February 24, 2017

Page 10

10 • THE EASTCHESTER REVIEW • February 24, 2017

Business Briefs BioInc@NYMC forum focuses on growing, supporting innovation

Westchester County Executive Rob Astorino offered congratulations and thanks to Danone North America, which recently announced it will remain in Westchester County and move its headquarter offices and accessory food laboratory to downtown White Plains. The new location at 100 Bloomingdale Road will become home to more than 400 Danoners beginning early next year during a move to a re-imagined space that previously served as a retail location. “Danone North America is a terrific company,” Astorino said. “Westchester is proud to be a past partner and is excited to be part of its future success. Many thanks to Danone for its continuing investment in Westchester.” Danone’s North American companies, which include well-known brands such as Dannon and Evian, said in a press release that it recognizes that today’s talent prefers to be in an open and flexible working environment that inspires creativity and inclusiveness. Key factors in the relocation decision were the development of a modern, flexible workplace that will fully leverage technology, enhance collaboration, and align with the company’s unique culture and global brand, along with the location in a vibrant community accessible via mass transit. “We prioritized efficient and flexible design solutions for the changing style of our workplace that we envision for our future,” said Dessislava Miteva, the company’s chief people officer and vice president of human resources. “Increasingly we are working in open and flexible spaces that can adapt to the continually evolving needs of our company and our people. We want as much open space as possible to maintain the sense of community we currently have, to encourage informal and ad-hoc communication, and to ensure as much freedom and autonomy as possible in an energetic and exciting workplace. Additionally, being within walking distance to restaurants, shopping and mass transit are important for our company.” Economic viability of the needed construction and ongoing operating and tax considerations were also factors in the site selection, the company said. Danone North America has been working closely with the state of New York, Westchester County and the city of White Plains to secure the assistance needed to help support Danone North America’s growth agenda. Pivotal to Danone North America’s plans were the approval of a zoning amendment by White Plains to allow the company to move its accessory food laboratory, as well as the financial assistance awarded by the county’s Industrial Development Agency and by the state of New York, Empire State Development through its Excelsior Jobs Program and Capital Grant programs. This support will allow the company to expand its operations, attract new talent, update its office design, and retain its research and development team’s innovative accessory food laboratory. “We are deeply grateful for the support and patience of the city, county and state, which have helped to keep our company in the area and allow us to significantly update and upgrade the setting in which we work, which will allow us to continue to be a significant contributor to community stability and growth here in White Plains,” Miteva said.

Innovative industries, including biomed and tech, have put the Hudson Valley on the map and attracted researchers, entrepreneurs, and startups to New York state. Expert panelists shared their thoughts on growing innovation in New York, the impact it has on the economy, and obstacles that researchers and inventors face. As 2017 begins, these industries look to Congress to protect their intellectual property rights to their inventions, technologies, and advances in medicine that make them successful job-creators in the Hudson Valley. The panel was held at BioInc at New York Medical College, BioInc@NYMC, and moderated by Randi Schwartz, director of BioInc@NYMC and associate dean for academic administration at New York Medical College School of Medicine. The panel featured experts including Larry Gottlieb, president and CEO of the Hudson Valley Economic Development Corporation, HVEDC; Amy Gallup Klann, Ph.D., counsel at Leason Ellis; Marc Zemel, managing director at MKM Ventures, CEO and co-founder of MOE Medical Devices and Retia Medical; Josephine Young, associate at Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison LLP; and Brian Pomper, executive director of the Innovation Alliance. Nathan Tinker, executive director of NewYorkBIO, was a guest speaker. The health care industry in the Hudson Valley, which includes pharmaceutical, biotech, and medical companies, is the largest area employer, as with 2015 data gathered by the HVEDC reporting 158,707 jobs. Additionally, area medical research universities like panel host New York Medical College provide a highly skilled workforce, and also fuel a need for inventors in the life sciences. “BioInc@NYMC is like no other resource in the Hudson Valley. We’re proud to offer biotech entrepreneurs and startups a place to launch successful businesses. We welcome the Innovation Alliance to New York, in an ongoing effort to connect our local innovators with a strong network and up-to-date information on issues that impact them directly,” Schwartz said. “Innovation isn’t a linear concept. Even though we wish it were to be as simple as having an idea, executing a plan, and seeing success, to be truly competitive and successful in 2017 we must take many factors into consideration. Knowing the regulatory policies in place, the patent system to protect our work, the latest in academia and research, how to connect with investors—innovators take an idea and create so much more. Like any attentive constituency, the Innovation Alliance exists to help educate and advise from a first-hand perspective, and we are proud to be here today in the Hudson Valley alongside such great talent,” Pomper said. “New York is home to a bioscience community that is unparalleled—not only do we have one of the largest communities in the world, but the strongest in terms of resources, jobs, academia, clinical trials, and innovators. NewYorkBIO exists to support the development and growth of New York’s life science industry and today’s discussion explored some of the most important issues to our members, including protecting intellectual property rights and supporting patent holders. I’ve had a chance to meet some of the Hudson Valley’s inventors and patent holders at today’s

