Bringing the area closer to realizing Medical Center CEO Jay H. Stein’s vision of Rochester as a Mecca for biotechnology, Governor George E. Pataki granted the URMC $30 million for biomedical research.

The funds are intended for developing lab space and venture capital for biotech startup companies to transition discoveries from research to viable private-sector businesses. The money will also be used toward construction and renovation of research laboratories.

“This $30 million granted to the University of Rochester Medical Center by the State of New York will take biotechnology to a new level, boosting New York’s economy with the promise of new jobs, and fostering lifesaving medical breakthroughs,” Stein said, according to the Med Center public relations.

Stein accepted the grant along with President Thomas H. Jackson.

“Our goals for research and economic development through biotechnology are becoming a reality,” Jackson said. “This is not only important to the University of Rochester, but to the entire community and


Indeed, many are trying to position biotech as the area’s next major industry. The university is trying to stay at the forefront of these efforts. The number of projects that have successfully been transferred into viable businesses has grown noticeably. One example is the university’s patent for COX-2 inhibitors, which is leading arthritis treatment.

Job creation is a major goal of the funding, according to Pataki. The research initiative is expected to add 3,565 jobs to the region, according to PR. The grant is the largest yet stipulated for biotech plan.

The Med Center plan is just one in a series of developments that may make the Rochester area a “hub” for biotechnology. As reported in the “City” weekly Newspaper, RIT is also playing a key role in this effort. Many expect RIT graduates to lead the way in making these discoveries into products. It is hoped that they will be manufactured here too, further expanding the biotech jobs available.

With New York State continuing its economic doldrums, and Rochester natives Xerox and Kodak underperforming, if Stein has his way, biotechnology will lead the area back to financial health. With this grant, the pressure is on to make these efforts a reality.

Bobkoff can be reached at

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