NORTHEAST SNAPSHOT, MAY 2006
Albany, New York Biotechnology Market
In and around Albany, New York, the biotechnology sector is flourishing. With significant activity across the board in nanotech, biotechnology, advanced materials and information technology, the area known as Tech Valley is seeing a flurry of development. In particular, development has been occurring near Albany where an $80 million investment at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute’s Center for Biotechnology and Interdisciplinary studies in Troy, New York, will have a significant impact on region’s biotechnoloy capabilities. Similarly, an opportunity at the University of Albany is incubating onsite at the institution’s East campus, from which development will spin into other sectors. Furthermore, in the private sector, Albany Molecular Research, a research company in the market known for its development of the active ingredient in Allegra, continues to undertake research and product development for a number of major pharmaceutical companies nationwide. The company also has acquired other concerns in Albany in order to grow its business, becoming a significant player in the market.
“This region continues to grow and diversify its economy from its historic structure as a center of government, healthcare and education, leveraging its history of innovation to pursue opportunities in growing, global industry sectors,” says David Rooney, senior vice president, programs, at the Center for Economic Growth (CEG), which is a regional economic and business development organization that develops and promotes efforts to attract high-tech talent and companies in addition to providing innovative services that bolster local businesses in New York’s Capital Region and Tech Valley.
“The biotechnology sector in this region continues to strengthen, and mainly it’s trending along the lines of development based on very strong research capabilities that exist in the marketplace,” Rooney says. “We’re trying to leverage those capabilities that are available across the different industry sectors that we’re pursuing.”
This research comes through state labs, such as the Wadsworth Center, which is a New York State-sponsored lab that dedicates itself to science in the pursuit of health, fulfilling its mission through education, research and analysis. The Wadsworth Center focuses highly on biomedical research as well, in step with the endeavors of the University of Albany, Rensselaer Polytechnic and the Albany College of Pharmacy. In addition, General Electric operates one of its corporate research and development facilities in the area, bringing more world-class research capabilities from the private sector that provide a growing source of regional technology spin-off firms.
“The CEG has created a group called BioConnex, a network that is dedicated to the development and growth of the biotechnology community, strengthening the Capital Region and Tech Valley as a premier global location for biotechnology research, education and industry,” says Rooney. “There’s a lot of activity across the United States in these fields — in Philadelphia, San Diego and Boston, for example — and we think there’s opportunity in this region not to replicate what’s going on in those areas but to find our particular strengths and apply those capabilities to the biotechnology field.”
With regard to development in the Tech Valley, there is opportunity for such along routes 4, 9 and 20 in Rensselaer based on the activity at the University of Albany’s East campus. In addition, the Rensselaer Technology Park is an attractive option for technology companies looking to locate within the area, and there is room for development there. In Glens Falls, New York, in Warren County north of Albany, several technology parks are ready for development, and there are medical device manufacturers with a strong presence in that area.
“In general, companies that focus on biotechnology or related fields can find a place to do business in this region,” says Rooney. “With extensive research capabilities throughout the market, there is a real cluster of opportunity here.”
— Dan Marcec
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