NYC Pursues Biotech Dream

    23 February, 2014


    From VOA Learning English, this is the Technology Report.

    New York City and the State of New York are investing hundreds of millions of dollars to become a major player in the development of high tech industries. They have developed 40 workspaces known as incubators to assist start-up businesses.

    Harlem Biospace is an incubator for biomedical engineering. It gives young entrepreneurs a low-cost way to develop their ideas and businesses. For a low monthly payment, they are given desk space and use of a laboratory. The young people pay for their own raw materials.

    NYC Pursues Biotech Dream
    Sam Sia, founder of bio-tech incubator Harlem Biospace.

    "This is great. The reason is because it is so cheap and it has the wet lab that we need. So, I order chemicals that I need, and I'm given the facilities here to do my experiments," said Tyler Poore.

    Tyler Poore and his partner are developing a product that will kill bacteria. It can be put on household goods, like a sponge for cleaning. He and 17 others at Biospace share a common goal to find solutions to biomedical problems.

    Edwin Vazquez is investigating the mystery of diseases, such as Alzheimers and Parkinson's. He says suggestions from others in the building make the work environment at Biospace a real plus.

    "There's nothing better than sitting down in a room like this when there is a lot more people around and got something that is exciting and go to the lunchroom and you start talking to your other colleagues. All of a sudden, somebody knows a researcher that is doing something similar to you who can complement your research, you get in contact and things happen," said Vasquez.

    Leading hospitals and science centers are supporting innovators like Kate Rochlin, founder of a company called Immunovent. She has developed a brush to test for allergic reactions, the device is placed in the nose or mouth. The test results are correct more often than skin or blood tests.

    "And from one single sample from the nose or mouth we can test for a whole panel of 72 allergens. And we found that the blood test only identified peanut allergies 50 percent of the time, and we could find it 99 percent of the time. So, we are far more accurate with peanut diagnosis. That's really important because that one in particular is really life-threatening," said Rochlin.

    Matthew Owens is the Executive Director of the Harlem Biospace. He says there have been real signs of success since the company was launched last November.

    "We do have companies that are already shipping, getting revenue and getting products out to customers. So, I think it's a testament that it's absolutely a success," said Owens.

    And that is the Technology Report from VOA Learning English. Do you have a question or comment about this report, email us at Or for more news about science and technology, visit our website at We are also on Facebook, YouTube, LinkedIn, iTunes and Twitter at VOA Learning English. I'm June Simms.