NY Genomics, Health Tech, Get $160M in State Support

Xconomy New York — 

Who said there’s no cash lying around for New York biotech?

Over the past few days, the New York Legislature has thrown $160 million in support behind life sciences growth in the Big Apple with two budget measures that’ll help advance genomic medicine and the establishment of the nation’s first statewide, centralized system of electronic health records.

First, legislators voted to set aside $55 million for what’s known as the Statewide Health Information Network of New York, or SHIN-NY, an electronic health records system that can be shared by doctors and health facilities across the state. That’s about $10 million less than the budget 33 local healthcare IT entrepreneurs and investors petitioned for a few weeks ago, but it’ll support the completion of the plan nonetheless.

“The SHIN-NY already provides thousands of healthcare providers with access to millions of patient records daily and we are starting to see game-changing shifts in efficiency, cost and quality of care through its usage,” said David Whitlinger, the executive director of the New York eHealth Collaborative, a public/private partnership that helped create the SHIN-NY.

Most of the cash will help connect the 10 hubs of electronic health records—so-called regional health information organizations—and further doctor and patient participation in the network.

The New York Genome Center, the big genomics hub formed by many of the city’s big research institutions, also got some funding support. New York legislators approved $105 million from the state budget to help the nascent center grow and innovate.

That cash will support a partnership that lets the NYGC tap into the University of Buffalo’s Center for Computational Research, using its computing capabilities for things like analytics and large-scale data storage. The NYGC is getting $55.75 million from the state and says it will match that figure with money it plans to raise separately. The other roughly $50 million is going to the CCR.

New York leaders and entrepreneurs have put together several initiatives over the past few years to try to finally capitalize on the state’s research power and lay the foundation for a future biotech cluster—among them are the Tri-Institutional Therapeutics Discovery Institute, the Alexandria Center for Life Science, the New York City Economic Development Corp.’s new $100 million life sciences fund, and Harlem Biospace (Manhattan’s first biotech startup incubator).

The NYGC is, in many ways, the lynchpin of those efforts, bringing together 12 of the city’s major institutions as part of a plan to work together, share ideas, and turn genomic insights into medical innovations.

“This investment in scientific innovation helps place New York at the forefront of medical science and highlights the power of collaboration to advance revolutionary improvements in health care,” NYGC CEO Robert Darnell said in the statement.