MedTech President Discusses Why Biomedical Industry is Growing in Albany

Friday, November 4, 2016

Source: Albany Business Review

Jessica Crawford, president of nonprofit trade group MedTech, said the biomedical industry in New York is on the cusp of more growth.

In the Albany area, Crawford said industry areas including medical device production, research testing and the academic community are seeing growth. She named health care providers like Albany Medical Center, who plays a large role in the clinical community, and AngioDynamics and Regeneron Pharmaceuticals, which are bringing health care-related jobs to the area, as examples.

"It’s certainly a growing industry here, and it’s probably one of the strongest industries in the Capital Region and across the state," Crawford said.

Crawford said MedTech is working to connect these organizations, from universities to manufacturers to startups. MedTech is a statewide trade group based in Syracuse that focuses on expanding New York’s biomedical industry. It provides various networking, education and advocacy initiatives for its more than 100 members.

One of its initiatives, Crawford said, is to gain more support for the biomedical industry from state officials. She said while New York has programs to assist some industries, there aren't any for the biomedical industry.

With more economic support, including venture capital, investments and tax incentives, she said New York could retain more companies. Crawford said it is important for the state to recognize biomedical as an important industry because it creates jobs and high wages.

"To me, success is not just nurturing these companies and helping them get started, but keeping them here," Crawford said.

The Massachusetts Life Sciences Center is a good example of this, she said, because it provides support for innovation, research, development and commercialization. Crawford said she would like to see something like it in New York.

Part of retaining companies is supplying a workforce, which could come from various universities across New York state, including University at Albany.

UAlbany is trying to help fill jobs in the industry by creating related majors and refocusing one of its campuses on the health sciences. The Health Sciences campus aims to bring education, government agencies and private-sector businesses together to train future health care practitioners.

"We have that academic community with all that talent coming out of our academic institutions," Crawford said. "How do we keep them from leaving the state? They want jobs. I think we have the landscape and that pipeline to draw from to address that workforce issue."

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