New York State Biodefense Commercialization Fund

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The $40 million Biodefense Commercialization Fund, which was included in the FY2022 budget, was created to encourage and accelerate the development and commercialization of solutions for serious infectious disease threats, including COVID-19 and its variants, while fostering the creation of new life science businesses and supporting industry growth. The Fund offers grants to startups and academic centers that are developing promising diagnostics, vaccines, therapeutics, and such other innovations as epidemiological surveillance tools, environmental controls, and clinical care advances that address or mitigate infectious disease threats.

The Biodefense Commercialization Fund is intended to provide financial resources that will:

  1. Expand the state’s life science ecosystem to enhance employment opportunities;
  2. Bolster the ecosystem by identifying, developing, and supporting commercial advancement of promising scientific innovations that generate solutions in the critical area of infectious disease and pandemic resilience;
  3. Fast track advanced intellectual property (IP) from New York’s research institutions, accelerate the growth of companies across the state, and encourage companies from outside of New York to relocate to expand the state’s commercial life science industry;    
  4. Increase the state’s resilience to broadscale infectious disease threats; 
  5. Help to further position New York State as a safe, healthy place for people to live, work, and recreate; and
  6. Expand opportunities available to a broad range of innovative companies. 

Startup and early stage companies based in New York that have raised or are in the process of raising Seed, Series A or Series B funding are eligible to apply for grants ranging from approximately $1 million to $4 million.

Companies from outside of the state that meet the above qualifications may apply for funding, if they are committed to relocate to New York state.

Academic institutions based in New York with translational innovations that are on the cusp of moving into a commercial development phase are eligible to apply for grants of $250,000 to $500,000.

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For more information about the Fund, please view the program guidelines, and the Code of Conduct to be followed by all members of the Fund’s Executive Committee, Expert Review Panel, and Mentors.


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New York State has launched a $40 million Biodefense Commercialization Fund to accelerate the development and commercialization of innovations targeting infectious disease threats while fostering new life science businesses and industry growth within New York State.  The Fund is being administered by the New York State Urban Development Corporation d/b/a Empire State Development (“ESD”), and is intended to be a working capital only fund.

ESD invites Incorporated Startup Companies and Academic Institutions to submit short proposals for the Fall 2022 Cycle call for applications. Incorporated startup companies developing promising solutions to mitigate infectious disease threats and academic institutions with translational innovations on the cusp of moving into a commercial development phase are encouraged to apply. Of specific interest are solutions and approaches with high commercial potential. 

All grant awardees will be assigned an Industry Mentor to support advancement of their research programs and guide commercialization. Awardees will also have access to supplemental educational sessions offered by Columbia’s Lab to Market (L2M) Accelerator Network.


Please reference the ESD Biodefense Commercialization Fund Guidelines for additional detail.

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Areas of Interest

Applications from therapeutic, diagnostic, digital epidemiology and pathogen surveillance related projects with a translational/commercialization trajectory are encouraged.  Special consideration may be given to small molecule therapeutics and novel platform diagnostics targeting COVID, its variants, or other infectious disease threats.

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Startup Companies

All startup companies must meet the criteria below to be eligible for funding.

  • Incorporated company (LLC, C-Corp, S-Corp, etc.)
  • Based in New York State or relocating to New York State
  • Recently raised or in the process of raising Seed, Series A or Series B funding
  • Expect to remain and continue conducting business in New York State for a minimum of 3 years after completion of grant period

Academic Institutions

To qualify for funding, academic institutions must be based in New York State and utilize this funding mechanism to advance translational innovations towards commercialization and a near-term University exit. 

More details about funding criteria can be found in the NYS Biodefense Commercialization Fund Guidelines.

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Grants from the New York State Biodefense Commercialization Fund aim to advance commercial development of solutions for serious infectious disease threats. Applicants from incorporated Startup Companies are eligible to receive funding of $1 million to $4 million (to be used for Working Capital Direct Costs only). There will be a requirement for matching for funding of $2 million and above.

