New York Genome Center to Open in February, Supported by $125M in Public and Private Funding

Xconomy New York — 

A few days after Xconomy New York debuted in April, famed biotech pioneer and Columbia University professor Tom Maniatis gave us a preview of the New York Genome Center, a proposed coalition of academic institutions coming together to support genomics research in the city. His vision is now reality: The Center officially launches tomorrow with an unveiling featuring Maniatis (pictured above) and several other NYC scientists.

The New York Genome Center, which will open in February, will be equipped with state-of-the-art molecular scanning technologies, and it will be set up to allow New York institutions to share data and resources. According to a media advisory, 11 academic medical centers and research organizations are joining the center, including Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, Mount Sinai School of Medicine, and Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory.

Among the speakers at the launch event tomorrow will be Maniatis, a 30-year veteran of Harvard who is now chair of the department of biochemistry and molecular biophysics at the Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons, which is also participating in the Genome Center. Maniatis, who is one of our Xconomists, founded Genetics Institute and was one of the key figures in the growth of the Kendall Square biotech cluster in Cambridge, MA. He has long been interested in bringing that entrepreneurial spirit to the Big Apple. “I’d like to see something like Kendall Square,” said Maniatis in our April interview with him. “It’s enriched the academic and business life in Boston in an amazing way, and it would be great to see that happen here.”

The financiers behind the New York Genome Center have not yet been revealed. But according to the media advisory, it will require a total of $125 million from “diverse private and public sources,” and a “substantial portion” of the money has already been committed.

It’s been an active year for genomics research initiatives in New York. Mount Sinai recently opened its own such research center, called the Institute for Genomics and Multiscale Biology. The center’s director, Eric Schadt (also an Xconomist), told Xconomy in October that his goals included “collaborating deeply with 12 disease-oriented institutes so that we can better understand how to diagnose and treat disease.”

One of the speakers at tomorrow’s unveiling will be Xconomist Marc Tessier-Lavigne, a former executive of Genentech, who became president of New York’s Rockefeller University in March 2011.

Tune back in to Xconomy New York tomorrow afternoon for comments from Tessier-Lavigne and Maniatis on the debut of the city’s new Genome Center.