New York Genome Center Launches Unprecedented Collaboration of 11 Leading Medical/Research Institutions

NEW YORK, Nov. 3, 2011 – Today the New York Genome Center (NYGC) officially launched what will become one of the largest genomic facilities in North America, establishing an unprecedented, large- scale collaborative venture in genomic medicine. Eleven of the country’s world-class private and academic medical centers form the foundation of NYGC, with support from the City of New York as well as private companies and foundations. Together, the partner institutions reach well over five million patients and are known as leaders in a variety of medical specialties where gene-based medicine will have a huge impact in the coming years.

NYGC’s collaborating academic medical centers and research universities include Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory, Columbia University, Cornell University/Weill Cornell Medical College, Memorial Sloan- Kettering Cancer Center, Mount Sinai Medical Center, NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital, New York University/NYU School of Medicine, North Shore-LIJ Health System, The Jackson Laboratory, The Rockefeller University and Stony Brook University. The Hospital for Special Surgery is an associate founding member.

Setting aside traditional competitiveness among nationally and internationally recognized leaders in research and medicine, these leading medical institutions, along with technology and pharmaceutical innovators, have come together behind NYGC with the goal of significantly accelerating progress toward a new era of genomic research and having a profound impact on patient care and clinical outcomes in the near future.

"The commitment of 11 leading New York research and healthcare centers to form the New York Genome Center shows the prominent role that genomics will play in the future of medical research and clinical care," said Eric D. Green, MD, PhD, director of the National Human Genome Research Institute at the National Institutes of Health. "The new center is poised to help make genomic medicine a reality."

“The New York Genome Center represents the largest collaboration to date among New York City-based biomedical and clinical research organizations. It will position its institutional partners to be at the forefront of the rapidly evolving field of genomic science and enhance the City’s position as one of the foremost centers for medical research,” noted Russell Carson, general partner, Welsh, Carson, Anderson & Stowe, who serves as chairman of the New York Genome Center.

An independent, nonprofit consortium, NYGC will establish one of the largest genomics facilities in North America. The Center will begin operations as early as spring 2012. Its 120,000-square-foot facility, designed by Elkus Manfredi Architects, will be located in Manhattan.

Leveraging NY’s Diversity and Biomedical Strength

Through this collaboration, scientists and physicians from member institutions will share diverse clinical and genomic data on a scale not yet realized in order to discover the molecular underpinnings of disease, identify and validate biomarkers, and accelerate development of novel diagnostics and targeted therapeutics to improve clinical care.

That these institutions serve one of the most diverse populations in the world – the “melting pot” that is New York City – exemplifies the ability for this collaboration to build a data set that is representative of the national and global population. The combined scientific and clinical breadth of the institutions, unparalleled diversity of the patient populations they represent, access to health outcomes data, and the potential combined scale of basic and clinical research made possible through NYGC make it unique among genomics centers. The collaborations within the biomedical ecosystem, including technology, pharmaceutical and diagnostic companies will provide researchers with rapid, seamless translation of discoveries.

“The New York Genome Center will make it possible to share extraordinarily rich and diverse data on an unprecedented scale, and allow us to support the world’s premier research and medical institutions, as well as their diagnostic and pharmaceutical partners,” said Nancy J. Kelley, JD, MPP, Founding Executive Director of the New York Genome Center. “NYGC will be a powerful engine for breakthrough genomic science, as well as for commercial development, in the New York region.”

Genomics are in fact already a significant growth factor in the economy, representing a $7+ billion industry. NYGC will leverage existing strengths in genomics and attract new talent to create a hub where companies that develop applications of this research will drive the future economy in the New York region. By 2025, the economic impact associated with commercial spin-off activities of NYGC is expected to represent the largest component of the total impact associated with the Center.

