teal background with semi opaque gold design. "Life Sciences" in white with the ESD logo in white

Small Business Week Spotlight: Life Sciences

ESD’s Life Science Division manages a diverse portfolio of programs aimed at benefiting small life science businesses and start-ups across the State. With its core mission of developing the State’s life science ecosystem and fostering and creating life science clusters, ESD’s life science programs have provided many small businesses and start-ups with financial assistance and access to the tools they need to grow and help translate promising academic research to commercial viability.   

The Life Science Division’s programming includes a mix of funding opportunities that provides grant support to small businesses with promising and innovative solutions to combat diseases and improve the health of New Yorkers, assists research institutions and academic centers to create small spin-out companies from promising research projects and develop the entrepreneurs and small business leaders of tomorrow, and fosters existing start-ups through life science incubator programs that provide the necessary tools to successfully navigate clinical trials and make meaningful connections with venture capital investors.   

Key programs benefiting small businesses include: 

  • Biodefense Commercialization Fund Provides grants and mentoring services to life science start-ups and academic institutions involved in the commercialization of innovative solutions for severe infectious diseases, with the goal of improving New York’s resilience and preparedness against these threats. New York start-ups developing promising diagnostics, vaccines, therapeutics, and other innovations to prevent, treat or mitigate serious infectious disease threats may receive up to $4 million in grants. 
  • IndieBio NY – In 2019, ESD signed a $25 million contract with SOSV, a leading life science venture capital firm, to establish IndieBio New York. IndieBio New York selects approximately 10 start-ups twice yearly from applicants from across the globe for an intensive four-month training program. The program provides investment, laboratory space, mentoring, and vital skills necessary to thrive in the dynamic life science industry. 
  • Empire Discovery Institute (EDI) – EDI is an integrated drug discovery and development accelerator located in upstate New York, formed as an equal partnership between the University at Buffalo, the University of Rochester, and RPCCC and represents a nimble and transformative approach to the creation of new medicines. Faced with the "valley of death," a funding challenge that threatens many life science start-ups during early-stage research, EDIwas conceived as a solution to bridge this gap and expedite the journey from discovery and pre-clinical research to commercial viability. 

You can learn more about all of ESD’s Life Sciences programs on the Life Sciences website. For information on all of ESD’s small business programs, please visit our website