With pilot run ending, top marks for LI Bioscience Hub

Winning formula: The National Institutes of Health-supported Long Island Bioscience Hub has performed well during its pilot run, according to an independent analysis.
By GREGORY ZELLER //

The Long Island Bioscience Hub is making the grade, according to a report card prepared by independent evaluators.

Since launching in 2015, the LIBH – a National Institutes of Health effort uniting Stony Brook University, Brookhaven National Laboratory, Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory and Northwell Health’s Feinstein Institute for Medical Research – has trained hundreds of innovators, helped fund dozens of technology-development projects and assisted the formation of numerous startup companies and licensing agreements.

In short, it has scored – early and often – on its critical mission to help commercialize the cutting-edge biomedical technologies emerging from Long Island’s top research institutions.

That’s the assessment of RTI International, a North Carolina-based independent nonprofit research institute that prepared a recent evaluation of the NIH’s Research Evaluation and Commercialization Hub programs – including the LIBH, which is headquartered at SBU’s Center for Biotechnology and has emerged as a star of REACH’s pilot class.

Clinton Rubin: Extending the REACH.

Reviewing the LIBH’s first three years of operation, the evaluation counts 600 innovators engaging in REACH-sponsored training programs through the hub, along with 50 tech-development projects receiving LIBH funding – including projects to study small-molecule drugs, promote health IT and create new diagnostic and therapeutic devices.

It also credits the LIBH with assisting in the formation of 10 startup companies and the execution of two licensing agreements – and says the NIH’s initial $3 million stake (and the $5 million ponied up by SBU, BNL and CSHL) was subsequently bolstered by more than $10 million in follow-on funding, including $2.8 million in SBIR/STTR grants.

All told, the hub has had a “significant impact” on regional biotech commercialization, as understated by the LIBH – and with the REACH pilot program ending this summer, stands as proof-positive of the need for further government-funded collaborations, according to Center for Biotechnology Director Clinton Rubin.

“Through the REACH program, we’ve been able to expand on the region’s efforts to commercialize more innovation locally, thereby capturing more of the economic impact within the region,” said Rubin, also a Distinguished Professor in SBU’s Department of Biomedical Engineering. “While the pilot program will end in mid-2019, these impacts clearly demonstrate the potential of the model to make significant contributions to our innovation ecosystem.”