For the biotech industry, New York has always been the place to go to get money, make a presentation and eat out at a great restaurant. But base your biotech company in the city, or even the state? Fuhgeddaboutit. Too expensive. Too far from a major cluster. And no ready access to subsidized incubator space.
But New York state (and city) have been trying to change all that.
Inspired by the Bush administration's restrictive policies on ESC work, lawmakers passed a $600 million initiative back in 2007. The money has been flowing to top institutions like the Albert Einstein College of Medicine, Columbia University, Cornell and Mt. Sinai School of Medicine.
New York recently funneled $118.3 million to researchers involved in embryonic stem cell work in the state. And an initiative underway now would open up half of the money for stem cell research to private companies.
The Qualified Emerging Technology Company capital tax credit was designed to help fledgling biotech companies with an infusion of more than a million dollars over several years. And the city is looking to duplicate the program while the state moves closer to doubling the cap to $2.5 million.
To help keep the city's young scientific talent at home in New York, city government started to create subsidized space for small and mid-sized biotechs at the Brooklyn Army Terminal and the East River Science Park, scheduled to be opened soon.
To get into the big time, New York has to compete with clusters like Boston, San Francisco and San Diego, which are all astronomically expensive to do business in. So maybe it's not too far a stretch to suggest that New York has been leveling the playing field to a point where start-ups could make a good case for setting up shop in a city that never sleeps.
New York has scientific talent to spare. With the right kind of support, it can also create a surge of new biotech businesses to commercialize the scientists' discoveries.