Upstate News

September 23, 2002
Darryl Geddes 315 464-4828

SUNY Upstate and ESF receive $20M from state for biotech center

Funding Will Support New Central New York Biotechnology Center

Syracuse, N.Y.–Governor George E. Pataki was joined today by Senator John DeFrancisco, local officials and industry and academic leaders in announcing $20 million in State support for the $35 million Phase 1 of the new Central New York Biotechnology Research Center — a project that will establish the Syracuse area as a leading center for plant and animal biotechnology research.

The Research Center effort is an aggressive, three phase plan that envisions an $80 million, 240,000-square-foot facility containing research labs, technology transfer space, offices and conference rooms dedicated to biotechnology research and economic development efforts.

“This state-of-the-art Research Center — combined with the new Syracuse Center of Excellence in Environmental Systems — will provide a tremendous boost for the Central New York economy,” Governor Pataki said. “High-technology and biotechnology will have a major impact on the Upstate economy and the economy of the entire State, bringing thousands of goods, high paying jobs to New Yorkers. The investment we are making today is another example of how New York State is not waiting for the future — we are building the future, right here in Central New York.”

Senate Majority Leader Joseph L. Bruno said,”Five million dollars for this project comes from the Senate’s Gen*NY*sis biotechnology economic development program which will provide for capital investments in state-of-the-art research and development facilities and to leverage additional federal and private investments of more than $1 billion and create thousands of new high skilled and high-wage jobs throughout the State. I congratulate Governor Pataki, Senator DeFrancisco and Senator Hoffmann for their efforts to strengthen the Syracuse area economy.”

The Research Center is a public/private partnership between SUNY Upstate Medical University (UMU), the SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry (SUNY ESF), the Metropolitan Development Authority of Syracuse and Central New York (MDA) and private sector companies such as Welch-Allyn, Bristol-Myers Squibb, Albany Molecular, G.C. Hanford, International Paper and O’Brien and Gere.

Senator John DeFrancisco said, “This is a true biotechnology project, and therefore is a perfect fit for the Senate’s Gen*NY*sis program. Dr. Gregory Eastwood, Dr. Neil Murphy and Dr. Michael Roizen are to be applauded for their wisdom and vision in bringing this proposal forward. I have been happy to spearhead this project in the Senate. I believe it will be a tremendous asset to Central New York, and I thank Governor Pataki for doing his part by understanding how important this biotech project is to our area’s future.

Senator Nancy Larraine Hoffmann said, “Governor Pataki has shown leadership and vision in taking advantage of our strength in Syracuse by securing the funds for research and development by our universities and private companies to create jobs in research right now and many more in the future in Central New York, based on the results of this research.”

Congressman James Walsh said, “I am very supportive of the Governor’s efforts to establish a biotech initiative in Syracuse in partnership with SUNY Upstate Medical University, SUNY Environmental Science and Forestry and the private sector. I am committed to moving this project forward at the Federal level and to continuing the partnership we have formed today.”

Phase 1 of the project will be a $35 million, 80,000 square foot facility to be located near SUNY ESF on land between and Upstate Medical University and the Syracuse VA Hospital. It will house labs, offices, instructional space and other research space associated with the themes highlighted for the project, as well as business incubation space. The $35 million Phase 1 of the project will also fund the complex utilities, infrastructure and architechtural design required for Phases 2 and 3 of the project.

The $35 million Phase 1 of the project will be funded by $20 million in State resources announced today; Upstate Medical University, SUNY ESF and the other partners will raise $5 million in capital resources from other sources; and the partners are also seeking $10 million from the federal government for construction. The building will be equipped through grant funds to be received from the federal government, such as the National Institutes of Health. Corporate sponsors are expected to endow about $25 million in sponsored research.

Phases 2 and 3 will also be 80,000 square feet each and will cost about $22.5 million each. These phases will house additional research space and provide for extensive business incubation for new spin-off companies generated through the research at the Biotechnology Research Center. The “module” approach, using the same design for each phase but providing for the infrastructure and design elements up-front, saves money and will allow for a more rapid build-out of the second and third phases when resources are identified.

SUNY Chancellor Robert L. King said, “SUNY is proud to partner with the State and the private sector in making these important investments in high-tech and biotech, which provide the foundation for New York’s future and will lead to even greater economic and social prosperity.” SUNY’s world-class research, capability, combined with public and private investment is the most powerful economic development tool available to New York and I applaud Governor Pataki for leading this effort.”

SUNY ESF President Cornelius B. Murphy, Jr. Said, “This is an extraordinary event for Syracuse and Upstate New York. We at the College of Environmental Science and Forestry are most grateful to Governor Pataki for his leadership in creating economic and scientific opportunity by helping fund the joint SUNY-ESF-Upstate-MDA-CNY Biotechology Research Center. Governor Pataki’s vision will help us attract new businesses and support our existing partners including Bristol-Myers Squibb, Welch-Allyn, Albany Molecular, G.C. Hanford, O’Brien and Geere, Illumination Technologies, International Paper and many others.”

