New York’s Next Big Industry: Commercial Life Sciences

What We’re Doing

Over the past decade the Partnership Fund has committed over $50 million to support the growth of commercial life sciences in New York. We have backed individual companies such as Intra-Cellular Therapies and Petra Pharma. Our BioAccelerate NYC Prize provided some of the first proof-of-concept funding in the city to accelerate the commercialization of academic research. This prize catalyzed New York academic medical centers to raise over $70 million of proof-of-concept funding for their researchers.

In 2019, the Partnership Fund partnered with New York state to incentivize venture fund SOSV to open their life science accelerator program, IndieBio, in New York City. New York state has provided funding to help launch IndieBio NY, and the Partnership Fund is making follow on investments in the New York-based graduates.

IndieBio NY launched its first cohort in May 2020. The program will host two cohorts annually.

Learn more about IndieBio in New York.

Why New York City?

New York City boasts one of the world’s largest concentrations of bio-medical research institutions, world-class universities, disease-focused foundations, healthcare service providers and proximity to major pharmaceutical operations. It has consistently ranked second in the amount of NIH support received by geographic cluster, after Boston/Cambridge Metro.

In a 2016 report, the Partnership’s research team identified the life sciences sector as a key growth industry in New York. That same year, the state and city committed $1.2 billion to life sciences. Recent highs in private and public sector funding show that efforts to grow life sciences in New York are taking root and New York is narrowing the gap with competitor markets, as detailed in a report issued April 2021.

Download our April 2021 report on life sciences

Download our June 2016 report on life sciences

NIH Support to Institutions by Geographic Cluster, Federal FY 2020

What’s Happening

The pace of life sciences activity is accelerating as investments in R&D, lab space and incubators for early-stage life science companies are starting to bear fruit.

Download Timeline of Life Sciences Development in New York City

Job Growth

Growth in the life sciences sector has created good paying jobs in New York City, where jobs increased at a 3.6% annual rate between 2016 and 2020—while citywide employment declined slightly over the same period. The average annual earnings for a life sciences employee in the city also increased 67% from $85,000 in 2010 to $142,000 in 2020. Today, the industry accounts for 81,000 jobs statewide.

New York City Life Sciences Employment

Ratio of Private to Public Investment

With new highs in NIH and VC funding, New York received 73 cents of VC funding for every dollar of NIH funding received in FY 2020, up substantially from 13 cents in 2016 and 6 cents in 2013. While New York still trails Massachusetts and California, which received about twice as much VC investment as NIH dollars in 2020, New York is edging closer to competing markets in Massachusetts and California as private investors identify the state as an increasingly attractive hub for emerging life sciences companies.