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New York Biotech: Bringing Back the Expats

New York Biotech: Bringing Back the Expats

Attendee, will you accept this rose? Or just the program?

Photo by Kevin Kane Photography

New York Biotech: Bringing Back the Expats

New York Biotech: Bringing Back the Expats

Here’s Ovid Therapeutics CEO Jeremy Levin (middle) mixing it up with some attendees before the show.

Photo by Kevin Kane Photography

New York Biotech: Bringing Back the Expats

New York Biotech: Bringing Back the Expats

And Flagship Pioneering executive partner David Epstein.

Photo by Kevin Kane Photography

New York Biotech: Bringing Back the Expats

New York Biotech: Bringing Back the Expats

Attendees file in, network, and make new connections.

Photo by Kevin Kane Photography

New York Biotech: Bringing Back the Expats

New York Biotech: Bringing Back the Expats

All smiles before the show.

Photo by Kevin Kane Photography

New York Biotech: Bringing Back the Expats

New York Biotech: Bringing Back the Expats

The evening’s Blazer-award winner.

Photo by Kevin Kane Photography

New York Biotech: Bringing Back the Expats

New York Biotech: Bringing Back the Expats

Alright let’s get the show started.

Photo by Kevin Kane Photography

New York Biotech: Bringing Back the Expats

New York Biotech: Bringing Back the Expats

Early on, the panelists went through their New York ties. Decibel Therapeutics CEO Steve Holtzman, for instance, grew up in Bay Ridge, Brooklyn. Both he and his father used to drive cabs in New York City. “I probably know where you live if you give me the address,” he said.

Photo by Kevin Kane Photography

New York Biotech: Bringing Back the Expats

New York Biotech: Bringing Back the Expats

Levin hammered home a key point throughout the program. New York won’t succeed if it tries to recreate what Boston and San Francisco have become. “Ask what the strengths are here to be different,” he said.

Photo by Kevin Kane Photography

New York Biotech: Bringing Back the Expats

New York Biotech: Bringing Back the Expats

New York is still in its early days of biotech startup creation. Jenna Foger noted that Alexandria, through the Alexandria Center and its Manhattan incubator, is trying to shepherd enough companies forward so New York hits “critical mass.” ”We’re trying to nucleate it here,” she says.

Photo by Kevin Kane Photography

New York Biotech: Bringing Back the Expats

New York Biotech: Bringing Back the Expats

Flagship Pioneering executive partner David Epstein says he hears “more and more people talking about New York as a place to start and invest” than he ever has before. Flagship has formed a stealthy startup through its New York branch, but Epstein wouldn’t dish details.

Photo by Kevin Kane Photography

New York Biotech: Bringing Back the Expats

New York Biotech: Bringing Back the Expats

One thing Levin believes New York can take advantage of: accessing the massive amounts of data within the city’s large medical centers, a treasure trove that will only get bigger amidst the evolution of sophisticated digital tools. If successful, New York “can create a fertile crossroads between drug development, drug discovery, and the digital world,” he said.

Photo by Kevin Kane Photography

New York Biotech: Bringing Back the Expats

New York Biotech: Bringing Back the Expats

If you look in the major biotech clusters, what you see are earlier-generation companies---Genentech and Genzyme, for example---that have spawned new classes of fearless biotech entrepreneurs. What New York needs are more biotech experts who think entrepreneurially, who have faith that when they run off the cliff, they’re “the Roadrunner not Wile E. Coyote,” Holtzman said.

Photo by Kevin Kane Photography

New York Biotech: Bringing Back the Expats

New York Biotech: Bringing Back the Expats

Perhaps many of those future entrepreneurs are working for Regeneron Pharmaceuticals, currently the beacon of New York biotech. But would it actually help the city’s biotech ecosystem if it were acquired? Regeneron is “full of incredibly talented people,” Levin said. “Maybe, just maybe that would lead to a seeding” of new biotech companies.

Photo by Kevin Kane Photography

New York Biotech: Bringing Back the Expats

New York Biotech: Bringing Back the Expats

Another thing for New York to focus on: alternative methods of company creation, Epstein said. Don’t fall into the “illusion that all great ideas come from academia.” Sometimes experienced entrepreneurs or investors can get the ball rolling instead.

Photo by Kevin Kane Photography

New York Biotech: Bringing Back the Expats

New York Biotech: Bringing Back the Expats

Alright, who’s hungry?

Photo by Kevin Kane Photography

New York Biotech: Bringing Back the Expats

New York Biotech: Bringing Back the Expats

Let the schmoozing begin.

Photo by Kevin Kane Photography

New York Biotech: Bringing Back the Expats

New York Biotech: Bringing Back the Expats

Plenty of guests stuck around for food, drinks, and laughs.

Photo by Kevin Kane Photography

New York Biotech: Bringing Back the Expats

New York Biotech: Bringing Back the Expats

And to talk New York biotech.

Photo by Kevin Kane Photography

New York Biotech: Bringing Back the Expats

New York Biotech: Bringing Back the Expats

And swap business cards.

Photo by Kevin Kane Photography

New York Biotech: Bringing Back the Expats

New York Biotech: Bringing Back the Expats

Our speakers stuck around to chat up attendees as well.

Photo by Kevin Kane Photography

New York Biotech: Bringing Back the Expats

New York Biotech: Bringing Back the Expats

Thanks to everyone for a great event, we’ll see you again next time!

Photo by Kevin Kane Photography

Xconomy New York — 

Be your own biotech cluster, not a Boston redux. Accelerate the momentum that’s already begun, don’t let it fizzle. And above all, be fearless entrepreneurs. You’ll need to be if New York biotech will ever become what its champions hope.

Those were just a few lessons ex-New Yorker biopharma veterans had for the nascent life sciences scene in the Big Apple last week at Xconomy’s “Bringing Back the Expats.” Today we’re circling back with a few tidbits from the festivities through a slideshow and a few takeaways, but first some thank-you’s to everyone who made the event possible.

Thanks first to our speakers: Decibel Therapeutics CEO Steve Holtzman, Flagship Pioneering executive partner David Epstein, Ovid Therapeutics chairman and CEO Jeremy Levin, and Alexandria Venture Investments senior VP of science & technology Jenna Foger. Thanks also to our event host, Alexandria Real Estate Equities, our sponsors Fish & Richardson, Eastman Cooke Construction, and PRA Health Sciences, and to Kevin Kane Photography for the pictures.

And big thanks as well to our attendees.

With that, hope you enjoy the photos and see you again soon, New York.