NYCEDC Helps Launch Harlem Biospace Incubator

The New York City Economic Development Corporation (NYCEDC) has teamed up with a Columbia biomedical engineering professor and a financial services industry veteran to launch Harlem Biospace, an affordable biotech incubator for early-stage life sciences companies.

Harlem Biospace

Harlem Biospace (photo – nycedc.com)

The 2,300-square-foot space in Harlem will be built to house up to 24 companies, each with its own work desk, along with a wet-lab bench shared with one other tenant.

All tenants will have access to laboratory resources such as incubators, a centrifuge, freezers, cell-culture hood, utilities, Wi-Fi, printing, etc. at no additional cost.

NYCDEC is helping out with $626,000 in funding for equipment, site improvements and other work required before the incubator can open its doors on Nov 1, 2013.

Tenant agreements will be for six months, with further six month extensions offered until the company “graduates” from the incubator in about three years and is big enough to move into its own space in the City.

Harlem Biospace, which is planning to charge $995 per month, will be attractive to researchers who want to start their company in Manhattan but do not have the resources to pay for expensive office space and labs at locations in the city which already have large life sciences companies.

Because of the high entry barrier, NYC has been losing new ventures conceptualized in the City’s academic institutions to nearby states with strong life sciences sectors such as New Jersey and Massachusetts.

The ground floor location at 423 West 127th Street is close to Columbia University and their new Manhattanville campus, and also easily accessible from City College.

Apart from the ideal location and low monthly rental, another advantage is that startups in Harlem Biospace will not be required to provide any equity to the incubator.

The founder of this project is Samuel Sia, Ph.D., who will be handling the operational aspects along with Christine Kovich.

Sam Sia is a professor in the biomedical engineering dept at Columbia University. He has an illustrious record as an innovator and scientist, and also founded Claros Diagnostics which was acquired Opko Health a couple of years ago.

Christine Kovich has worked for 14 years in the financial services sector, including her most recent stint forming partnerships with startups that have been busy disrupting the financial services industry.

The idea for NYCEDC to get involved in something like this goes back to the Eds & Meds NYC 2020 initiative, a strategic review of the City’s healthcare and life sciences sectors. Harlem Biospace is one of the many life sciences initiatives supported by New York based on feedback obtained in that review.

Read more about Harlem Biospace and their application process at harlembiospace.com.

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