 Academic Institutions are eligible to receive grants of $250,000 to $500,000 (inclusive of a maximum 25% Indirect Cost rate). Final funding amounts will be determined by an Expert Review Panel and are expected to be applied to no more than three years of project expenses. 

Grant funding must be used for expenses directly related to the awarded project. The mechanism of funding and allowable use of funds are outlined in the Fund Guidelines.

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Application Instructions

All Submissions must be received by 5:00 PM EDT on Thursday, October 6th, 2022

Please complete online application found at

All information included in the Short proposal should be non-confidential

Please allow time to create a Submittable account, if you do not already have one.

1. Areas that will be covered on the online proposal form for both Companies and Academic applicants include:

  • Project Title
  • Project Lead (Scientific or Business lead)
  • Non-Confidential Abstract (300 words)
  • Project Team (300 words) - ​A list of the business lead (If applicable), clinical and basic scientists and a brief summary of their area of expertise. Please do not include full biosketches.
  • Stage of Financing (Startup applicants only – 100 words) - Please include current state of fundraising (Seed, Series A, Series B, etc.) and/or total amount of funding raised to date. If requesting $2 million or greater, please indicate if matching funds are currently available.
  • Submission Category (select all that apply)
    1. Therapeutics
    2. Diagnostics
    3. Digital epidemiology
    4. Pathogen surveillance and containment
    5. Other
  • Project Description and Preclinical/Clinical Support (300 words) - A summary of the project with preliminary data, the current stage of development and plans to reach next inflection point.
  • Unmet Clinical, Environmental or Technical Need (300 words) - A brief description of the current need and desired use or indication. 
  • Competitive Landscape (300 words) -A brief description of solutions currently in use and how this innovation, if developed, is an improvement over currently available solutions. 
  • High-level Commercial Development Strategy (300 words) (*Required for startup applicants, optional for academic applicants) - A brief description of the current standard in use or non-approved competitive approaches under development and how your innovation is an improvement over these solutions.
  • Topline Project Needs and Budget (up to $4,000,000 for Companies; up to $500,000 for Academic Projects)


    Requested Funding

    Staff salary & benefits (indicate # of personnel)


    Materials & Supplies


    Subcontracts/Consulting/Collaborators/Core Facility Fees


    Indirect costs (academic applicants only, cannot exceed 25% of total budget requested)


    Describe the resources and expertise needed (working capital only) to progress the project and the amount of funding required to support this next stage of development (a detailed budget will be requested if invited to submit a long proposal).
  • Intellectual Property - List IP portfolio

2. Complete the online form for each section and submit by 5:00pm EDT on Thursday, October 6th.

Short proposals will be reviewed by the Fund Administrator for eligibility and then by an Expert Review Panel, which will score based on translational and commercialization potential, as well as scientific and clinical merit and feasibility. A subset of applicants will be invited to submit a long proposal, which will require more detail regarding key research and development milestones, as well as a detailed budget.  Details of the long proposal application requirements and format will be provided to applicants invited to submit a long application. 
Awardees are expected to be announced in Spring of 2023.

The review process will safeguard against any conflicts of interest on the review panel. All reviewers will be required to sign and adhere to a Code of Conduct and follow its requirements, which may require recusal under certain circumstances.

We suggest applicants provide sufficient information to allow for robust review of the project but should not disclose any information they are bound to hold confidential or chemical structures that have not yet been vetted through IP Counsel. If you have any questions prior to submitting an application, please reach out to [email protected]; for any questions related to using the Submittable platform, please reach out to [email protected].

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Previous Awardees

The first round of applications for the Biodefense Commercialization Fund closed on October 4, 2021. Awardees from the first round of applications were announced in a press release issued April 11, 2022 by Governor Kathy Hochul.

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If you would like to stay updated on future ​news about the Biodefense Commercialization Fund, please complete the form here.

For any other questions, email [email protected].

Please note: Columbia Technology Ventures’ Lab-to-Market (L2M) Accelerator Network is collaborating with Empire State Development (ESD) on the administration of the New York State Biodefense Commercialization Fund. Applicants may receive email communication from L2M on behalf of ESD.