News Press

Governor Cuomo Announces Leading Life Science Accelerator IndieBio To Open in New York City

July 19, 2018


Katy Feinberg, Rubenstein

Accelerator Will Fuel Growth by Boosting State’s Ability to Capture and Retain NY-Bred Life Science Innovation

Download the New York Life Sciences Initiative Update

Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced that IndieBio, the world’s leading bio-accelerator, is expected to open in New York City in 2019. IndieBio will provide life science start-ups with the tools, resources, network and expertise needed to commercialize their discoveries. IndieBio, a highly experienced and well-regarded accelerator run by SOSV, one of the world’s most active venture capital firms, was chosen by Empire State Development following a competitive Request for Proposals to serve the needs of early-stage life science companies and boost New York’s ability to capture and retain New York-bred life science innovation.

“New York is proud to be on the forefront of science and technology, creating jobs, driving economic growth and spurring cutting edge research and development,” Governor Cuomo said. “By welcoming IndieBio to New York, we are taking a major step forward to ensure that this state remains a global leader for the rapidly growing life science industry.”

New York is committed to catalyzing the growth of a world-class life sciences hub in the Empire State that harnesses and commercializes New York’s vast academic resources and research into new economic growth and good-paying jobs across skill and experience levels.  New York State will invest up to $25 million over five years through the Life Sciences Initiative to support IndieBio’s work connecting science entrepreneurs with the tools and resources needed to move their discoveries out of the lab and into the marketplace. By equipping early-stage entrepreneurs with top-tier educational curriculum and entrepreneurial training, access to a global network of mentors, laboratory space, and help in securing funding sources, the Bio-Accelerator will create an environment to encourage retention and growth of start-ups and talent.

IndieBio Brings a Proven Track Record

IndieBio has accelerated more than 90 companies in its home base of San Francisco and built a network of more than 100 expert mentors. Since its founding approximately three years ago, companies accelerated in its programs have raised more than $100M in VC funding and created more than 400 jobs. New York will benefit from the vast experience of IndieBio in accelerating life science start-up companies, attracting funding and encouraging regional economic development

IndieBio will work with at least 20 early-stage, growth-driven companies each year to de-risk their core technology and build a viable business model. Each company in the program will receive an investment of up to $2M from SOSV, the VC firm that runs IndieBio.  SOSV plans to invest over $70 million into the companies coming through IndieBio in New York City, presenting an unprecedented opportunity for early stage startups in life sciences in New York. The Partnership Fund for New York City has also committed to invest $10,000,000 cumulatively to incentivize companies participating in the Program to locate in New York State upon graduating.

Benefits for the State

IndieBio will enable New York to more effectively compete with states that are actively poaching top life science research talent from New York. By providing New York’s research talent with entrepreneurial skills, an enhanced understanding of what it takes to develop a commercially viable product, and access to key resources, IndieBio will invigorate economic growth. New York State is a life science research powerhouse, boasting seven of the top 50 biomedical research institutions in the nation, as well as a leader in NIH funding, with $2.3B in NIH grants in 2017. This robust research pipeline has the potential to be converted into commercially viable technologies to positively affect human health.

IndieBio will:

  • Facilitate the conversion of intellectual property and research output into viable commercial research candidates;
  • Create new companies through the growth of entrepreneurial talent and access to funding; and
  • Attract companies from across the globe to plant roots in New York State.

“There is a huge amount of talent that is untapped potential in New York,” said Arvind Gupta, SOSV Partner and IndieBio Managing Director. “Really the challenge will be galvanizing that ecosystem and having it believe there is a new way of starting bio-tech companies that can be lower cost, faster to market.”

“Our goal is to help move cutting-edge life sciences research out of the lab and into the marketplace, where potentially life-saving breakthroughs can create jobs, spur investment, and advance human health,” said ESD President, CEO, and Commissioner Howard Zemsky. “IndieBio will support these efforts by giving new life sciences start-ups the tools and resources they need to turn their discoveries into commercially-viable treatments and therapies that address real medical needs – while generating jobs and growing our economy.”

Partnership for New York City President and CEO Kathryn Wylde said, “Governor Cuomo’s commitment to building a world class life science industry cluster in New York, announced only 18 months ago, was the catalyst for a groundswell of activity on the part of our major medical research institutions, investors, developers and scientists. We are tracking to surpass Boston and Silicon Valley as the U.S. global hub of one of the world’s fastest growing industries.”

New York State’s $620 Million Life Science Initiative

In the FY 2018 budget, New York State enacted a $620 million initiative to spur the growth of a world-class life science research cluster in New York, as well as expand the state’s ability to commercialize this research and grow the economy.

This multi-faceted initiative includes $100 million to expand the Excelsior Jobs Program Tax Credit to the life sciences industry, $100 million for a life sciences research and development refundable tax credit program, and $320 million in other forms of investment. This includes state capital grants to support the development of wet-lab and innovation space, operating support and investment capital for early stage life science companies that leverages an additional match of at least $100 million from the private sector.

The Life Science sector encompasses the fields of biotechnology, pharmaceuticals, biomedical technologies, life systems technologies, and includes organizations and institutions that devote the majority of their efforts to the various stages of research, development, technology transfer and commercialization. Every day, firms in this sector are developing new medical and pharmaceutical breakthroughs that have the potential to save lives, whether through new therapies or the early detection of diseases like autism and cancer. These firms are also making significant advancements in the realms of agriculture and environmental biotechnologies, helping create a cleaner and more sustainable future.

By strengthening incentives, investing in the facilities, and improving access to talent and expertise, New York will significantly increase its share of industry-funded research and development, support the commercialization of existing academic research, and usher in the next generation of advanced technologies. Beyond the advancements in science, this initiative will position New York as a magnet for emerging manufacturing- based enterprises, bolstering regional economies and creating thousands of jobs.