output by $2.5 billion a year, attract $6.5 billion in additional private investment, and generate $1 billion in tax revenue. The City will develop a new Applied Life Science Campus along Manhattan’s East Side or in neighboring Long Island City, unlock 2.8 million square feet of private investment in new commercial lab space, provide training programs for workers and facilitate collaboration between the City’s leading medical research institutions, pharmaceuticals, startups, venture capital firms and philanthropies.

The ten-point plan includes a major focus on workforce development programs to connect New Yorkers to jobs, with 1,000 new paid internships at leading life sciences companies. Working with the City University of New York, other schools and teaching hospitals, the initiative will create new curricula focused on skills-building in the life science sector.

The Ten-Point LifeSci NYC Plan

1. Invest $100 million to create a new Applied Life Sciences Campus. The de Blasio Administration will provide funding to create a world-class facility along Manhattan’s East Side or in neighboring Long Island City that drives bio-engineering innovations, research and development (R&D) partnerships and entrepreneurial training. The campus will serve as an institutional anchor for the life sciences industry, much as Cornell Tech serves as an anchor for applied sciences and engineering.

2. Provide $50 million to expand network of life sciences R&D facilities. To remain at the forefront of the innovative research that leads to new businesses, the Administration will make targeted investments in New York City’s existing academic medical centers and research institutions. The City will provide capital to a network of up to eight non-profit research facilities, to help create new workspace for research with a high potential for commercialization and job growth.

3. Invest $10 million to expand network of incubators for life sciences start-up facilities. To provide affordable space for the next generation of life science startups, the City will invest in up to five new incubators and innovation centers, with the first expected to open in late 2017. Incubators will be located near existing research centers to better support innovators and connect skilled workers with jobs.

4. Commit $20 million a year in matching funds to support early-stage businesses. Young life sciences startups often struggle to secure the capital they need to expand. By committing $20 million in seed and growth funding, and seeking matching funds from private sources, the City will help spur growth of up to 80 companies, helping them expand and create new jobs for New Yorkers.

5. Invest $7.5 million to create internships and life sciences curricula. The City will launch a new internship program next summer, which will connect students each year with opportunities at life sciences companies and institutions. Organizations that have already agreed to take on interns include global pharmaceutical companies such as Roche and Elli Lilly, research institutions such as the New York Genome Center, and investors such as Deerfield Management. The City will also provide funding to support the development of new curricula for local colleges and universities, based on input from local employers, to prepare the next generation of life sciences talent.

6. Commit $300 million in tax incentives to attract investment in commercial lab space for life sciences businesses. The high cost of lab construction has resulted in a shortage of space for new life science companies. By offsetting that cost, the City will unlock affordable lab space for growing companies that provide accessible, middle class jobs for New Yorkers.

7. Modernize land use policies to encourage new space for life sciences firms. To more than double the potential areas for life sciences jobs, the Administration will clarify regulations to make explicit that lab space for life sciences R&D is permitted in the majority of commercial zones. In addition, the administration will leverage upcoming rezonings to include life sciences sites where appropriate.

8. Provide $7.5 million to create a Life Sciences Management Corps. The City will provide financing to life sciences startups to help them secure experienced entrepreneurs to help launch and grow their businesses in New York City. These entrepreneurs will be committed to growing companies, cultivating new talent and creating good and accessible jobs in the five boroughs.

9. Provide $3.8 million to expand training programs for entrepreneurs. The de Blasio Administration will provide funding to expand and improve on two successful programs, serving up to 500 companies over the course of the program. NYCEDC will expand its Bio and Health Tech Entrepreneurship Lab (ELabNYC) with new curriculum in areas such as corporate commercialization and project management. It will expand the SBIR Impact program, which helps life sciences firms compete for funding through the National Institute of Health’s Small Business Innovation Research program.

10. Launch the Mayor’s Life Sciences Advisory Council. The Life Sciences Advisory Council, with experts from academia, industry, philanthropy and finance, will advise the City of New York on its life science programs and catalyze strategic partnerships with the larger industry. The council will work with the administration to promote New York as a global center for life sciences. The council will be co-chaired by Doctors Harold Varmus and Vicki Sato.

Learn more at LifeSci.NYC.

New York City Economic Development Corporation creates shared prosperity across New York City’s five boroughs by strengthening neighborhoods and creating good jobs. NYCEDC works with and for communities to provide them with the resources they need to thrive, and we invest in projects that increase sustainability, support job growth, develop talent, and spark innovation to strengthen the City’s competitive advantage. To learn more about our work and initiatives, please visit us on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram.