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Start-Up NY Attracts Life Science Companies to Buffalo

The UB Gateway Building will be home Aesku.NY, Inc.  Photography: Douglas Levere

The UB Gateway Building will be home Aesku.NY, Inc. Photography: Douglas Levere

by Alan Rosenhoch, Business Development Manager

Last month, Governor Andrew Cuomo’s signature economic development initiative START-UP NY bore fruit for the first time and the Buffalo Niagara region, and the life sciences industry in particular, was front and center. Of the 12 companies announced state-wide, eight are sponsored by the University at Buffalo (UB).

Of the eight companies affiliating with UB, four are in the life sciences industry:

-          Aesku.NY, Inc. is a spin-off of AESKU.DIAGNOSTICS, based in Wendelsheim, Germany, a research-focused supplier of innovative and efficient products and services for the early detection, diagnosis and prognosis of autoimmune diseases. The company will be new to New York State and locate at the University at Buffalo downtown campus (Gateway Building). The company is also part of NY Genomic Medicine Network, and will invest approximately $2.8 million and create 31 jobs over five years.

-          Sinapis Pharma, Inc. is an emerging pharmaceutical company that is developing a novel drug for the treatment of traumatic brain injuries (TBI) and strokes. Sinapis is a new business that will be locating at the University at Buffalo’s Center of Excellence in Bioinformatics. The company will invest approximately $600,000 and projects seven jobs over five years.

-          Lineagen, Inc. is a biotechnology company that is focused on commercialization of diagnostic testing methods for identifying genetic variations known to be associated with autism spectrum disorder and other developmental delays. The company is a new business that is locating at the University at Buffalo’s downtown campus (Hauptman Woodward Institute). The company is also part of the NY Genomic Medicine Network and will invest approximately $55,000 and hire 10 employees over five years.

-          Nupur Technologies, LLC, is a research and development medical device company that is developing a device to clear blockages in the ear. The company is a new business that is locating at the University at Buffalo’s Baird Research Park. The company will invest more than $862,000 and hire 33 employees over five years.

START-UP NY is a new economic development program that allows companies to pay zero local or state taxes for a period of 10 years. This includes the personal income tax liability for the companies’ owners and employees. To qualify, a company does not need to technically be a ‘start-up’, but must create jobs in the State and must affiliate with a college or university. The academic requirement is a key element, because it leverages the vast asset base housed within the state’s public and private academic institutions.

For example, Aesku.NY and Lineagen were attracted to Buffalo primarily by the opportunity to take part in the recently created New York Genomic Medicine Network, a collaboration between UB and the New York Genome Center in Manhattan. The Network and its members will use supercomputing power from UB’s Center for Computational Research to analyze patient genomes and develop personalized medicine treatments.

The program is still in its early stages (having become law on January 1 of this year), as additional colleges and universities across the Buffalo Niagara region are formalizing their campus plans, the key step necessary to participate in the program.