Better Jobs, Higher Wages: Mayor de Blasio to Secure Thousands of Good Jobs for New Yorkers in the Life Sciences Industry

Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Mayor Bill de Blasio today unveiled a $500 million initiative, LifeSci NYC, to spur an estimated 16,000 new, good-paying jobs and establish New York City as a global leader in life sciences research and innovation. New Yorkers hoping to secure a career-track job in a growing industry and struggling with the rising cost of living will have access to 1,000 paid internships, new training programs and job placements in a field with average salaries of $75,000. The City will develop a new “Applied Life Sciences Campus” mirroring successful Cornell-Tech model.

“We have to break the vice grip of stagnant wages and the ever-rising cost of living in this city. That’s why we are giving thousands of New Yorkers a foothold in the 21st century economy through paid internships, training and career-track jobs,” said Mayor Bill de Blasio. “We are creating a springboard into the innovative Life Science economy for our workers, innovators and startup businesses that will make our whole economy stronger.”

“Increasing opportunities for the study of life sciences in New York City benefits all of our communities by providing paths to stable, well-paying careers. LifeSci NYC will positively impact thousands of New Yorkers, and I would like to thank the de Blasio Administration for working hard to make this program a reality,” said Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito. “I am especially proud that the New York Proton Center will be opening in East Harlem, where their services will touch the lives of thousands of cancer patients in need of treatment.”

“We are making strategic investments to diversify and grow our economy. We can lead the nation in Life Sciences and harness the sector’s incredible job growth. We already have the best research institutions in the world, and by investing in lab space, talent and emerging firms, we can vault New York City to the industry’s forefront,” said Deputy Mayor for Housing and Economic Development Alicia Glen.

“The life sciences industry is not only producing new discoveries that improve people’s lives, but it also has the potential to play a major role in the future of our five-borough economy,” said New York City Economic Development Corporation President Maria Torres-Springer. “We’re making these groundbreaking investments to bring 16,000 good middle-class jobs to New Yorkers from all backgrounds. And working with industry leaders, we’re going to help shape the sector’s growth to ensure it remains accessible and inclusive.”

The life sciences and biotechnology industry includes a wide array of disciplines focused on developing cures, treatments and technologies. Its companies work to develop new vaccines and pharmaceuticals, build advanced prosthetic devices, and design software that makes diagnostics more accurate.

With 16 percent growth in jobs since 2009, the life sciences sector is among the fastest growing in the city. It offers a wide range of technical jobs such as microbiologists and lab technicians, as well as non-technical jobs in areas like marketing and administration. Roughly 30 percent of jobs in the industry require only a high-school diploma or Associate’s Degree, while another 50 percent of jobs require only a Bachelor’s Degree.

With more than 100 research foundations and nine academic medical centers, New York City is home to one of the largest concentrations of academic life sciences research in the world. However, challenges such as a shortage of commercial laboratory space have made it hard for New York City to hold on to young companies spinning out of its research institutions.

‘LifeSci NYC’ will generate 9,000 new direct jobs in the sector, 7,000 new jobs in related fields, and 7,400 construction jobs, increase economic output by $2.5 billion a year, attract $6.5 billion in additional private investment, and generate $1 billion in tax revenue. The City will develop a new Applied Life Science Campus along Manhattan’s East Side or in neighboring Long Island City, unlock 2.8 million square feet of private investment in new commercial lab space, provide training programs for workers and facilitate collaboration between the City’s leading medical research institutions, pharmaceuticals, startups, venture capital firms and philanthropies.

The ten-point plan includes a major focus on workforce development programs to connect New Yorkers to jobs, with 1,000 new paid internships at leading life sciences companies. Working with the City University of New York, other schools and teaching hospitals, the initiative will create new curricula focused on skills-building in the life science sector.

To further boost this sector, the Mayor will assemble a new Life Sciences Advisory Council, a world-class team of experts from academia, industry, philanthropy and finance, to advise the City on its life science programs and catalyze strategic partnerships with the larger industry. The council will be co-chaired by Doctors Harold Varmus and Vicki Sato. Dr. Varmus is a Nobel Laureate and former director of both the National Institutes of Health and the National Cancer Institute. He currently serves as a Professor at Weill Cornell Medicine and as a Senior Associate at the New York Genome Center. Dr. Sato is the Professor of Management Practice at Harvard Business School, the Chair of Denali Therapeutics, and a member of the Board of Directors of Bristol Meyers Squibb. She previously served as President of Vertex Pharmaceuticals.

