Published July 21, 2021
The UB Buffalo Institute of Genomics and Data Analytics reported Friday it has helped create 530 jobs at high-tech companies, far surpassing its commitment to create 250 jobs by next February.
The announcement was made outside the Amherst offices of KSL Biomedical, a medical diagnostics startup that has leveraged the resources of the institute, nicknamed BIG, to create more than 100 jobs since its founding three years ago.
“We had big ideas, and we needed resources like BIG to realize them,” said Kevin Lawson, KSL CEO.
“I look at it like the old physics lesson about potential energy. There’s the big rock on top of a hill. But you need the hill. You need the lever to get it down the hill,” he said. “Western New York has provided that. BIG has provided that. The vision of the university and government working together, putting these tools in place, has really built the potential for us to realize [KSL’s goals]. And in Buffalo, we’re looking at this — like not a big rock on a hill — but a snowball that just picks up and builds bigger and bigger.”
Lt. Gov. Kathy Hochul praised the success of KSL and BIG, noting the latter is part of Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo’s Buffalo Billion economic development program, which includes strategic investments in life sciences, data analytics and other fields.
Speaking of BIG, she said it “was funded with $47.5 million from the Buffalo Billion. When you ask where the Buffalo Billion went, it went to support places like KSL and many others.”
KSL and the 12 other partner companies working with BIG are helping to transform Western New York’s economy, she said.
“This is a real hub for innovation, and research and science. And UB — having you here — is an important part of that,” she said.
Christina Orsi, UB associate vice president for economic development, noted how companies working with BIG, such as KSL, pivoted their business to respond to the pandemic.
“The UB Buffalo Institute of Genomics and Data Analytics program is not only important to support the growth of our economy with new jobs, but just as important to support the advancement of new life-saving medical products and services,” she said, noting that KSL and other companies launched products designed to address the COVID-19 pandemic.
“We made strategic investments in critical research, state-of-the-art equipment and funding to support the discovery and development of new medical technologies in partnership with industry members throughout Western New York,” she added.
In a statement, President Satish Tripathi said the program and its success illustrate the important role UB plays in Western New York’s economy, as well as in helping to develop medical innovations that benefit society, especially those in need.
“As a premier public research university, the University at Buffalo significantly contributes to our regional and state economy in many ways, and the success of BIG is another example of UB’s impact on the communities we serve,” he said. “As a national leader in the field of big data genomics, UB’s faculty expertise and research strengths in the life sciences and medical information technology, as well as our considerable capabilities in supercomputing, have strongly positioned BIG to achieve the milestones we are celebrating today. We are proud of the success of BIG to this point and look forward to its continued growth in the future.”
The following companies currently have agreements with BIG and have created more than 500 jobs. In total, these partners anticipate generating more than 600 new life science jobs by the end of 2021.