Building Opportunity Density Within by Reaching Further Out

Joanne Gere, Executive Director: We've been listening to researchers across the Westchester biotech cluster, and a common issue expressed by every company has been challenges in recruiting bench scientists, engineers, and data scientists to the region.

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As these are the very community members we honor, we have been discussing ways to identify relevant concerns and how we can help turn the dial. Those who know and love Westchester's natural beauty, proximity, and knowledge base are already convinced. Those who might consider uprooting to the area are faced with a decision that will impact themselves, their careers, and their families for years.

What's the Difference?
When we think of various life science hotbeds like Boston, NYC, and of course Seattle, there are plenty of analogs. However, the key difference is opportunity density. If you move to a more vivid environment for building a career, and your company takes a turn in a new direction, there are very likely multiple entities that would love to capture you. 

We're still working to map the cluster and do our part to enhance the collegial ecosystem, so this thought is early and anecdotal. That said, we believe that by working with existing resources, which are very deep in the hospital and university communities, we can help leverage benefit for startups and for attracting existing entities to stake a claim in the region.

From Whence Will it Come?
Growth will come from everywhere. Already we have begun attracting attention from companies based in France and Spain with an interest in finding a foothold here. Watch for detail on our big honkin' goals for Westchester Biotech Project EU at our Innovation in Research Symposium October 26 at Fordham Westchester.

And, as we are see growing appetite for incubator and scale-up space for young companies, the biotech cluster will expand and strengthen from within. This is key as notable investments are being made in visionary research parks such as North 60. We'll need many fresh recruits for these to be successful for scientists, investors, and patients.

The Good News
I've been involved with many initiatives and programs to bring together scientists across the many silos of biomedical research. None has been so enthusiastically embraced, which gives me -- and our co-chair Michael Welling of Meridian Risk Management -- the confidence to state that our mission is to take a key role in the region's multi-year effort to build opportunity density and assure continual life science progress for generations to come.


Roundtable for Researchers, Westchester Biotech France

By Grace Choi - In July our Roundtable for Researchers introduced scientist representatives from New York Medical College, Fordham University, Purchase College, Albert Einstein College of Medicine, Burke Rehabilitation Hospital, and Lexicon Pharmaceuticals, who shared their interests in stimulating communication across their institutions. Bill Mooney and Amy Allen of the Westchester County Association hosted.

Lining up!

Lining up!

With the support of our diverse communities, the Westchester Biotech Project is building programs for 2018 by convening thought leaders from varied perspectives. These include discovery research, clinical development, institutional growth, supporting industries, and regional economic development. 

Already, our model is spreading. At the Roundtable for Researchers, Dr. Philippe Salphati of Tefen Consulting in Paris shared his vision for Westchester Biotech France. “In 2017, we  are working to establish a burning platform and organize inwardly,” he says. “France occupies a leading position in Europe for R&D in the life sciences and President Macron urges biotechs to become involved in the scientific community globally. French authorities are backing this up with substantial research subsidies. The president’s goal is to treat France with the same creativity and agility as you would with a start-up company.” 

With that in mind, Westchester Biotech France is creating a forum for communication between the scientific and business communities to stimulate innovation and accelerate the progress of addressing unmet medical needs.  When asked if he was ready to tell the world about his plans, he said “Yes! We are ready to get some places to play with us.” 

Needless to say, we are all excited for what is to come. Watch for a series of webinars, and plan to meet the French delegation at Innovation in Research, October 26, at New York Medical College in Valhalla. Register for Updates

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Roundtable: Building the Westchester Biotech Cluster

The Westchester Biotech Project runs several Roundtable programs. Each of these meets 3-4 times per year and communicates online in between. This July our Roundtable for Researchers gathered regional opinion leaders to begin exploring ways to enhance appreciation of the significant breakthroughs. And, we were able to announce Westchester Biotech France!

This month the Westchester Biotech Project (WBP) convened its Roundtable: Building the Westchester Biotech Cluster, hosted by George Oros and Loren Zeitler at the Westchester County Industrial Development Agency (IDA), one of our many participants.

This is not Gary Keller. This is an inventor at the Eclipse August 21, Hudson Valley

This is not Gary Keller. This is an inventor at the Eclipse August 21, Hudson Valley

In attendance were Fareri Associates, Contrafect, Sapience Therapeutics, Skanska, Perkin Elmer, Albert Einstein College of Medicine, Taro Pharmaceuticals, and JLL. Additional WBP Founding Community Partners were represented by Chris Palermo from Bleakley Platt Schmidt and Keith Safian for the Westchester County Association.

Gary Keller, CEO of Xomix, Ltd. introduced the elements of a healthy biotech cluster, emphasizing the importance of a vibrant scientific community as the key source of innovation. “Each biotech hub is a unique ecosystem,” he says. “The Westchester Biotech Project (WBP)  is taking the right first steps by establishing connections and support for the endeavor.“

Open discussion focused on challenges in hiring strong candidates. While the region enjoys a strikingly high level of education, opportunities for building a career in the sciences are in the early stages. That said, many of the other required resources are moving forward: adaptive facilities, biotech companies, support services companies, and financing. New and reconfigurable industrial parks and incubator spaces are helping to connect to global innovation resources for collaboration and soft landing.

Numerous initiatives are in the works, including the WBP’s Young Investigators and the Innovation in Research Symposium on October 26, 2017 at New York Medical College.

“According to the 2017 JLL life Sciences Outlook Report, Westchester Ranks as the #12 biotech cluster in the country”, says Michael Welling, partner at Meridian Risk Management and co-chair of the WBP. “It’s a great place to start”.

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