Jan 13

Life Sciences Angel Network and the InSITE Biotechnology Focus Group

The Life Sciences Angel Network (LSAN) recently had their kick-off event this past November.  It is an organization of the New York Academy of Sciences (NYAS) and is focused on funding and promoting innovation through the scientists and entrepreneurs in the area. Their stated mission is to “provide young life sciences companies with financial and operational support, sector-specific mentorship, and access to a broad network of investors and entrepreneurs for subsequent institutional financing.”

The organization is directed by Milena Adamian, an impressive physician scientist whose career path involved work at Boston Scientific Group, Lehman Brothers and Eastern Capital Partners. In addition, Steve Hochberg chairs a diverse screening committee composed of physicians, scientists, lawyers, and venture capitalists. At the kick-off event, there was representation from the New York City Investment Fund (NYCIF), Columbia, NYU, and Cornell universities, the Hospital for Special Surgery (HHS) and the New York City Economic Development Corporation among others.

The theme of the kick-off event was that there is a great opportunity in enabling the growth of early stage life science innovation in New York City. The concentration of top-tier academic institutions in New York is virtually unparalleled. In 2009, New York State received just under 9% of all funding for research provided by the National Institute of Health.

The technology transfer offices of the universities in New York are tasked with the translation of academic research into practical applications. In the past, there has traditionally been a focus on securing intellectual property rights and licensing the technology. However, in the recent past there has been a shift from this to a focus on university-based startups. Given this shift, the timing for the kick-off of LSAN could not be better.

With innovation in the life sciences taking center stage in New York, a new group has formed within InSITE: The Biotechnology Focus Group. Composed of a diverse set of talented student scientists, InSITE aims to be integrally involved in the growth of life science startups in New York.

Silicon alley has seen a surge in the growth of internet and media-based startups in the past several years and with Google opening its second largest office here, New York has established itself as one of the major technology centers alongside Boston and San Francisco. Technology in New York is not limited to social media and the concentration of scientists, entrepreneurs, and investors has positioned the city for rapid growth in the life sciences as well. LSAN could be the catalyst New York needs to trigger that growth and InSITE has plans to be there when it happens.

Adler Perotte, MD

Current InSITE Fellow

Biotechnology Focus Group

Department of Biomedical Informatics

Columbia University

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