New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio (D) and the city’s public-private Economic Development Corp. (NYCEDC) are doubling to $1 billion the Big Apple’s planned spending on life sciences programs through 2026, with the goal of helping create 40,000 jobs.

The city’s planned expansion of its LifeSci NYC program comes nearly five years after de Blasio announced plans to spend $500 million on incentives designed to help create 16,000 life sciences jobs.

The city has issued a new Life Sciences Innovation Infrastructure Request for Proposals (RFP) inviting not-for-profit organizations or joint ventures led by not-for-profit organizations to submit proposals for new or expanded facilities.

In the RFP, New York City said it will provide up to $112 million from its capital budget toward awards of up to $20 million to support one or more facility projects. The facilities are envisioned as supporting early-stage companies, academic researchers, as well as incubators and/or accelerators—all with the goal of advancing the commercial research and development of new medicines, medical devices, diagnostics, materials, and research tools.

“The Projects should provide specialized infrastructure and services to support the needs of early-stage life sciences ventures and/or enable academic and industry scientists to co-develop and test commercially viable technologies,” according to the RFP, which can be downloaded here.

“The Project should support commercialization of applied research, rather than basic research that is already taking place, or is likely to take place, at universities,” the RFP cautioned.

The city has set a deadline for responses to the RFP of August 18 at 11:59pm ET.

New York City is at the center of a region that, combined with suburban northern New Jersey, ranks third on GEN’s A-List of Top 10 U.S. Biopharma Clusters, most recently updated in March. The city enjoys a growing pipeline of life sciences development projects, with 1.1 million square feet to be built through this year, joining some 850,000 square feet completed since early 2019, according to commercial real estate firm CBRE.

Record-high lab space leasing

According to a CBRE report earlier this month, New York City this year has already set a yearly record for lab space leasing with 257,000 square feet leased through May.

Most of that space—165,000 square feet—was leased by the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai within the Georgetown Co.’s 787 11th Avenue, redeveloped for lab use on Manhattan’s West Side.

Another 19,000 square feet was leased by C16 Biosciences at the Hudson Research Center (619 West 54th Street) developed by Taconic Partners and Silverstein Properties. C16—which uses microbes to produce sustainable alternatives to palm oil—will move from incubator space at BioLabs New York. In March, C16 raised a $20 million Series A financing led by the Bill Gates-founded Breakthrough Energy Ventures.

The region’s strengths include jobs and NIH funding, though even its lower rankings in lab space, venture capital, and patents remain in the top five.

“New York City can do more than just fight back COVID-19. We can invest in fast-growing sectors like the life sciences to stop the next pandemic before it starts—and become the public health capital of the world,” de Blasio, whose term expires December 31, said June 9 in a statement. “This expansion will accelerate the growth of local researchers and businesses inventing the cures for whatever comes next. It’s the key to our economic and public health recovery, and it will produce more effective and more equitable health outcomes for New Yorkers across the five boroughs.”

Over the next decade, de Blasio added, New York City will add $500 million to the $500 million committed in 2016 toward fostering the life sciences industry through commitments made as part of the mayor’s LifeSci NYC initiative.

LifeSci NYC plans to spend:

  • $300 million to support nonprofit R&D facilities “to spur new research that translates into companies, jobs, medicines, and advanced technologies.”
  • $200 million to support the construction of commercial lab space and incubators.
  • $5 million to enhance the city’s Life Sciences Expansion Fund to support earlier-stage companies. The fund was created five years ago to providing capital to “industry-leading life sciences companies.”
  • $5 million to expand the LifeSci NYC Internship program, designed to grow the city’s life sciences workforce.

“With a diverse talent pool, a network of premier academic and medical institutions, New York City is positioned to grow as a global leader in life sciences research and innovation,” stated Rachel Loeb, the NYCEDC’s president and CEO. “We’re thrilled to expand LifeSci NYC by investing in more talent, companies, and innovative spaces to help us recover and build a stronger economy for all.”