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Biotech company snags $500K in state aid for move to Melville

New York State is backing the move of a small biotechnology company from Florida to Melville with $500,000 in state tax credits over 10 years, officials said Wednesday.

BioRestorative Therapies Inc. announced its headquarters would move from Jupiter, Florida, to 40 Marcus Dr. Chief executive Mark Weinreb already lives on Long Island.

The relocation is expected to create 15 jobs over the next two years. The public company employs three people in Florida.

Records show the local jobs will pay, on average, $111,000 per year.

Kenneth Adams, Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo's economic development czar, said BioRestorative merited state aid because "the life sciences industry is a key component of the Long Island regional economy."

BioRestorative specializes in treatments for severe back pain, diabetes, obesity and skin problems, using human stem cells. In March, it won contracts totaling up to $1 million from pharmaceutical giants Pfizer Inc. and Rohto Pharmaceutical Co. for research into stem cells.

BioRestorative reported a loss of $3 million for the six months ended June 30 on sales of $176,316. It lost $5.8 million last year on sales of $1,680, according to securities filings.

In addition to the state aid, BioRestorative received $146,000 in tax breaks from Suffolk County Industrial Development Agency in June. The largest component of the five-year deal was an $83,921 sales-tax exemption.

"We look forward to tapping into the highly skilled workforce in this region as we expand our operations and advance our clinical programs," Weinreb said.

State officials were thrilled by BioRestorative's announcement, coming as it did after July's criticism by Florida's chief financial officer, Jeff Atwater, of the national advertising campaign touting Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo's tax-free zones for businesses.

In a letter to Cuomo, Atwater accused the governor of attempting to mislead business owners and said Florida was a better state to do business in.

A Cuomo spokesman said the ads were truthful.

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