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City’s blooming bio-tech biz gets a shot in the arm from big money


By Linda O’Flanagan

A company that raises capital for bio-tech start-ups is expanding its own footprint  in the Alexandria Center for Life Science on Manhattan’s east side.

Accelerator Corporation, a life science investment vehicle for investment in emerging biotechnology research, announced the expansion with the closing of its Accelerator IV fund with $51.1 million in capital commitments that it will tap as it expands its operations in Seattle to New York City.

Accelerator will pump venture capital into the city’s flourishing cluster of bio-tech firms and support entrepreneurial leadership and product development capabilities.

“There is a funding gap for innovators looking to build new companies, as more and more venture investors are turning their attention to de-risked, later-stage developmental therapies instead of early research,” said Thong Q. Le, chief executive officer of Accelerator.


“We have had tremendous success in bridging this gap in Seattle, with more than half of our companies graduating to successful venture rounds and achieving development successes. We recognize a similar gap in New York City where funding is available for developed companies but in short supply for early-stage research, and we look forward to this strategic expansion with our new round of committed capital.”

Over the last 10 years, and through its first three rounds of committed capital, Accelerator has developed 12 early-stage biotechnology companies in Seattle and provided them with resources to give each company a greater opportunity for early success.

The fourth commitment round includes return investors Alexandria Venture Investments, ARCH Venture Partners, and WRF Capital, alongside new strategic investors, including Eli Lilly and Company, Harris & Harris Group, Inc., Johnson & Johnson Development Corporation, The Partnership Fund for New York City, and Pfizer Venture Investments. Accelerator will have dedicated capital commitments for both Seattle and New York City.

“We believe that there is an unparalleled opportunity to support exciting early-stage life science research in both New York City and Seattle. Accelerator will provide a big boost to help foster innovation in both these locales,” said John Lechleiter, Ph.D., chairman and chief executive officer of Eli Lilly and Company.

In addition to providing venture capital support, Accelerator provides its portfolio companies with access to leadership and critical product development capabilities, including access to resources from partner organizations.

In New York City, Accelerator will work in partnership with seven top-tier institutions, including Albert Einstein College of Medicine of Yeshiva University, Columbia University, Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, New York University, The Rockefeller University, and Weill Cornell Medical College.

In Seattle, Accelerator has expanded its partners beyond the Institute for Systems Biology to include Benaroya Research Institute at Virginia Mason, Infectious Disease Research Institute (IDRI), Pacific Northwest Diabetes Research Institute, Puget Sound Blood Center Research Institute, Seattle BioMed, Seattle Children’s Research Institute and Washington State University.

Collectively, these institutions will provide Accelerator companies with access to technology development capabilities and scientific expertise.

“We are excited to welcome Accelerator to New York City, and look forward to partnering with their outstanding team to transform some of our region’s most promising scientific discoveries into life science start-up companies with a real shot at success,” said Marc Tessier-Lavigne, Ph.D., president of Rockefeller University, a new Accelerator institution partner.


Joel Marcus, co-founder, chairman and chief executive officer of Alexandria Real Estate Equities, Inc. (NYSE:ARE) and Alexandria Venture Investments noted, “With the opening of Accelerator at the Alexandria Center for Life Science in Manhattan’s East Side Medical Corridor, Alexandria will add a strong array of disruptive clinical-stage opportunities as well as life science platform companies to its all-star roster of client tenants on our world-class urban campus. ”

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