Biodefense Commercialization Fund open for applicants

New York’s new $40 million Biodefense Commercialization Fund is now accepting grant applications.

The fund, which was included in the state’s 2022 budget, is meant to encourage the development and commercialization of solutions for serious infectious disease threats, including COVID-19 and its variants, while fostering the creation of new life-science businesses.

“No state was hit harder and faster by COVID-19 than New York State — and it is incumbent upon us to use the lessons we learned to better prepare for the future,” Governor Kathy Hochul said in a statement, announcing the fund’s opening on Wednesday. “The Biodefense Commercialization Fund will help the next generation of startups and early-stage companies combat infectious diseases while creating jobs and investment in New York’s life-science industry.

“We want to ensure that New York is where these groundbreaking companies start and operate, and that our state is at the center of the search for solutions to the world’s most pressing problems.”

Eligible companies that are developing promising diagnostics, vaccines, therapeutics, and other innovations to prevent, treat, or mitigate serious infectious disease threats can apply for grants of up to $4 million.

New York’s academic research institutions will be able to apply for grants of up to $500,000 to help fast track advanced intellectual property in life sciences. An emphasis will be placed on supporting the development of innovations with the highest potential for commercial viability.

The fund will be managed by Empire State Development, with guidance from an executive committee that includes representatives from the state’s Department of Health, Columbia University, the Mount Sinai School of Medicine, and two venture funds.

A panel of experts from the biopharma industry, life science venture investors, and academic scientists will review, evaluate, and provide recommendations on submitted applications. Additionally, panel members will draw upon their collective experience to provide guidance to the awardees.

New York State enacted a $620 million initiative to spur the growth of a world-class life-sciences research cluster in New York, as well as expand the state’s ability to commercialize this research and grow the economy. This initiative includes $320 million for strategic programs that attract new life-science technologies to the state, promote public and private-sector investment in emerging life-science fields, and create and expand life-science-related businesses and employment throughout New York.

The life sciences sector encompasses the fields of biotechnology, pharmaceuticals, biomedical technologies, life systems technologies, and includes organizations and institutions that devote the majority of their efforts to the various stages of research, development, technology transfer, and commercialization.

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