Merck’s ILÚM Health Solutions Will Invest up to $48 Million and Create up to 115 New Jobs Over Five Years
September 21, 2018
New Partnership to Develop State-of-the-Art Research Program and Platform to Detect, Treat and Prevent the Spread of Infectious Disease
New York State-Governor Cuomo today announced a groundbreaking partnership between ILÚM Health Solutions, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Merck & Co, OpGen, and the New York State Department of Health to develop a state-of-the-art research program to detect, track and manage antimicrobial-resistant infections at healthcare institutions statewide. ILÚM will partner with the Wadsworth Center and DOH to develop an Infectious Disease Digital Health & Precision Medicine Platform, connecting healthcare institutions to DOH to better track and prevent the spread of infectious disease.
“By investing in public health institutions and innovative research, we are working to protect New Yorkers against harmful infectious diseases while cementing our status as a leader in the growing life sciences sector” Governor Cuomo said. “This groundbreaking partnership will create new, cutting-edge tools to bring life-changing discoveries out of the lab and into the world, moving our economy forward and creating a stronger, healthier New York for all.”
“Through public-private partnerships and investments in advanced research, New York State is working to help curb the spread of infectious diseases,” said Lieutenant Governor Kathy Hochul. “This new partnership will make significant strides in detecting and managing infections, helping to ensure the health and safety of New Yorkers. ILÚM Health Solutions’ relocation to the Capital Region will also further our efforts to combat infectious disease and create new opportunities and jobs in the area.”
ILÚM’s infectious disease platform and real-time information service delivers relevant insights to providers to help support decision making while also tracking patients and outcomes. The surveillance software will allow healthcare providers to detect, track and manage antimicrobial-resistant organisms within their facilities. In addition, using molecular technology provided by OpGen, the collected data will aid in the development of new diagnostic tools to identify drug-resistant pathogens and facilitate effective treatments.
Upon achieving certain milestones and entering into a definitive agreement with DOH, ILÚM will relocate its commercial enterprise to the Albany region, creating up to 115 new jobs and investing up to $48.6 million over five years. This commitment is based on achieving an initial milestone at 12 months and demonstrating the efficiency and efficacy of a pilot program in select health systems. If the pilot is successful, then DOH, ILÚM and OpGen plan to expand the program throughout the state. The New York State Life Sciences Initiative will commit $22.4 million to this partnership.
ILÚM’s relocation to the Capital Region will serve as a clear illustration of the distinct commercial benefit of the unique scientific assets of the Wadsworth lab, encouraging other companies to collaborate with Wadsworth and engage in innovative partnerships that offer economic benefits for the Capital Region and New York State. Moreover, this project, in addition to the partnership between Wadsworth and Regeneron Pharmaceuticals to research Lyme Disease announced in July, will further develop the region’s life science industry cluster, creating labor mobility and acting as a magnet for other life science companies.
Empire State Development President, CEO & Commissioner Howard Zemsky said, “This exciting public-private partnership harnesses the resources of New York’s premier public health institution and one of the largest pharmaceutical companies in the world to tackle some of the greatest challenges facing human health today. New York is cultivating a strong life science ecosystem where companies have the research pipeline they need to grow, expand, and innovate.”
New York State Health Commissioner Dr. Howard A. Zucker said, “Under Governor Cuomo’s leadership, New York State is setting the standard in addressing the threat of antimicrobial resistance. New York’s Wadsworth Center is uniquely qualified to partner with ILÚM Health Solutions as part of our response to this public health concern.”
Paul Edwards, Managing Director, ILÚM said, “The threat of antimicrobial resistance impacts us all. Innovative public-private partnerships like this one will bring science and communities together to protect the welfare of all citizens. We will be using health information technology to develop a digital framework that can gather data and information locally, and communicate and enable strategies and programs to combat the threat of resistance state-wide.”
The groundbreaking collaboration between ILÚM and Wadsworth builds on Governor Cuomo’s $750 million commitment to support construction of a new worldclass, stateoftheart Wadsworth Center public health laboratory in the Capital Region that will promote collaborative public-private research and development partnerships. Redesigned as “A Lab for the 21st Century,” Wadsworth will function as a magnet for future private sector investments where employees, visiting researchers, company executives, and academic partners collaborate, accelerating innovation and value creation. A modern facility and committed co-investment will serve as a flagship project for New York State, signaling a strong and long-term commitment to the Capital Region’s life sciences industry. As one of the world’s largest public health research laboratories, Wadsworth is positioned to coordinate the work of New York’s vast network of research and clinical institutions to leverage their commercial potential.
New York State is securing private partners to collaborate with the Wadsworth Center as part of its comprehensive strategy to build a self-sustaining, state-wide life science ecosystem that will capitalize on the outstanding basic bio-medical research conducted across the state.
The Wadsworth Center laboratories stand at the forefront of biomedical and environmental sciences and their interplay. The Center serves a vital role in the Department of Health’s efforts to protect and promote the health of New Yorkers. Building on more than a century of excellence as the state’s public health laboratory, the Center continues as a premier biomedical institute that merges clinical and environmental testing with fundamental, applied and translational research. Today, Wadsworth Center scientists use both classical and contemporary approaches to study environmental and biological questions related to human health and disease. They develop advanced methods to identify microbial or chemical threats; study drug resistance, emerging infections, and environmental exposures; manage the country’s most comprehensive diagnostic and environmental testing laboratory permit program; oversee extramural research programs on stem cells, breast cancer and spinal cord injury; and train the next generation of scientists through undergraduate, graduate, postdoctoral and visiting scientist programs.
New York State’s $620 Million Life Science Initiative
In the FY 2018 budget, New York State enacted a $620 million initiative to spur the growth of a world-class life science research cluster in New York, as well as expand the state’s ability to commercialize this research and grow the economy.
This multi-faceted initiative includes $100 million to expand the Excelsior Jobs Program Tax Credit across the life sciences industry, $100 million for a life sciences research and development refundable tax credit program, and $320 million in other forms of investment. This includes state capital grants to support the development of wet-lab and innovation space, operating support and investment capital for early stage life science companies that leverages an additional match of at least $100 million from the private sector.
The Life Science sector encompasses the fields of biotechnology, pharmaceuticals, biomedical technologies, life systems technologies, and includes organizations and institutions that devote the majority of their efforts to the various stages of research, development, technology transfer and commercialization. Every day, firms in this sector are developing new medical and pharmaceutical breakthroughs that have the potential to save lives, whether through new therapies or the early detection of diseases like autism and cancer. These firms are also making significant advancements in the realms of agriculture and environmental biotechnologies, helping create a cleaner and more sustainable future.
By strengthening incentives, investing in the facilities, and improving access to talent and expertise, New York will significantly increase its share of industry-funded research and development, support the commercialization of existing academic research, and usher in the next generation of advanced technologies. Beyond the advancements in science, this initiative will position New York as a magnet for emerging manufacturing- based enterprises, bolstering regional economies and creating thousands of jobs.