New York’s biotech startup scene gets new digs, seed dollars

New York’s biotech community is getting a new launch pad for upstart drug developers. Alexandria Real Estate Equities is carving 15,000 square feet out of its big research campus on the East Side of the city for a new incubator, with plans to seed and feed new companies looking to springboard the technologies coming out of the Big Apple’s marquee academic centers.

Look for Alexandria LaunchLabs to open next summer. In the meantime, the developer’s real estate arm is starting to gather applications for seed funding. Alexandria’s venture group plans to offer from $10 million to $25 million in seed cash to help these new companies get started.

The winners in the tech game will get to join a campus that includes Roche’s ($RHHBY) New York R&D operation, the sizable remnants of its old Nutley campus. And some up-and-coming biotechs like Cellectis have moved in recently, which Cellectis CEO Andre Choulika will cheerfully endorse to anyone who asks.

New York has long been something of a puzzle in the biotech world. Its academic centers like Memorial Sloan-Kettering do some of the most important early stage R&D in the world. But there’s never been a biotech hub for the spinouts, like we’ve seen in Cambridge/Boston, the Bay Area and to some extent the golden triangle in the U.K. and more recently Shanghai. While New York can be dauntingly expensive, the industry seems to thrive in the world's priciest urban centers.

Seeding the startups is one way to get the hub formation underway. But it will take a significant amount of local venture cash to get the big rounds needed to fund clinical studies.

Still, it’s another log for a small but growing fire.

"We recognize the urgent need for affordable, scalable and turnkey startup laboratory/office space in New York City, and we innately understand the complex and diverse support services required to build a life science startup,” says Alexandria CEO Joel Marcus. “Just as our collaborative Alexandria Center campus has driven innovation and value for early, growth-stage and mature biopharmaceutical companies--accelerating the development of treatments and cures for patients--Alexandria LaunchLabs represents another initiative to foster and support life science innovation among seed-stage companies in New York City.”

- here's the release

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