Bioscience and biotech are growing career fields across the country, and Westchester has become a hub for innovation.
Specific careers within the biosciences are projected to grow faster than average for all occupations. Employment of biological technicians is projected to grow nine percent from 2021 to 2031, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Biological technicians typically work in laboratories and help scientists conduct tests and experiments.
There are a number of organizations in the biotech and biosciences sector located in Westchester. Organizations such as Regeneron Pharmaceuticals, Inc., Westchester Biotech Project, and The North80 are all leading forces in the advancement of science.
Founded in 1988, Regeneron is one of the leading biotechnology companies in the country. Its mission is to turn scientific research into important new medicines that save people’s lives.
“Regeneron is a wonderful marriage of deep, rigorous science like you would get at a university while also impacting the industry,” Senior Scientist Rachel Sattler says. “We work on science that gets directly to clinics and patients.”
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Sattler joined Regeneron in late 2017 as a member of the Viral Vector Technology group. Now, she works as a Senior Scientist on the Regeneron Genetics Medicines Technology Team. On a daily basis, she helps lead efforts to test cutting-edge technologies capable of delivering gene therapies that can treat, or potentially cure, a diverse range of diseases.
“What I really like about the area of work I’m in is that it’s not focused on one disease,” Sattler explains. “The potential for something I work on to impact a lot of areas and a lot of people’s lives is really rewarding.”
In order for bioscience and biotech to have the greatest impact on communities, the element of collaboration is critical between scientists. After seeing a need to connect scientists in the industry, cofounders Michael Welling and Joanne Gere started the Westchester Biotech Project.
“My son’s life was saved due to cutting-edge medical research,” says Welling. “Once I got out of the hospital and he was stable, I thought about how I could give back to the community and support these scientists that are conducting research that saves lives. Our mission is collaboration and helping scientists be scientists.”
The Westchester Biotech Project brings together researchers, engineers, and data scientists from across therapeutics, diagnostics, and devices. The organization works closely with colleges and universities, institutes, companies, the government, nonprofits, and advisory boards to build a connected network for life science and medical breakthroughs.
“My career has been about getting scientists to talk to each other across all the different silos,” Gere says. “The biggest hurdle in biotech is the fact that there are not enough laboratories in Westchester.”
Hoping to bridge the gap between scientists and create more biotech space in Westchester is Project Developer John Fareri. Currently underway is the creation of North80, a new 80-acre bioscience, technology, and lifestyle campus in Westchester. The campus will have state-of-the-art laboratory space, medical offices, a health and wellness center, and much more. North80 is located in close proximity to the Regeneron Pharmaceuticals complex, Westchester Medical Center, and the New York Medical College in hopes of fostering scientific collaboration.
“Innovation and science are driving the future, and North80 is going to be a part of that,” Fareri notes. “We hope to bring a vibrant science sector to Westchester to collaborate, innovate, and build something that will have a lasting impact on the community.”
In addition to the main complex, North80 will feature a nonprofit entity called The North80 Science Center. The Science Center will offer programs for children and young adults from elementary school to college who want to get involved in the sciences and potentially pursue a career in biotech. The goal of the nonprofit is to inspire young people to seek careers in science and help them get training to someday enter the workforce.
“The North 80 Science Center is a way of addressing educational inequalities that exist,” Farei adds. “I’m excited about this initiative that will be a central focus in our project.”
The North80 campus will become part of the larger Westchester community as it will have indoor and outdoor dining options, retail shops, walkways, trails, and landscaped plazas with pedestrian bridges leading to campus.
Bioscience is driving the scientific and medical community to create life-saving medicines. With new biotech projects and initiatives underway, Westchester will continue to be a hub for scientific careers, collaboration, and innovation in the future.
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