Chan Zuckerberg Initiative Plans $300M Life Sciences Hub in New York City

reprints


The city, state and medical researchers are splitting the bill to create a $300 million facility to become the Chan Zuckerberg Biohub New York.

With $10 million each from Gov. Kathy Hochul and Mayor Eric Adams as well as $250 million from the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative — founded by Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg and his wife, Priscilla Chan — the organization will begin looking for a spot to open a New York facility, according to Hochul.

SEE ALSO: Trump Asks Manhattan Court to Overturn $454M Civil Fraud Verdict

The New York City Economic Development Corporation (NYCEDC) and Empire State Development (ESD) will also be providing $10 million to the effort. The goal is to establish a hub that will conduct research on ovarian and pancreatic cancers as well as neurodegenerative diseases.

“The grand scientific question that these scientists are going to go after is around cellular engineering — to engineer immune cells to detect specific diseases and then eventually encode their molecular makeup, so that scientists can use it as a diagnostic, and eventually they can engineer cells to go to a site of a disease and help treat it,” Zuckerberg said in a statement. “The ultimate goal is to not go after a specific disease. It’s to create a new tool or platform that all scientists can use to study and make more specific advances.”

The research facility will be the fourth in the Chan Zuckerberg network in addition to hubs in San Francisco, Chicago and Redwood City, Calif. The New York hub will be led by experts from Columbia, The Rockefeller University and Yale, according to Hochul.

The Chan Zuckerberg Biohub Network did not immediately respond to a request for comment on possible New York City locations for the proposed hub.

The New York City center will tap into an already bustling life sciences market, with the tri-state region already producing up to $23 billion in wages, 150,000 jobs and 5,100 businesses, according to the Hochul administration. And the city has already kicked in a lot of money to help the industry grow.

In 2021, then Mayor Bill de Blasio pledged $500 million-plus to help develop the city’s life science industry.

Scientists working at the Chan Zuckerberg Biohub will not necessarily be looking at cures for disease, but rather how those conditions can be prevented in the first place.

“Right now, diseases such as cancer and Parkinson’s are often diagnosed after the onset of obvious symptoms, making them harder or even impossible to treat,” Chan said in a statement. “To change that, researchers and engineers at the New York Biohub will bioengineer immune cells to scout, report and repair damage to our cells before it leads to serious illnesses.” 

Mark Hallum can be reached at mhallum@commercialobserver.com.