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RELEASE: Hochul announces $300 million for 'biomedical research hub' in NYC with money from wife of Meta Facebook's Zuckerberg.
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For Immediate Release: 10/18/2023


New Research Hub Brings Together Leading Institutions to Engineer Immune Cells for Early Disease Prevention, Detection, and Treatment

New York City and New York State Each Contributing $10 Million to New Facility

Governor Kathy Hochul, New York City Mayor Eric Adams, and the Chan Zuckerburg Initiative today announced plans for the Chan Zuckerberg Biohub New York, a new biomedical research hub in New York City that will leverage a nearly $300 million public-private investment to drive collaboration between leading research institutions and solve significant scientific challenges. CZ Biohub NY will bring together experts from Columbia University, The Rockefeller University, and Yale University to focus on early disease prevention, detection, and treatment — particularly for ovarian and pancreatic cancers and neurodegenerative diseases such as Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s — and further propel New York City’s thriving life sciences sector as a major job creator and economic engine in New York City.

“With a world-class faculty, cutting-edge research, and a time-tested model for innovation, the Chan Zuckerberg Biohub will help us continue to build the future of medicine in New York,” Governor Hochul said. “This new Biohub will open a world of possibilities for early disease prevention, detection, and treatment, and thanks to this investment and our partnership with Mayor Adams and the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative, our state is one step closer to the next major medical breakthrough.”

The Chan Zuckerberg Initiative will invest $250 million into the new hub. The New York City Economic Development Corporation (NYCEDC) and Empire State Development (ESD) will each contribute $10 million. The New York City metro area is the country’s leading regional life sciences hub, with nearly 150,000 jobs and 5,100 businesses generating over $23 billion in wages last year.

New York City Mayor Eric Adams said, “New York City’s unparalleled diversity, thriving innovation ecosystem, and world-class research institutions have made us a life sciences powerhouse. And the strong partnerships between city government, state government, the private sector, and leading universities have made us number one in the country. Thanks to this nearly $300 million joint effort with the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative, Governor Hochul, and three top-tier academic institutions, the new Chan Zuckerberg Biohub New York will break biomedical barriers — as New York City continues to do its part to foster a healthier world.”

CZI Co-Founder and Co-CEO Priscilla Chan said, “We’re thrilled to launch the New York Biohub, which will focus on harnessing our immune system to detect, prevent, and ultimately treat diseases before they advance. Right now, diseases such as cancer and Parkinson’s are often diagnosed after the onset of obvious symptoms, making them harder or even impossible to treat. To change that, researchers and engineers at the New York Biohub will bioengineer immune cells to scout, report, and repair damage to our cells before it leads to serious illnesses. Solving ambitious challenges, like identifying diseases earlier when our options for treatment are far better, underpins our work across the Biohub Network, and we’re excited to continue to scale this collaborative research model with the New York Biohub.”

The CZ Biohub NY is the fourth and newest research institute in the Chan Zuckerberg Biohub Network, a groundbreaking collaborative model for scientific research. The network includes the first CZ Biohub, in San Francisco, a second in Chicago, and the Chan Zuckerberg Institute for Advanced Biological Imaging in Redwood City, California.

Led by Professor Andrea Califano of Columbia University, the CZ Biohub NY will focus on the creation of new technologies to characterize and bioengineer immune cells with the goal of creating disease-specific “cellular endoscopes” that can detect early stages of disease in cells, monitor cell changes, and resolve diseases before they become untreatable. The hub will apply these novel, technology-driven approaches to hard-to-detect cancers, such as ovarian and pancreatic cancers, and neurodegenerative diseases, including Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s. The next step is further training immune cells to make targeted repairs, such as promoting inflammation at a tumor site to activate a robust immune response.

Empire State Development President, CEO and Commissioner Hope Knight said, “The selection of New York as the next CZ Biohub demonstrates that the targeted investments in life science under Governor Hochul’s leadership are working. Being part of the CZ Biohub Network will create incredible opportunities for New York’s research community and will have ripple effects across the state, further cementing New York as a powerful economic driver and a global destination for life science translation and innovation.”

State Health Commissioner Dr. James McDonald said, “I thank Governor Hochul and Mayor Adams for their unwavering commitment to investments that enhance the future of medicine and improve public health across the state. This new state-of-the-art biohub in New York will expand our capabilities in early disease prevention, detection and treatment.”

State Senator Toby Stavisky said, “I'm delighted that Governor Hochul and Mayor Adams have secured this funding from the Chan Zuckerburg Initiative. I have long expressed the importance of creating public/private partnerships to spur job creation and bring investment into New York. CZI's generous start-up donation to create a bio hub is also a recognition of the phenomenal universities we have in our State. I look forward to continuing the work, with both the Governor and Mayor, to invest in our higher education system.”

Assemblymember Patricia Fahy said, “With more than 17 new life science companies calling New York State home over the last few years, we continue to be a national leader and incubator for the life sciences field from New York City to Albany. Our new biomedical life sciences research hub, CZ Biohub NY, will focus on early disease prevention, detection, and treatment—which will save lives and produce groundbreaking medical breakthroughs in our lifetime. I commend Governor Hochul, Mayor Adams, and the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative for their commitment to growing New York’s life sciences sector and their combined partnership on this research hub, which will ultimately yield results for New Yorkers and Americans in the years to come.”

CZI Co-Founder and Co-CEO Mark Zuckerberg said, "The grand scientific question that these scientists are going to go after is around cellular engineering — to engineer immune cells to detect specific diseases and then eventually encode their molecular make-up, so that scientists can use it as a diagnostic and eventually, they can engineer cells to go to a site of a disease and help treat it. The ultimate goal is to not go after a specific disease – it’s to create a new tool or platform that all scientists can use to study and make more specific advances."

The CZ Biohub builds on statewide efforts to grow and modernize the sector through New York’s $620 million Life Science Initiative. Last year, Governor Hochul and Mayor Adams unveiled plans for SPARC Kips Bay, a first-of-its kind job and education hub for innovation in health and the life sciences, on Manhattan’s East Side. Governor Hochul also unveiled a $700 million transformation of the former Taystee Bakery site in West Harlem into the Taystee Lab Building, a class A, LEED-certified building purpose-built for life sciences companies. Earlier this year, the governor additionally announced the $7.6 million expansion of Schrödinger, Inc., whose physics-based computational platform is transforming the way therapeutics and materials are discovered, at the Taystee Lab Building, creating at least 80 new jobs. In March, the governor announced plans for a $50 million “Lab of the Future” in Midtown Manhattan that will rely on automation, artificial intelligence, and machine learning to make the preclinical drug discovery process faster, more data-driven, and cost-effective.

New York City is a growing hub of life sciences research, with nine major research centers and over 100 total research centers, over 50 hospitals, a highly talented and diverse workforce, and industry-leading companies. Through LifeSci NYC, NYCEDC’s $1 billion initiative, the City of New York is on track to create 1,000 companies and 40,000 jobs, unlock 10 million square feet of wet- and dry-lab real estate, and generate billions of dollars in economic impact over the next 15 years. Since taking office, Mayor Adams has invested $27 million for new life sciences facilities for the City College of New York and Mount Sinai Health System, dedicated $20 million to a new center for sustainability-focused biotech at the Brooklyn Navy Yard, and supported the opening of Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute and the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai’s Center for Engineering and Precision Medicine on Manhattan’s West Side. Investing in life sciences was a key recommendation made by the “’New’ New York” panel convened by Governor Hochul and Mayor Adams earlier this year to make New York City the best place to work and serve as a roadmap for the city's future.