A Forest Laboratory lab in Farmingdale. A business group is...

A Forest Laboratory lab in Farmingdale. A business group is urging the state to invest in bio-pharmaceutical businesses. (May 2003) Credit: Newsday, / Jim Peppler

Despite a wealth of research institutions, New York State must do more to encourage private investment in biopharmaceutical manufacturing, according to a new study.

The Business Council said Tuesday that the state risks falling behind China and India, which have lured drug operations from the United States. Jobs will evaporate here unless employers spend money on new buildings and equipment, the business group said.

As New York's largest manufacturing and research sector, biopharma offers the best opportunity to create high-paying jobs. Every position in a drug factory supports 16 others, the study found.

On Long Island, executives and politicians often speak about the importance of biotechnology to the region's economic future. Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo has been considering a bill to enable OSI Pharmaceuticals to expand at Farmingdale State College.

"New York ranks exceptionally high in research efforts . . . Yet, it still is performing at substantially poorer levels of manufacturing, where the most dynamic employment and wage growth opportunities exist," said Steven Taylor of the council's Public Policy Institute. Of the nearly 18,400 people in the industry, 10,745 were production workers in 2009.

He said, "New York has been precariously slow to react to the seismic shifts that are affecting the world's most sought-after companies," some of which have moved. "A true catastrophe is looming."

Among his suggested remedies were a personal income tax credit for college graduates in the sciences, math or engineering; fewer restrictions on university business incubators; more promotion of what New York offers to biotech companies, and renewal of the tax credits for technology plants and worker training, which expire Jan. 1.

Empire State Development Corp. spokesman Warner Johnston said ESDC has always pushed "for policies that support the growth of this industry . . . and has been engaged over the years in marketing, domestically and abroad, the strong assets New York brings to the biopharma community."

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