NYU to Launch Incubator for Biotech Startups

NEW YORK — NYU Langone Medical Center is launching a large-scale biotech “incubator” in Manhattan, which will begin hosting companies at the end of 2017.

Named “BioLabs@NYULangone” and located at 180 Varick Street, the new center is designed to house up to 35 startup companies seeking to turn laboratory discoveries into profitable businesses in 50,000 square feet of fully equipped lab and office space. NYU Langone’s operations partner for the project is BioLabs, a leader in the management of shared laboratory centers nationwide.

[Photo above: The new BioLabs@NYULangone center will have an open floor plan that fosters collaboration between entrepreneurs and scientists, much like LabCentral, the BioLabs facility in Boston pictured here. Photo courtesy of LabCentral; photographer Paul Avis.]


“The new center builds on the outstanding track record at NYU Langone in launching biomedical technology and drug discovery companies, and in helping them grow, create high-tech jobs, and improve human health,” said Robert Schneider, PhD, associate dean for Biomedical Innovation and Commercialization at NYU Langone.

“We believe the center will become the long-sought foundation of a larger biotech corridor in New York City, in part because we will welcome new companies spinning out of all the region’s academic centers and biotechs,” says BioLabs’ President Johannes Fruehauf, MD, PhD. “Bringing our proven BioLabs model to New York City will capture its entrepreneurial excitement.”

Schneider’s optimism for the project is based in part on NYU Langone’s success in developing more than 50 new companies in the past five years. Furthermore, 20 startup companies have already applied to rent space in the new center.

BioLabs@NYULangone will start strong thanks to $5 million in funding from NYU Langone, $5 million from the New York City Economic Development Corporation (NYCEDC) as part of its LifeSci NYC Initiative, and $2 million from Empire State Development.

“With this grant we are investing in New York’s nascent life science economy, one that benefits New York workers by encouraging collaboration between our great research institutions, innovators and startup businesses,” says New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio. “When it comes to science and technology, we will leverage our competitive edge and spur 100,000 good-paying jobs over the next decade, all to make our city more affordable for all.”

Each new company to open shop at BioLabs@NYULangone will start with a package of tailored laboratory equipment and supplies. BioLabs staff will marshal educational programming and operational support, enabling startups to focus on science and move more quickly into their own spaces, and without investing heavily in equipment and non-research personnel.

BioLabs@NYULangone will address a long-standing challenge, says Schneider. New York academic centers are number two in the country in federal medical research dollars awarded by the National Institutes of Health, and almost half of venture capital investment in new technology companies comes from New York. Despite this level of investment, he says, the region has launched “relatively very few” new biotech companies in recent years.

The new facility will occupy two full floors at 180 Varick Street, including 48 benches in the “open lab,” three large private labs, three medium private labs, nine small private labs, along with 30 offices, conference rooms and state-of-the-art event space.