Launched with a substantial portion of the required $125 million in investment commitments from diverse public and private sources, NYGC is being funded by its Institutional Founding Members, the Simons Foundation, Bloomberg Philanthropies, Russell L. Carson, Anthony B. Evnin, WilmerHale, other private foundations and individual philanthropists, and pharmaceutical and technology collaborators. Other support has been committed from New York City Economic Development Corporation and the New York City Investment Fund.

NYGC is working with commercial and technology collaborators, including Illumina, a leading developer, manufacturer, and marketer of life science tools and integrated systems for the analysis of genetic variation and function, and Roche, a global healthcare company.

“The launch of the New York Genome Center represents an exceptional step forward in gaining a deeper understanding of the clinical relevance of genetics and ultimately improving human health,” said Jay Flatley, president and CEO of Illumina. “Illumina and NYGC have a shared vision, and we’re confident Illumina’s innovative technologies will play a major role in enabling the facility’s success in achieving its goals.”

Leading the Genomics Revolution

The technology that launched the biomedical revolution and made the Human Genome Project possible – DNA sequencing – is once again on the cusp of transforming biomedical research and healthcare. While the decade following the sequencing of the human genome has contributed to our fundamental knowledge of biology and disease, the next decade will be marked by a transition to clinical care based on genomic information. Advancements being made in DNA sequencing technology are leading to a revolution in the practice of medicine. This revolution is unfolding in a variety of ways. The cost and duration of genomic sequencing is rapidly falling, the federal government is making a strong commitment to support full implementation of electronic health records, and the number of targeted drugs and companion diagnostics entering clinical practice continues to rise.

“Completion of the human genome project 10 years ago, and the recent breathtaking technological advances in DNA sequencing and computer hardware provide an unparalleled opportunity to advance basic medical science, drug discovery, and healthcare delivery,” said Thomas Maniatis, PhD, chair of biochemistry and molecular biophysics at Columbia University, one of the founding institutions. “The New York Genome Center will provide the opportunity for basic scientists and physicians from extraordinary universities, research institutions and hospitals to work together to transform the complexity of genomic information into an understanding and treatment of human diseases.”

Although much work remains to be done to realize genetic discoveries in the clinic, the resources invested by the NYGC today will enable scientists and clinicians to bring us closer to better health outcomes for patients in the future.

NYGC: Full-Genome Sequencing for Research, Diagnostic, Clinical Applications

Opening in spring 2012, NYGC expects to serve as a unique and groundbreaking interdisciplinary resource for New York’s biomedical leaders. Consistent access to large-scale but cost-effective gene sequencing, data mining, and leading edge instrumentation are important elements of the plans. NYGC will offer an initial technology platform of next-generation sequencers and will scale up to be fully operational within a year. Its facility will house laboratory space for principal investigators, sequencing instrumentation, robotics for high-throughput library preparation, IT storage hardware for buffering and final data storage, bioinformatics, and computational capabilities.

NYGC staff will be able to sequence full human genomes and fulfill custom sequencing requirements. On-staff experts will be able to take a biological sample and provide a full clinical interpretation. Besides clinical diagnostic and research work, NYGC services will support investigator research projects, collaborative work with academic institutions, and industrial contract work.

NYGC hopes to interface with computational capabilities at academic and medical institutions in order to allow seamless collaboration among institutions and scientists. Collaborative training programs are also planned to expand recruitment and development of talented genomics and bioinformatics researchers and clinicians in the New York area,

“We hope to provide an important competitive advantage to the New York research community as investigators compete for NIH funding, federal grants and corporate funding,” said Ms. Kelley, who led the development of the East River Science Park in Manhattan six years ago.

Follow New York Genome Center online: Website: Facebook: Twitter: @nygenome (!/nygenome)

Media Contact

Lynn Blenkhorn Feinstein Kean Healthcare (508) 851-0930


DNA, Eric D. Green, Illumina, Mount Sinai Medical Center, National Human Genome Research Institute, New York, New York City, New York City Economic Development Corporation, NYGC