Old rivals, new fight: New York, Massachusetts bio sectors poised for battle

Saturday, March 4, 2017

Source: Times Union

In Boston's booming biology sector, there's a growing sense of threat. It's not quite foreboding, but eyes are certainly being kept out; shoulders looked over.

In the last decade, Massachusetts has built itself into the world's greatest bio powerhouse, leveraging a 10-year, $1 billion investment under former Gov. Deval Patrick with the limitless stream of brain power emanating from the state's world-class universities.

But with that initiative set to end next year, officials in New York believe they have a unique opportunity to siphon talent and investments from a competitor in everything from finance to football. It's a new battle between old rivals, and though New York is punching up a weight class, it does so with billions of dollars and a string of small victories that have renewed excitement in the statewide sector.

Within hours of one another last December, Gov. Andrew Cuomo and New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio announced more than $1 billion in funding for the state that is "uniquely positioned to become a global powerhouse in the life sciences sector," the governor said at the time. Cuomo had previously focused much of his upstate economic development efforts on nanotechnology and semiconductor research, including hundreds of millions of dollars invested at Capital Region institutions.

The change was immediately praised by trade groups in the Empire State bio sector.

The new funding initiative "is comprehensive and achievable," said Jessica Crawford, president of MedTech. "It raises the bar for New York as a leader in the life sciences industry and will accelerate the growth of the life sciences industry."

To a certain extent, Boston's early jump on the bio game may have been a boon for Cuomo, allowing the governor to stand on the sidelines and copy the best parts of the New England playbook. That's evident in the makeup of his $650 million proposal, which in many ways mirrors the most effective parts of Patrick's plan. The first $300 million of the proposal, much of which comes from settlements with banks and automakers, includes $200 million for laboratory space and high-tech equipment, and another $100 million for early-stage life science companies that would be matched by private coffers.

Read the full article here.

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