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Mayor de Blasio visits Rockefeller for tour and biotech conference

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio hosted a life sciences roundtable, featuring leaders from the pharmaceutical, biotech, and venture capital industries, at The Rockefeller University this week, part of an effort by the city to highlight investments in this sector and solicit ideas to encourage continued growth. The meeting attracted nearly 30 specially invited business and institutional executives.

campus tour with Tony Coles, Bill de Blasio, and Marc Tessier-Lavigne

Marc Tessier-Lavigne (right), leads a tour for New York City mayor Bill de Blasio (center) and entrepreneur Tony Coles.

In addition to serving as host for the meeting, Rockefeller president Marc Tessier-Lavigne led mayor de Blasio on a tour of the campus, introduced him to members of his laboratory, and outlined plans for the new Stavros Niarchos Foundation–David Rockefeller River Campus.

The meeting grew out of the mayor’s desire to continue to expand on policies that over the past five years have helped spur 15 percent growth in the city’s life sciences employment. The city has pushed to create affordable wet-lab space for start-up companies, established a life sciences fund to encourage entrepreneurship, and made investments in programs to train and mentor founders and managers of life science companies.

Alicia Glen, deputy mayor for housing and economic development, and Tony Coles, founder and chief executive officer of Yummanity Therapeutics, joined Tessier-Lavigne and Rockefeller Executive Vice President Timothy O’Connor for the tour and helped lead the meeting.

“New York City has made significant progress in recent years in developing its commercial life-sciences industry,” said Tessier-Lavigne. “Both Mayor de Blasio and Deputy Mayor Glen are committed to sustaining this growth, and are working actively with industry leaders to help the bioscience sector reach its full potential. Thanks to their ongoing work with groups such as those invited to this week’s bioscience roundtable, New York is well positioned to attract new companies and new investment in this area, with benefits for the local economy and for humanity.”