A mayoral initiative co-chaired by an Oceanside-reared Nobel laureate aims to bring about 16,000 biotechnology jobs to New York City, Mayor Bill de Blasio said Tuesday.
Aiming to lure labs and research firms from biotech-heavy regions like Boston and the Bay Area, de Blasio said the city would offer $300 million in tax breaks, construct a $100 million research hub campus on Manhattan’s East Side or in Queens’ Long Island City, part of a $500 million push to jump-start investment in the five boroughs.
The Oceanside scientist, Dr. Harold Varmus, is former director of the National Cancer Institute at the National Institutes of Health, co-winner of the Nobel Prize and a Weill Cornell Medical College faculty member. He said he had been struck by the “lack of prominence” of the health-science industry in the city.
“I’m a native of Long Island, but I grew up scientifically in the Bay Area, in San Francisco, where recombinant DNA technology in the biotech industry were,” said Varmus, a onetime head of Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center.
New York City now has about 300,000 tech jobs.
According to the city’s head of economic development, Maria Torres-Springer, the 16,000 spots include 9,000 “direct new jobs in commercial life sciences” and about 7,000 indirect jobs.
She called it “a full ecosystem of life sciences as we make these investments and as the industry grows.”
The salary of the direct jobs will average $75,000 a year.
De Blasio said that the beneficiaries of the tax breaks would be subject to clawbacks if the job goals were not met.
“If we don’t get what’s been agreed to we maintain the opportunity to claw back the resources we put into it,” said de Blasio, a Democrat.
The tax breaks — part of the program dubbed LifeSci NYC — will help subsidize lab and research space that is scarce and costly in real estate-starved New York City, de Blasio said.
The biotech industry develops vaccines and pharmaceuticals, builds prosthetics, and makes software to diagnose ailments.
In spring, the city will begin to make applications available for the first of about 1,000 internships over the 10-year period. The initial internships will cover the summer and fall.
A day before de Blasio’s announcement, Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo unveiled a separate, $650 million plan to jolt the life sciences across the state.