event, and I’m happy to be here at BioInc at New York Medical College to visit their innovative space,” Tinker said. “Today’s panel demonstrated not only the variety in talent in the Hudson Valley, but the variety of opportunities and resources available to entrepreneurs, innovators, and researchers. My experience in biology, coupled with my current legal practice focus on the biotechnology and pharmaceutical sectors, has allowed me to experience many important proceedings and analyses,” Gallup Klann said. Zemel shared his story of innovation and growth as an entrepreneur here in the Hudson Valley. As the CEO and co-founder of two startup, he knows the challenges of developing specialized technology and growing a business. Since 2011, he has helped oversee the advancement of MOE Medical Devices, a startup developing nanosecond pulsed electrical plasma treatments for dermatology, and Retia Medical, a cardiovascular monitoring company, in his role as CEO. Additionally, Zemel holds 18 patents (issued or pending) and understands the importance of the U.S. patent system. “I’m a patent-holder, and I have worked long hours over the years to bring my ideas to fruition. I’m proud to call the Hudson Valley home, and to be surrounded by support I need to survive. Our elected officials must hold the highest priority in protecting the small inventors, like me, who contribute to the American economy. This includes voting against legislation that weakens our patent system—for without the patent system, I wouldn’t be here today,” Zemel said. Startups have found success in Westchester County due to its close proximity to New York City, the opportunity to collaborate with other small and mid-sized businesses in the area, and the business-friendly environment fostered by the HVEDC. The Hudson Valley manufacturing industry is an integral partner of the area’s biomed and tech innovators and has contributed 44,800 jobs in the region, according to a 2016 NYS Labor Department Report. This industry innovates new processes and technologies that help area businesses produce a more advanced product for the client, in a shorter amount of time. “The Hudson Valley Economic Development Corporation is proud of how far our region has

come, in terms of innovation and job growth. NY BioHud Valley is a great example of how we’ve taken a cluster and turned it into a strong network of biomed and biotech companies—and it is vital we stay on the cutting edge of policy changes and proposals to help our members succeed and bring jobs to New York,” Gottlieb said. In 2016, the U.S. Department of Commerce found that intellectual property industries supported 45 million jobs and contributed $6 trillion dollars to the U.S. gross domestic product. Yet also in 2016, legislation was introduced in Congress that proposed broad changes to the patent system that would hinder the ability for inventors to protect their intellectual property rights. At the BioInc@ NYMC panel, innovators and patent-holders in the Hudson Valley voiced their concern for potentially harmful legislation in 2017. A working paper conducted by Harvard Business School and New York University professors for the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office in 2016 found that innovation and startups benefit immensely from the protections patents offer. Obtaining a patent sets a startup up for long-term success: employment growth increases by 36 percent after the first patent is approved, and sales growth increases by 51 percent over the next five years. The study also found that patents help many innovators reach the ultimate financial goal. A startup with a patent approval is twice as likely to end up listed on the stock exchange. American innovators, abundant in the Hudson Valley, look to lawmakers to prioritize policies that protect and promote their work. Although much remains to be seen as the new incoming administration sets its legislative priorities, innovation remains the backbone of the Hudson Valley and the U.S. The BioInc@NYMC panel and event offered a unique opportunity for interaction and discussion between experts, experienced entrepreneurs, and small inventors alike. The next Business Briefs section will run in February. Please send any submission for our February edition to news@hometwn.com, with “Business” in the subject line of your email. Each submission may include one picture. If you have any questions, email us at news@hometwn.com.

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Astorino thanks Danone for continued Westchester investment

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