Governor Cuomo Doubles Down On Life Sciences Sector Growth

Real Estate In-Depth | December 2016

The College of New Rochelle campus.

ALBANY—New York Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo announced on Dec. 12 what he terms a groundbreaking new $650-million initiative to spur the growth of a new, world-class life science research cluster in New York, as well as expand the state’s ability to commercialize this research and grow the economy.

The multi-faceted initiative includes $250 million in tax incentives for new and existing life science companies, $200 million in state capital grants to support investment in wet-lab and innovation space, $100 million in investment capital for early stage life science initiatives, with an additional match of at least $100 million for operating support from private sector partnerships.

“New York is uniquely positioned to become a global powerhouse in the life science sector and this groundbreaking initiative is making the investments and establishing the programs necessary for capitalizing on our tremendous potential,” Gov. Cuomo said. “From providing the incentives to attract top talent and drive innovation, to providing the space that emerging life science companies need to grow, we are breaking down barriers and helping the industry gain momentum. Now, the Empire State is well-positioned to be the home of future discoveries that will move our economy forward and save lives across the world.”

The Life Science sector encompasses the fields of biotechnology, pharmaceuticals, biomedical technologies, life systems technologies, and includes organizations and institutions that devote the majority of their efforts to the various stages of research, development, technology transfer and commercialization. Every day, firms in this sector are developing new medical and pharmaceutical breakthroughs that have the potential to save lives, whether through new therapies or the early detection of diseases like autism and cancer. These firms are also making significant advancements in the realms of agriculture and environmental biotechnologies, helping create a cleaner and more sustainable future.

By strengthening incentives, investing in the facilities, and improving access to talent and expertise, New York will significantly increase its share of industry-funded research and development, support the commercialization of existing academic research, and usher in the next generation of advanced technologies. Beyond the advancements in science, this initiative will position New York to be a magnet for emerging manufacturing based enterprises, bolstering regional economies and creating thousands of jobs.

Specifically, the Governor’s life science initiative includes:

  • Providing $250 million in tax incentives for new and existing life sciences companies that are expanding research and development.

Under the governor’s program: existing life science businesses would be eligible for an annual allocation of $10 million in Excelsior tax credits; new life science businesses would receive a 15% refundable tax credit on all new qualifying research and development expenditures. Small businesses in the life sciences industry could be eligible for a 20% credit. Angel investors would receive a credit of 25% of their investment, with a maximum of $250,000 per investor.

  • Providing $200 million in state capital grants and offering more than 3.2 million square feet of space and 1,100 acres of developable land tax free to accelerate life science innovation.

The Governor’s initiative invests $200 million, over 10 years, to support the capital needs of life science entities, positioning New York’s wet labs and innovation space to be the place where future technologies are born.

Additionally, the lack of affordable and appropriate lab space has been cited as a barrier to New York reaching its potential in the life sciences. To remedy this, the state will also make more than 3.2 million square feet of innovation space and 1,100 acres of developable land available tax free at 45 colleges and universities statewide. The availability of grants, land and space creates an unprecedented opportunity to expand access to wet labs, infrastructure and other equipment essential for life sciences research, innovation and development.

Unfortunately, according to figures supplied by the governor’s office, the Mid-Hudson region has no available land and only a little more than 70,000 square feet of space available at area institutions— College of New Rochelle (20,334); Mount Saint Mary College (9,554); New York Medical College (11,800); Orange County Community College (5,000); SUNY Purchase (97); Rockland Community College (4,989) and Sullivan County Community College (18,496).

Meanwhile, there is 599,171 square feet available in New York City along with 2.75 acres of land and on Long Island there is 265,558 square feet of eligible space available and more than 340 acres available. There is no available eligible land in the Mid Hudson, according to state figures.

  • Providing $100 million in investment capital for early stage life sciences initiatives, matched by at least $100 million from the private sector.

As part of New York’s commitment to the growth of this sector, the state is pledging $100 million for additional investment capital for early stage life science firms. In addition, private sector partnerships are also pledging matching funds for investment and operational support, bringing the total commitment to $200 million.

Part of the investment will include a new life science launch competition, modeled on the highly successful 43North innovation competition, which will further support the growth of this sector. New York State will host a quarterly, 13-week regional life science launch competition in which firms in the midst of conducting groundbreaking research and developing emerging technologies would compete for $25,000 grant funding. All the quarterly winners will then compete for one of five $100,000 top business launch prizes at a statewide annual Life Sciences Summit, which will gather top researchers, commercial firms venture funders and policymakers together to strategize next steps for continued aggressive growth of the life science sector.

  • Developing research and entrepreneurial talent necessary for launching and growing life science businesses.

Gov. Cuomo is establishing programs and partnerships that will attract top-flight researchers to work with our academic centers and medical schools on the latest life science innovations. These include: a Life Sciences Internship Program that will leverage New York’s network of public/private academic centers to facilitate the placement of students–or recent graduates–enrolled in a life science field of study at a college or university located in New York into paid internships with a partnering life science company. He also intends to launch a life sciences researcher recruitment program and Entrepreneurial Advisory Panels in Life Sciences that will match entrepreneurs and innovators with a panel of mentors that will help guide them in their business decisions.

The state will also partner with the Empire Clinical Research Investigator Program administered by the New York State Department of Health, that provides more than $8.5 million annually to teaching hospitals that train physicians as clinical researchers in order to advance life sciences research in New York to attract and retain the best life sciences researchers.

The governor’s multi-pronged approach will be guided by a new Life Sciences Advisory Board, comprised of leaders in multiple life science disciplines, both from industry and academia. The membership of the board will be announced with the Governor’s 2017 State of the State address.