New York Genome Center finds new digs

A key piece of the future biotech puzzle in New York City has found a new home. The New York Genome Center, a new DNA sequencing and bioinformatics group, has landed a lease on 170,000 square feet of real estate in Manhattan's Hudson Square. And the $47 million project to build out the site to suit the center's needs is due to wrap up by the middle of 2013, the center announced today. (A real estate trade revealed the lease last week.)

New York has been home to Big Pharma acts such as Pfizer ($PFE) and Bristol-Myers Squibb ($BMY), as well as major academic research hubs, but the New York Genome Center is the first genomics research outfit of its kind in the city. The center, which has raised $110 million and formed in 2010, has been gathering DNA sequencing, bioinformatics and computing capabilities, aims to become one of the biggest genomics centers in the country.

Scale matters in the genomics game. At the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard, the large DNA sequencing capacity and computing infrastructure has contributed to many genomic discoveries and helped make the Boston area one of the premier biotech hubs in the world. Brains matter, too, of course. Like its Boston counterpart, the New York Genome Center operates through a bevy of collaborations with universities and biomedical research heavyweights in the Empire State. The master plan calls for the center to be a wellspring of new ideas and innovation in biotech.

"Thanks to our world-class universities, medical research centers, and pharmaceutical companies, New York is already a global leader in the commercial life sciences," said Mayor Michael Bloomberg, said in a statement. "The New York Genome Center will make us even more of a world leader in the life sciences, in much the same way that the applied sciences campuses we're developing on Roosevelt Island and in downtown Brooklyn will further solidify New York's leadership in the tech sector."

The genome center kicked off sequencing, bioinformatics and other services in February, operating pilot labs at The Rockefeller University. It also keeps an offsite data center in downtown to support its IT infrastructure. Yet the new Harbor Square digs promise to expand the activities of the center, which expects to grow to more than 500 staffers over the next 5 years.

- here's the release