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New York Biotech: The Future Is Now

New York Biotech: The Future Is Now

As a sellout crowd settled in, Jenna Foger, senior principal of science & technology at Alexandria Venture Investments, gave an overview of some of the progress made in New York in 2017.

Photo by Kevin Kane Photography

New York Biotech: The Future Is Now

New York Biotech: The Future Is Now

Vicki Sato challenged New York biotech to stop being an "initiative," and become a "player" in 2018.

Photo by Kevin Kane Photography

New York Biotech: The Future Is Now

New York Biotech: The Future Is Now

The event was largely a back-and-forth between attendees and panelists about solving some of the current problems facing New York biotech.

Photo by Kevin Kane Photography

New York Biotech: The Future Is Now

New York Biotech: The Future Is Now

Erik Lium spoke of the importance not just of new, noteworthy startup companies to emerge in New York, but of bringing together a network of experienced biotech entrepreneurs who can lead them.

Photo by Kevin Kane Photography

New York Biotech: The Future Is Now

New York Biotech: The Future Is Now

Sato getting some thoughts from Celgene business development executive Whitney Snider (center).

Photo by Kevin Kane Photography

New York Biotech: The Future Is Now

New York Biotech: The Future Is Now

The business card exchange in action.

Photo by Kevin Kane Photography

New York Biotech: The Future Is Now

New York Biotech: The Future Is Now

Among those participating in the discussion was Nicole McKnight, the managing director of one of the city's newest incubators, BioLabs New York.

Photo by Kevin Kane Photography

New York Biotech: The Future Is Now

New York Biotech: The Future Is Now

Barbara Dalton noted that pharma is historically a "follower" and took years to descend on the Cambridge, MA, biotech hub. It will similarly take years of progress for large pharma to take a significant interest in New York, she said.

Photo by Kevin Kane Photography

New York Biotech: The Future Is Now

New York Biotech: The Future Is Now

And the winner of the blazer of the evening award goes to…

Photo by Kevin Kane Photography

New York Biotech: The Future Is Now

New York Biotech: The Future Is Now

Attendees had questions about startup space, academic alliances, recruiting ex-New Yorkers back home, and more.

Photo by Kevin Kane Photography

New York Biotech: The Future Is Now

New York Biotech: The Future Is Now

Eric Soller shared his perspective as an executive at a local, high-profile startup, BlueRock Therapeutics, that could either stay---or leave---New York.

Photo by Kevin Kane Photography

New York Biotech: The Future Is Now

New York Biotech: The Future Is Now

Columbia University tech transfer guru Orin Herskowitz, a vocal participant in the evening’s discussion, having some laughs.

Photo by Kevin Kane Photography

New York Biotech: The Future Is Now

New York Biotech: The Future Is Now

Who's up for some crudite??

Photo by Kevin Kane Photography

New York Biotech: The Future Is Now

New York Biotech: The Future Is Now

Or perhaps you're more of a carnivore.

Photo by Kevin Kane Photography

New York Biotech: The Future Is Now

New York Biotech: The Future Is Now

A little champagne and this attendee started singing.

Photo by Kevin Kane Photography

New York Biotech: The Future is Now

New York Biotech: The Future is Now

Some young entrepreneurs joined the mix, among them Ben Mumford of local tissue engineering startup EpiBone (right).

Photo by Kevin Kane Photography

New York Biotech: The Future Is Now

New York Biotech: The Future Is Now

Accelerator Corp. chief operating officer David Schubert sporting some gear for New York portfolio company Lodo Therapeutics.

Photo by Kevin Kane Photography

New York Biotech: The Future Is Now

New York Biotech: The Future Is Now

Sato posing with a few attendees, among them Flagship Pioneering principal Jason Park (second from left) and IRX Therapeutics president and CEO Mark Leuchtenberger (far right).

Photo by Kevin Kane Photography

New York Biotech: The Future Is Now

New York Biotech: The Future Is Now

At every New York event there’s at least one “fuhgeddaboutit.”

Photo by Kevin Kane Photography

New York Biotech: The Future Is Now

New York Biotech: The Future Is Now

Happy holidays and thanks for coming out! See you all next year.

Photo by Kevin Kane Photography

New York Biotech: The Future is Now

New York Biotech: The Future is Now

And a special thank you to our sponsors and event host.

New York Biotech: The Future is Now

New York Biotech: The Future is Now

Xconomy New York — 

Vicki Sato, a longtime Boston biotech entrepreneur, laid out a challenge for New York life sciences in 2018. “Stop being an initiative,” she said. “Start being a player.”

Sato, addressing the throng of attendees at Xconomy’s “New York Biotech: The Future Is Now” conference last week, has skin in the game. She’s now co-chairing an advisory council, along with Nobel laureate Harold Varmus, that steers a $500 million New York City government-backed plan to spur biotech progress in New York City (LifeSci NYC). The plan dovetails with a $650 million initiative to similarly advance the prospects of New York biotech statewide. It’s all part of a concerted effort to put New York in the same breath as biotech hubs in Boston and San Francisco—but there is still a long road ahead before that is a reality.

Mayor Bill De Blasio and Governor Andrew Cuomo announced their respective plans a day apart in December 2016, but it’s been relatively quiet on the New York biotech front since. The year has just about come and gone with few, if any, high-profile startup funding announcements, begging the question of whether biotech momentum has slowed in the Big Apple, and what can tangibly be done next year to turn it around. The area needs “a number of really noteworthy, breakthrough startup companies,” said Erik Lium, the senior vice president of Mount Sinai Innovation Partners.

Where there has been progress in 2017 is unlocking new lab space for startups—a long-running problem in New York. Taconic Investment Partners and Silverstein Properties, announced plans to put $20 million into the “Hudson Research Center,” a life sciences facility being developed on the West Side. Alexandria Real Estate Equities debuted LaunchLabs with 13 startups in tow, and another biotech incubator, BioLabs New York, officially opened last week with four startups in the fold. A third, JLabs, is expected to open at the New York Genome Center in 2018.

These facilities all represent important steps forward in creating a pipeline of new biotech companies in New York. But they don’t move the needle among Big Pharma: “Prove me wrong and create the likes of a major community,” challenged Barbara Dalton, VP of Venture Capital at Pfizer. And incubators don’t solve the problem of how to keep startups in New York after they grow up. For example, BlueRock Therapeutics, a startup that raised a massive $225 million funding round in December 2016, has a presence in both New York and Toronto, and still hasn’t decided which of those two hubs it will commit to as it progresses, said BlueRock VP of corporate development and strategy Eric Soller.  “If we’re going to be players, keeping players here is really important,” he said.

These topics and more were part of a spirited discussion last week at the Alexandria Center for Life Science on Manhattan’s East Side, led by Sato, Lium, Dalton, and Soller. A big thank you to them, the attendees that packed the house, and to our event host Alexandria Real Estate Equities. Thanks also to our sponsors Fairfax County Economic Development Authority and RSM, and to Kevin Kane Photography for the photos.

We’re sharing some of those photos in a slideshow today to give you a taste of the festivities. Hope you enjoy them—happy holidays and see you next year, New York.

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