LA startup heading to Stony Brook

PhD Skin Care founders Steve and Michael Isaacman are moving their California company to Stony Brook.

A California-based dermatology company is relocating to New York – specifically, to the Stony Brook University campus – as one of 12 new Start-Up NY companies announced Thursday.

PhD Skin Care LLC, currently headquartered in Los Angeles, will focus on the design and fabrication of new ingredients and topical formulas for over-the-counter drugs and topical skincare products as the newest residents of the Long Island High Technology Incubator.

The company “will be relocating its entire operation” to the SBU campus, according to Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s office. In exchange for the LIHTI digs, PhD Skin Care – founded by social media stalwarts Steven and Michael Isaacman, a.k.a “The PhD Brothers” – is promising to create five full-time positions and invest $185,000 in the region over the next five years.

Steve, the firm’s CEO, and Michael, COO of sister company PhD Biosciences (which already has New York City operations), have made the virtual rounds. Promising “effective ingredients intelligently delivered,” they’ve plugged their products – including botanical- and antioxidant-rich sunscreens, moisturizers, tanners and scrubs, plus the trademark Never Miss A Spot application system – on Facebook, Twitter, Vimeo, the Home Shopping Network and The New Reddit Journal of Science, a “subreddit” of the online-article aggregator Reddit.com.

The spotlight has helped their circa-2010 R&D startup raise more than $5 million in grants from the National Cancer Institute and the National Heart Lung and Blood Institute, among other government and private organizations.

Howard Zemsky, president and CEO of Empire State Development, said the relocation of PhD Skin Care from Los Angeles to Stony Brook, along with the other new additions to the Start-Up NY roster, show “the positive impact this program is having on the state’s economy.”

The 12 new Start-Up NY companies announced Thursday have committed to create at least 385 new jobs and invest roughly $7.3 million in the Western New York, Mohawk Valley, Capital District, New York City and Long Island regions, the governor’s office said. For their commitments, the companies – all sponsored in some way by higher education – will pay no state income, corporate, local, sales or property taxes for up to 10 years, while accessing experts and advanced resources from their partner schools.

Of the 12, five are clustered around the University at Buffalo, promising a total of 245 new jobs and nearly $5 million in regional investment. Two companies are located around Manhattan’s NYU campus (47 total jobs), two around Utica’s SUNY Polytechnic Institute (29 total jobs) and one each around SUNY Downstate Medical Center in Brooklyn and SUNY Oswego (59 jobs between them).

To date, 72 schools are participating in Start-Up NY, creating more than 400 tax-free zones and more than 4.4 million square feet for new or expanding businesses on or near their campuses, according to the release. The 128 businesses now participating in Start-Up NY have committed to creating over 3,600 jobs.