SUNY Upstate Medical University President Gregory L. Eastwood said, “This is a first- Of-a-kind SUNY partnership. Never before have a SUNY doctoral degree granting campus and a University Medical Center joined forces to create a Center with such significant scientific effect. Now we will be able to find biomedical and biotechnical solutions to age-old problems of health, vitality and sustainability from along the interface of human and natural systems. This century has already been labeled, “The Century of Biologics” and Governor Pataki’s support helps keep New York State where it belongs; in the vanguard of scientific innovation, high-tech job creation and improved quality of life.”

H. Douglas Barclay, President of the Metropolitan Development Association of Syracuse and Central New York, said, “On behalf of the Central New York’s business leadership, we recognize and share the importance of Governor Pataki’s announcement. We are pleased to be a founding partner in the Biotech Research Center. New York State and Central New York are poised to capitalize on a unique strength of our region…companies, educational institutions and individuals with global competitiveness in one of the hottest areas for economic growth. We predict Governor Pataki’s designation of Syracuse as a Center of Excellence in Environmental Building Systems and now the Central New York Biotech Research Center will be recorded as one of the greatest economic development incentives ever established in Central New York.”

Kenneth L. Duaria said, “As Director of the MDA and as a Senior Director of Syracuse Manufacturing Operations of the Bristol-Myers Squibb Company, I welcome this new center and recognize the potential the Governor has given us. I look forward to working with Dr. Roizen and others to maximize this asset for Central New York.”

Charles A. Gargano, Chairman of Empire State Development, said, “Governor Pataki’s tax cuts and smart economic development policies have helped strengthen New York State’s economy and created more than 600,000 new jobs. The Governor’s leadership on bringing New York State to the forefront of cutting-edge, high-tech and biotech research and economic development will keep our economy moving forward and help to create thousands of additional new jobs.”

Russell W. Bessette, M.D., Executive Director of the New York State Office of Science, Technology and Academic Research, said, “New York State, under the leadership of Governor Pataki, is making smart investments to develop a high technology economy. The Governor’s unprecedented high technology initiatives will ensure that New York remains a world wide leader in the 21st century in the growth of new companies and new high-paying jobs.”

Research efforts at the new Center will focus on five major areas, including:

  • Renewable resources focused on tree and woody biomass for uses in plastics, paper products and pharmaceuticals;

  • “Vitality” products that will be spearheaded by Proctor and Gamble based on Dr. Michael Roisen’s seminal research in epidemiology that will lead to commercial products to foster vitality and increase longevity;
  • Bar code technology will be incubated at the site in partnership with Welch-Allyn, Upstate Medical and the Syracuse VA Hospital, so that future patients can carry their clinical information encoded on paper or plastic, reducing medical errors and increasing efficiency; and
  • A center to develop expertise in venture capital and development law, intellectual property law and regulatory processes to build a stream of entrepreneurial talent.

The planned Biotechnology Research Center will be a “green” facility with rooftop greenhouses, building on the Governor’s recent announcement of a $37 million Center of Excellence in Environmental Systems at Syracuse University. The efforts of the Center of Excellence and the Biotechnology Research Center are expected to be complementary. Project sponsors estimate that the effort will generate a total of 1,000 jobs. Sponsors conservatively estimate they will receive $45 million in federal grants for the project.

The Syracuse Center of Excellence is one of five Centers of Excellence is one of the five Centers of Excellence statewide focusing on critical emerging high-tech fields, including the Albany Center of Excellence in Nanoelectronics, the Rochester Center of Excellence in Photonics, the Long Island Center of Excellence in Wireless Internet and Information Technology, and the Buffalo Center of Excellence in Bioinformatics. About $750 million in private sector and federal support has already been pledged statewide to the Centers of Excellence.

The Syracuse Center of Excellence is one of five Centers of Excellence statewide focusing on critical emerging high-tech fields, including the Albany Center of Excellence in Nanoelectronics, the Rochester Center of Excellence in Photonics, the Long Island Center of Excellence in Wireless Internet and Information Technology, and the Buffalo Center of Excellence in Bioinformatics. About $750 million in private sector and federal support has already been pledged statewide to the Centers of Excellence.

In addition, this summer the Governor announced that International SEMATECH — a consortium of the 12 major computer chip manufacturers in the world — will site its next generation 300 millimeter computer chip research and development center, to be called International SEMATECH North, at the Center of Excellence in Nanoelectronics at the University at Albany. SEMATECH selected New York after considering sites in Europe, the pacific Rim, and across the United States, based on New York’s leading position in chip research and development and the State’s business-friendly environment.

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