Roundtable: Building the Westchester Biotech Cluster

Rajiv Ratan, MD, Ph.D
Executive Director, Burke Neurological Institute
Sarah Epifano 
Business Development Director, Skanska USA

With the spring (2019) we are celebrating our second year completed, with a series of Charrettes, Roundtables, and a Cross-Atlantic Confab. Register for Updates!

Emerging opportunities for collaboration across the many silos of biomedical research, device development, and commercialization make this the perfect moment to create a unified, colorful vision that confidently addresses perceived gaps.

Through established and fresh partnerships, we are leading a process to build cross-silo relationships while drafting an aligned and friendly platform. Where great work is being done, we celebrate and offer to help. Where there is green space for problem-solving we nurture potential partnerships, exploring ways to leverage existing resources, finding or creating solutions, and striving to raise all boats.

We’re not starting from scratch in Westchester. Our vibrant life science/biomedical research community is growing, and opportunities continually emerge.

With profound life science resources already growing here, we’re ready to create generational growth for our wonderful, diverse international community.
— Joanne Gere, Executive Director, Westchester Biotech Project

Now is the time to reach out with your thoughts on building generational growth across the life science cluster.

We’re planning programs throughout 2019-2020, and need your voice.

Since August 2017, we have been listening to thought leaders from companies, academia, government, industry, and development communities. Some clear ideas are emerging, and you can help shape the future!

Send a note: and we’ll get started!

About our Chairs:

Rajiv Ratan, MD, Ph.D, Executive Director, Burke Neurological Institute

Rajiv (“Raj”) Ratan received his B.A. in Neuroscience (Magna Cum Laude) from Amherst College in 1981 and received the John Woodruff Simpson Fellowship in Medicine. He completed an M.D. and Ph.D. at the New York University School of Medicine where he graduated as a member of AOA in 1988. He completed his Ph.D. with Dr. Michael Shelanski (Chair of Pathology at Columbia University) and Dr. Frederick Maxfield (Chair of Biochemistry at Cornell) where he focused on novel methods to monitor calcium gradients in living cells. He completed an Internship in Medicine at the University of Chicago and was a Neurology resident and then Chief Resident in Neurology at Johns Hopkins (1991-1992). He was awarded the Jay Slotkin Award for excellence in research while a resident; and subsequently received the Passano Foundation Clinician Scientist Award while completing a fellowship in Neurorehabilitation and a post-doc in the Department of Neuroscience at Hopkins. In 1994, he was promoted to Assistant Professor of Neurology and Rehab Medicine at Hopkins and he started his own lab with the help of his post-doc mentor, Jay Baraban. In 1996, he was recruited to set up the Neuroprotection Laboratory in the Department of Neurology and Program in Neuroscience at Harvard Medical School (Harvard Institutes of Medicine and Beth Israel Hospital). He became an Associate Professor at Harvard in 1999. In 2002, Dr. Ratan moved to Burke to Direct the Research Institute. He was formally appointed the Winifred Masterson Burke Professor of Neurology and Neuroscience at Weill Medical College in 2004 and named an Associate Dean for the medical college in 2011.

Sarah Epifano, Business Development Director, Skanska USA

Sarah Reynard Epifano returned to the construction industry six years ago as Director of Business Development at Skanska USA Building Inc. after a 13-year hiatus as a stay at home mom to her son Nicholas. With a passion for building relationships internally and externally for project pursuits, Reynard Epifano has built a career on understanding a client's needs and then rallying the resources to meet them.

Prior to leaving full-time employment, Reynard Epifano was the lead business developer responsible for organically growing Skanska's Connecticut office. Before that her major accomplishments included starting Turner Construction Co.'s Special Projects Division in Connecticut and overseeing major construction projects for Collins Development. Sarah currently serves on the Board of Professional Women in Construction and the Women Builders Council, she is an active member in NYC Builds Bio+ and volunteers as a speaker at Silver Hill Hospital. She holds a Bachelors of Architecture from Syracuse University.

