State to pour $35 million into Clarkson University biotechnology venture
Wednesday, November 20, 2013 - 3:04 pm

The state plans to pour up to $35 million over the next five years into a biotechnology research program between Clarkson University and the Trudeau Institute of Saranac Lake.

The partnership aims to use North Country resources to form a “world-class” biotech research and development enterprise, according to a press release from Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s office. Cuomo said the plan will “spur the commercialization process and drive new opportunities in the industry,” as well as “establish the region as a premier center of biotechnology research and development.”

The state will invest up to $35 million over five years to support the effort, including establishing and coordinating scientific research and expanding education and technology-based economic development, the release said.

Cuomo claims the plan will attract new investment, as well as save more than 80 existing jobs at Trudeau. He also believes the partnership will lead to the creation of new technologies, which will lead to new companies that will bring “hundreds” of jobs to the North Country, the release said.

“New York State has a major asset in both Clarkson University and in the Trudeau Institute and we must harness these strengths to continue to strengthen our innovation economy,” Cuomo said. “This transformational partnership will allow for the best and brightest minds to collaborate and undertake world-class research and development, building the region into a global leader in the biotech industry and driving new opportunities and jobs in northern New York."

Clarkson and the Trudeau Institute, a center for immunological research, have separately worked on high-tech research, according to the press release. Trudeau has focused on immunology and infectious disease, while Clarkson’s work has focused on engineering, science, and entrepreneurship.

The funding will provide for operational costs and lab improvements at Trudeau and Clarkson, and allow for the implementation of new programs that will assure financial sustainability, particularly for Trudeau.

“Clarkson’s research portfolio is accelerating in biotech and health sciences, and utilizes an interdisciplinary model that frequently brings faculty and industry together to solve complex problems and find practical solutions,” said Clarkson University President Tony Collins. “For example,” he said, “faculty members in our Center for Advanced Materials Processing are actively involved in the development of innovative drug delivery systems using our deep understanding of the chemical composition of new medications. Together, Trudeau and Clarkson have an opportunity to transform the body of scientific knowledge that will emerge through collaboration as well as bring direct benefit to the North Country’s economy through technology-based innovation and new educational opportunities,”

The pairing will combine the strengths of the two institutions, said Cuomo staffers. “Working together, the two institutions have the capacity to cover the full spectrum of biotechnology and dramatically energize the research to commercialization biotech product process,” according the press release.

Research plans include the use of fine particles for medicine, pharmacy, biotech, nanotech, and bioengineering, as well as instrumentation and devices.

“It’s about saving lives. That’s what the scientists and staff are working to do. This five-year investment will have enormous benefits for decades,” said state Sen. Betty Little, who represents the St. Lawrence County towns of Parishville, Lawrence, Clare, Colton, Hopkinton and Piercefield. “The collaboration with Clarkson is very exciting and begins a promising new chapter for both wonderful institutions.”

“This is an exciting day for the North Country,” said Assemblywoman Janet Duprey, who represents portions of St. Lawrence County, including Brasher, Hopkinton, Lawrence, and Piercefield.. “We are thrilled that this caliber of science research and development is coming to our community. Thank you to Governor Cuomo and the state for continued investments in the region,”