12/21/2012 11:31:15 AM
The Business Review: What biotech (and Albany) needs
The Business Review
Albany, NY - Both New York and the Capital Region have had success in biotech—the industry supports 250,000 jobs, for instance—but insiders complain that the sector is fractured and often loses out on jobs to other states.
What’s holding it back?
Thomas D’Ambra, co-founder of Albany Molecular Research Inc., a drug discovery company, says biotech lacks precisely what helped inspire success in New York’s nanotech sector—a centralized, crystallizing figure to lead the way.
“You almost have to have a czar there in the form of Alain Kaloyeros, with the vision and knowledge that he has,” said D’Ambra, who’s also president and CEO of Albany Molecular (Nasdaq: AMRI). “You need someone like Kaloyeros on the biotech side.”
Kaloyeros is the CEO of the College of Nanoscale Science and Engineering, ground zero for the state’s nanotechnology efforts. Based at the University at Albany, Kaloyeros has helped CNSE secure $14 billion in high-tech investments. More than 2,700 scientists, researchers, engineers, students and faculty work at CNSE. Among its 250-plus partners are the heavyweights of the semiconductor industry: IBM, Intel, GlobalFoundries, Sematech, Samsung and Toshiba.
Biotech needs that czar, D’Ambra said, more than a committee. Kaloyeros, D’Ambra said, “has done more for nanotech investments in the state than a council would do. When you try to do something by committee you get paralyzed.”