Past Sessions (Scroll for Detail)

Roundtable: Westchester Biotech Cluster Development 2
December 13, 2017 • More Information

Roundtable: Building the Westchester Biotech Cluster 
August 17, 2017 • More Information

Four Keys to a Healthy Innovation Cluster in Westchester
November 14, 2018 • RecordingPDF

Roundtable: Building the Biotech Cluster
March 6, 2018 • More Information

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Four Keys to a Healthy Innovation Cluster in Westchester

Innovation Cluster Development in a Dynamic Environment

November 14, 2018 • RecordingPDF

Four Keys to a Healthy Innovation Cluster in Westchester

Steve Wray, VP and Director, Regional Economics and Labor
EConsult Solutions
Philippe Salphati, Pharm.D.,
President & CEO, AYA Consulting; Member, Tefen Group

Cluster building is a multi-tiered, multi-year initiative, requiring the combined resources and collaborative efforts of numerous individuals and organizations. However, the resulting supportive life science infrastructure lays an enduring foundation for the future. In alignment with our mission, we look to other clusters for lessons learned during times of directed growth.

Steve Wray, a leader in innovation cluster development, will share four keys to developing a healthy innovation cluster. His insights on the meaningful growth of a life science ecosystem have developed through work in Philadelphia and the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, drawing on experiences from Boston, Baltimore, and Silicon Valley. His firm has also advised Universities in Pittsburgh, Chicago, Atlanta, and California, helping them understand their regional economic role and impact.

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About our Speaker:
Mr. Wray
leads collaborative teams focused on regional economic competitiveness and innovation policy. He assists public, private, and non-profit sectors with talent development, infrastructure, and governance issues.

An internationally recognized expert and speaker, he translates complicated issues and concepts to diverse audiences.

Lessons Learned on the Road to Cluster Development

Don Crotty, 
Sr. Vice President, National Director - Life Sciences COE, Skanska USA
Tieg Murray, Marketing Manager, Life Sciences Center of Excellence, Skanska USA
Jeff Schantz, Sector Leader of Science/Technology, EYP Inc.
Steven Jacobs, Strategic Advisor, BJH Advisors
Bill Fair, Director, Life Sciences Business Development, Tavistock Group

March 6, 2018
For Researchers, Developers, and Entrepreneurs
Meridian Risk Management, 1 Wolfs Lane, Pelham, NY

Roundtable Co-Chairs
Sarah Epifano 

       Business Development Director, Skanska USA
Patricia Ardigo (2017-2019, thank you!)
First Vice President, CBRE Life Sciences Group

Diverse players are necessary to drive opportunity density in the region-- developers, builders, real estate experts, tax and legal professionals, consultants, investors and more. This group is open to researchers who provide the excitement to inspire growth.

To a company we have heard that hiring scientists is a challenge, and by listening to their concerns it is clear that issues range from housing to lab space to transportation, government incentives, etc. 

Progress Update: Building the Biotech Cluster
December 13
, 2017
For Researchers, Developers, and Entrepreneurs
Hosted by Westchester County Industrial Development Agency

Click for our Blog Post

Hosts: Loren Zeitler and George Oros
Westchester Industrial Development Agency
_ Overview of the Westchester Biotech Project and progress thus far
_ Stakeholder Discussion: Emerging Challenges and Opportunities- What We've Learned in 2017
_ Developments for 2018

Thank you to our Community Partner, the Westchester Industrial Development Agencyour host for this session.

Launch - Roundtable: Building the Biotech Cluster
August 17, 2017
Westchester County Industrial Development Agency

Click for Blog Post

The Westchester Biotech Project is an initiative to bring together researchers, engineers, and data scientists with connections to the region of Westchester County, NY. Activities include breakfast meetings, roundtables, webinars, and the Innovation in Research Symposium. 

We invite your participation as we address the vibrant opportunities and significant challenges for life science research, engineering, and data science. Overall, our activities are designed to stimulate knowledge sharing and collaboration across the many silos of biomedical research, device development, and commercialization.

At the Roundtable on Westchester Biotech Cluster Development, we will share our vision and ask for your viewpoint. Already we have interviewed a number of stakeholders across the region. At this by-invitation meeting we will share insights collected and ask for your perspectives.

_ Welcome: Loren Zeitler and George Oros of the Westchester Industrial Development Agency
_ Overview of the Westchester Biotech Project and progress thus far
_ Guest Speaker on the Elements of a Healthy Life Science Cluster
_ Introductions all Around
_ Discussion of emerging challenges and opportunities
_ Development of concepts for October 26 Innovation in Research Symposium

Thank you to our Community Partner, the Westchester Industrial Development Agency, our host for this session.
Contact us to learn about ways that your institution, company, or organization can get involved!

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