New York state will offer new and existing life science companies and their angel investors up to $550 million in tax credits, capital grants and investment capital in an effort to spur the growth of a life science research cluster in the state, whose epicenter could be Westchester County, where the state’s largest biotech company is headquartered, and the mid-Hudson Valley region.
Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo on Monday announced the initiative, which also will include $100 million in matching capital for early stage companies from private-sector investors partnering with the state. Cuomo’s office said he will announce those public-private partnerships during his 2017 State of the State address next month.
The life sciences sector, as state officials noted, spans the fields of biotechnology, pharmaceuticals, and biomedical and life systems technologies and includes organizations and institutions largely focused on various stages of research, development, technology transfer and commercialization.
Under Cuomo’s proposed program, the state will provide a total of $250 million in state income tax breaks to companies expanding research and development.
Existing businesses creating new jobs would be eligible for an annual allocation of $10 million in Excelsior tax credits.
New life science businesses could receive a 15 percent refundable tax credit on all new qualifying research and development expenditures. Small businesses in the life sciences industry could be eligible for a 20 percent credit.
Angel investors would receive a tax credit equaling 25 percent of their investment, with a maximum credit of $250,000 per investor.
Addressing the real estate needs and lack of affordable, state-of-the-art lab space that has hindered New York’s effort to grow its life sciences industry, Cuomo’s plan also would provide $200 million over 10 years in capital support for life science companies.
And the state will make available tax-free more than 3.2 million square feet of innovation space and 1,100 acres of developable land at 45 colleges and universities across the state under Cuomo’s budget proposal.
In the seven-county mid-Hudson Valley region, a total of 70,270 square feet of space will be offered at seven private and public colleges, although no land acreage is targeted for development here. The largest available spaces are at the financially distressed College of New Rochelle, where 20,334 square feet is available, and Sullivan Community College in Loch Sheldrake, where 18,496 square feet of space will be offered.
For early stage life science businesses, the state would pledge an additional $100 million in investment capital, to be matched by private-sector investors.
Cuomo also announced plans to establish life sciences internship, researcher recruitment and entrepreneurial mentoring programs designed to attract top researchers to work with the state’s academic centers and medical schools and help new firms succeed and grow in New York.
The state initiative will be guided by a life sciences advisory board, drawn from leaders in life science disciplines in both industry and academia, whose members will be announced in Cuomo’s State of the State address.
Applauding the governor’s $650 million initiative, The Business Council of Westchester President and CEO Marsha Gordon in an announcement to members credited Dr. Leonard Schleifer, founding president and CEO of Regeneron Pharmaceuticals Inc., with “helping to drive this bold and innovative initiative.” Schleifer also serves under Cuomo as co-chair of the state’s Mid-Hudson Regional Economic Development Council, and Gordon is a regional council member.
At Regeneron on the Landmark at Eastview life sciences campus near Tarrytown, Schleifer leads the state’s largest and fast-expanding biotech employer. Westchester also is home to BioInc@NYMC, a biotechnology business incubator on the New York Medical College campus in Valhalla. And the Hudson Valley Economic Development Corp. in New Windsor for several years has led NY BioHud Valley, a marketing initiative and public and private partnership to develop a biotech industry cluster in the region.