New York City is well-positioned for success as a life sciences hub, providing world-renowned research, talent, and resources. In 2014, NYC life sciences industry employed 14,180 people by 1,006 employers and produced 1,713 patents (here). According to New York City Economic Development Corporation (NYCEDC), salaries for jobs in life sciences averaged $77,000 in 2013.
New York City boasts the highest concentration of biotech academic institutions in the US, with academic medical centres and schools including Weill Cornell Medical College, Columbia University Medical Centre, Rochester School of Medicine, NYU School of Medicine, Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, Albert Einstein College of Medicine, Stony Brook School of Medicine, Buffalo School of Medicine, SUNY Downstate Medical Centre, Albany School of Medicine, SUNY Upstate School of Medicine, New York Medical College, and Touro College of Osteopathic Medicine. These institutions have over 6,600 graduate students and post-doctorates each year.
New York City’s largest academic medical centre is Columbia University (1,500 students). Columbia University Medical Centre (CUMC) provides global leadership in scientific research, health and medical education, and patient care. The Centre accounted for roughly half of Columbia University’s nearly $3 billion annual budget. CUMC has 24 Nobel laureates. Current CUMC faculty members include 12 Howard Hughes Medical Institute investigators, 5 Lasker Foundation Award Winners, 19 elected to the National Academy of Sciences and 62 to the National Academy of Medicine.
The New York Stem Cell Research Foundation has invested over $150 million in stem cell research and continues to conduct the most advanced stem cell research internationally, both in its own laboratory in New York City, and also in collaboration with major medical research and leading academic institutions around the world.
NYC ranks second nationally in NIH investment across major US cities, behind Boston-Cambridge’s lead. In 2014, NYC received more than $1.5 billion National Institutes of Health (NIH) funding.
New York City ranks number one in philanthropic donations made to academic and medical centres accumulated from 2011 to 2015, with over $2.68 million. Boston comes second with over $2.18 million accumulated over the same period (here).
NYC is strong in neurosciences and oncology. The city also has a significant presence in research into many other disease areas: inflammation, metabolic, cardiovascular, infectious, and orphan diseases.
Bristol-Myers Squibb, headquartered in NYC, manufactures prescription pharmaceuticals in several therapeutic areas, including cancer, HIV/AIDS, cardiovascular disease, diabetes, hepatitis, rheumatoid arthritis and psychiatric disorders. ImClone Systems (acquired by Eli Lilly)’ research headquarter is in NYC. Pfizer, one of the world's largest pharmaceutical companies, is headquartered in NYC. Forest Laboratories, a fast-growing pharmaceutical company, is also headquartered in NYC.
Ovid Therapeutics, a privately held firm focusing on rare and orphan diseases of the brain, is ranked among Top 20 Life Science Startups to Watch in the US by BioSpace in 2016 (here). In April 2015, Ovid signed a worldwide licensing deal with H. Lundbeck A/S for gaboxadol, which is being studied for Angelman Syndrome and Fragile X syndrome. In August 2015, Ovid completed a Series B financing round totaling $75 million, led by Fidelity Management and Research Co.
Venture capital is a hurdle for NYC cluster’s growth. In 2013, NYC biotech venture capital totalled $135 million, lagging San Francisco ($1.15 billion) and Boston/ Cambridge ($934 million) (here). Supported by a public-private partnership launched in 2013, NYC’s Early-Stage Life Sciences Funding Initiative aims to fund biotech start-up growth and create 2,000 jobs. Established by NYCEDC with at least $50 million in matching funds from top-tier venture capital partners including Celgene Corporation, GE Ventures, and Eli Lilly & Company, the funding partnership will deploy a minimum of $150 million and seeks to launch 15 to 20 breakthrough ventures by 2020. The initiative was designed to support the development of new technologies and products for patients and researchers, including therapeutics, medical devices, diagnostics, research and development instrumentation, and digital life sciences technologies. The initiative will add 450,000 square feet of commercial bioscience research and lab space (here).
NYCEDC also plays an active role in nurturing biotech talents. ELabNYC is a prestigious six-month training and coaching program for aspiring entrepreneurs in NYC’s life sciences and healthcare technology community.
The lack of commercial lab space remains NYC biotech cluster’s biggest challenge. Recent city-funded projects, such as Alexandria Centre, BioBAT and Harlem BioSpace, have added much needed wet-lab space. However, according to NYCEDC, NYC’s lab space (1 million square feet) remains considerably behind San Francisco (29.7 million square feet) and Boston (18.7 million square feet).