“As a strong proponent of New York City’s contributions to the life sciences, I am pleased to have an opportunity to help expand this critical sector under City Hall’s new initiative,” said Dr. Harold Varmus, co-Chair of the Mayor’s Life Sciences Advisory Council.

“As a relative newcomer to New York City but a long time veteran in the biotechnology and pharma industries, I look forward to working with Dr. Varmus and the Mayor’s team to help create a world class biomedical innovation center in New York,” said Dr. Vicki Sato, co-Chair of the Mayor’s Life Sciences Advisory Council. “The rich history of innovation and biomedical discovery in this city, together with the commitment of its business and civic leaders, can deliver improved healthcare and catalyze economic growth.”

The Ten-Point LifeSci NYC Plan

  1. Invest $100 million to create a new Applied Life Sciences Campus. The de Blasio Administration will provide funding to create a world-class facility along Manhattan’s East Side or in neighboring Long Island City that drives bio-engineering innovations, research and development (R&D) partnerships and entrepreneurial training. The campus will serve as an institutional anchor for the life sciences industry, much as Cornell Tech serves as an anchor for applied sciences and engineering
  2. Provide $50 million to expand network of life sciences R&D facilities. To remain at the forefront of the innovative research that leads to new businesses, the Administration will make targeted investments in New York City’s existing academic medical centers and research institutions. The City will provide capital to a network of up to eight non-profit research facilities, to help create new workspace for research with a high potential for commercialization and job growth.
  3. Invest $10 million to expand network of incubators for life sciences start-up facilities. To provide affordable space for the next generation of life science startups, the City will invest in up to five new incubators and innovation centers, with the first expected to open in late 2017. Incubators will be located near existing research centers to better support innovators and connect skilled workers with jobs.
  4. Commit $20 million a year in matching funds to support early-stage businesses. Young life sciences startups often struggle to secure the capital they need to expand. By committing $20 million in seed and growth funding, and seeking matching funds from private sources, the City will help spur growth of up to 80 companies, helping them expand and create new jobs for New Yorkers.
  5. Invest $7.5 million to create internships and life sciences curricula. The City will launch a new internship program next summer, which will connect students each year with opportunities at life sciences companies and institutions. Organizations that have already agreed to take on interns include global pharmaceutical companies such as Roche and Elli Lilly, research institutions such as the New York Genome Center, and investors such as Deerfield Management. The City will also provide funding to support the development of new curricula for local colleges and universities, based on input from local employers, to prepare the next generation of life sciences talent.
  6. Commit $300 million in tax incentives to attract investment in commercial lab space for life sciences businesses. The high cost of lab construction has resulted in a shortage of space for new life science companies. By offsetting that cost, the City will unlock affordable lab space for growing companies that provide accessible, middle class jobs for New Yorkers.
  7. Modernize land use policies to encourage new space for life sciences firms. To more than double the potential areas for life sciences jobs, the Administration will clarify regulations to make explicit that lab space for life sciences R&D is permitted in the majority of commercial zones. In addition, the administration will leverage upcoming rezonings to include life sciences sites where appropriate.
  8. Provide $7.5 million to create a Life Sciences Management Corps. The City will provide financing to life sciences startups to help them secure experienced entrepreneurs to help launch and grow their businesses in New York City. These entrepreneurs will be committed to growing companies, cultivating new talent and creating good and accessible jobs in the five boroughs.
  9. Provide $3.8 million to expand training programs for entrepreneurs. The de Blasio Administration will provide funding to expand and improve on two successful programs, serving up to 500 companies over the course of the program. NYCEDC will expand its Bio and Health Tech Entrepreneurship Lab (ELabNYC) with new curriculum in areas such as corporate commercialization and project management. It will expand the SBIR Impact program, which helps life sciences firms compete for funding through the National Institute of Health’s Small Business Innovation Research program.
  10. Launch the Mayor’s Life Sciences Advisory Council. The Life Sciences Advisory Council, with experts from academia, industry, philanthropy and finance, will advise the City of New York on its life science programs and catalyze strategic partnerships with the larger industry. The council will work with the administration to promote New York as a global center for life sciences.

Learn more at LifeSci.NYC.

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