By GREGORY ZELLER //
The Feinstein Institute for Medical Research has joined the ranks of the Long Island Bioscience Hub.
The Feinstein Institute, the research wing of the Northwell Health system, becomes the LIBH’s fourth member institution, joining Stony Brook University’s Center for Biotechnology, Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory and Brookhaven National Laboratory.
As a partner institution, the Feinstein Institute and its researchers are eligible for funding programs supporting feasibility and proof-of-concept studies. The LIBH, which was established in 2015 through a $3 million National Institutes of Health grant and a combined $5 million contribution from its three founding members, announced its first round of technology-development awards in December – $900,000 for 13 projects – and is expected to announce another funding round this month.
The Feinstein Institute can also access experts from the other member institutions in multiple technology-development disciplines, including professionals with experience in regulatory, legal and project-management matters. The hub will also facilitate introductions between Feinstein and “strategic industry partners,” including early-stage investors, SBU said in a statement.
The Feinstein Institute’s designation as a partner institution helps the LIBH fulfill one of its primary goals: coordinating comprehensive technology-commercialization efforts across “all four major bioscience research institutions on Long Island,” according to SBU’s statement.
It also represents a “great opportunity to accomplish our mission,” noted Feinstein Institute President and CEO Kevin Tracey.
“The Feinstein Institute’s focus is on advancing science, treating disease and bringing healthcare innovations to patients,” Tracey said. “Our partnership in the Long Island Bioscience Hub will help ensure that scientific breakthroughs emerging from our research enterprise progress into the commercial sector, where they can ultimately impact patient care.”
Diane Fabel, director of operations at the Center for Biotechnology and a lead administrator of the Bioscience Hub, said the hub was “excited to expand … to include the Feinstein Institute.”
“There is a definite increase in activity and energy around the region when it comes to harnessing our home-grown innovation,” Fabel told Innovate LI. “We’re excited to foster the development of the next generation of biomedical breakthroughs.”
The LIBH is an NIH-designated Research Evaluation and Commercialization Hub and one of only three REACH facilities in the nation. Its primary mission is to speed new tools and techniques to the healthcare market – to “accelerate the translation of biomedical discoveries into new drugs, devices and diagnostics,” SBU said.
The addition of a “world leader in multiple areas of biomedical research” gives that mission a clear boost, according to Clinton Rubin, director of the 30-year-old Center for Biotechnology, itself a catalyst for the commercial development of biomedical breakthroughs and new companies.
“Their involvement in the Long Island Bioscience Hub further enriches the region’s burgeoning innovation economy and entrepreneurial ecosystem,” Rubin said.
The addition of the Feinstein Institute to the hub roster doesn’t only benefit Feinstein researchers. Stressing the hub’s collaborative nature, Fabel said the LIBH was also happy to welcome the assistance of Feinstein’s “tech transfer people, who are actively involved in helping to guide these programs.”
“As a full partner, they are committed to the same objectives,” Fabel said. “And they’re committing both staff and financial resources.”
But there’s no doubting that membership has its privileges. The LIBH is plugged into a network of NIH-designated proof-of-concept facilities that include the other REACH centers – located at the University of Louisville and the University of Minnesota – and three National Centers for Accelerated Innovation. The hubs and centers enjoy direct access to resources provided by the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office, the Food and Drug Administration and other federal offices critical to technology commercialization.
Access to those federal resources is beneficial, though funding for feasibility studies may be the main prize for Bioscience Hub members. Hub officials did not respond to questions Wednesday about the second round of technology awards slated to be announced this month, but including support provided by the SUNY Research Foundation and Empire State Development, New York State’s main economic-development driver, total investment in LIBH projects over the next three years is slated to exceed $8 million.
Joining the Bioscience Hub marks the latest high-profile collaboration for the Feinstein Institute. In 2015, Northwell Health’s research arm announced it was partnering with the Ohio-based Battelle Memorial Institute, a major-league science and technology development company, on efforts to develop and commercialize the “neural tourniquet,” a device that stimulates nerves with small electric shocks to reduce blood loss after injury or during surgery.