Sat 12 Jun 2021 5:47AM

Request for Proposals: NYC Life Sciences Innovation Infrastructure RFP

ID Ibrahim Dulijan Public Seen by 17

Please look up this opportunity NYC Life Sciences Innovation Infrastructure RFP

Many of our community attended the optional informational session will be held virtually on Wednesday, June 30, 2021 at 3:30P.M. In that meeting they clarified their RFP and answered questions from the attendees. Answers to questions emailed after the fact, the list of attendees, and the presentation deck, will be/are posted to their site here.

Also attached is the Vision Plan for NYC Life Sciences.

There are significant challenges in choosing to pursue this RFP because it does not appear at first glance to enable they type of low-cost community access to facilities that BwoB has provided in the past. However the magnitude of the funds marks it as a significant opportunity for a non-profit operator/respondent that can commit themselves to activities that result in the construction of more biotech lab space and programming that supports commercial projects in NYC.

This thread is to discuss the ideas that would go into the responding to this RFP and serve as a organizing tool for those that align to any proposed action regarding the application. Any writing on this RFP may serve to inform future applications or serve as the nucleus for further strategic decisions. To this end, here is a a draft document accessible to those on the community list (and with a Google account, I'm working on a Nextcloud solution for those without such an account).


Ibrahim Dulijan Sat 19 Jun 2021 6:11AM

Great. Thank you Danny!


Poll Created Fri 25 Jun 2021 12:08AM

Looking for thoughts about the RFP Closed Mon 28 Jun 2021 11:03PM

by Danny Tue 29 Jun 2021 4:01AM

Several folks read the RFP and provided short comments. Frank left a longer comment as a standalone item (thanks!).

Some additional points which were brought up not previously in the context (or at least not clearly articulated there):

  • Possibility to partner with JOGL (they provide grants and a platform for community projects)

  • Expanding health-improvement services are appealing to the community

  • There is a focus on commercialization in the RFP, this is not a capability we really excel in thus we may benefit from a partner in this space.

Please continue to discuss below. I think Frank's next step is a strong direction: prepare a list of logically worded questions for Wednesday. I am open to suggestions as single comments notifying me and any others you think can help shape the question.

Please read the RFP and/or provide your thoughts about ways BwoB can create a competitive application.

  • Yes indicates you have read it (or at least the Proposal Requirements p8-12 and Evaluation Criteria p12-13)

  • No indicates that you do not have the capacity to read it

I signed up for the informational period on the 30th and I would like to have some questions or ideas for what we need clarified about the RFP by that point. So I am looking to this thread to inform myself. Whether you read the RPF or not, please comment if you are able with your thoughts/questions.

We also had an interesting discussion yesterday about potential directions. The large takeaway is that we know a biotech incubator will likely satisfy the RFP but it might be more competitive and better aligned with out Mission Vision Values to think something a little different (even in the incubator space there are likely unexplored business models). I am not wedded to going after this application unless we have a good plan that addresses the needs of paying members and community folks who want to use the shared lab space. But this is a significant opportunity if we can secure it and I believe critical thought around this issue will be good for our expanding the ways we articulate the Mission Vision Values of BwoB

As always thank-you for your attention :D


Results Option Voters
No 0  
Undecided 9 SH TL E N HI J EJ BM AM

6 of 15 people have participated (40%)


Fri 25 Jun 2021 12:08AM

I will review the rfp again and provide feedback


Vikram Krishnamoorthy
Fri 25 Jun 2021 12:08AM

I would be most curious as to the strength of the organization required to be competitive (we have a small endowment and are a nonprofit) - how much will that count for? There also seems to be significant focus on commercialization and economic impact. Maybe a partnership wtih an opentrons type company could be interesting. My gut feeling is that if we want to go for this, some sort of impact-focused incubator is going to be most competitive (since some commercial aspect seems important).


Ibrahim Dulijan
Fri 25 Jun 2021 12:08AM

I will review the Proposal Requirements and Evaluation Criteria again. Partnership with JOGL could be a good move for us.


Deleted account
Fri 25 Jun 2021 12:08AM

This seems like a natural fit. I believe serving the wellness direction via a proposal focused on reducing the cost of assaying telomerase could greatly appeal to communities where inequities exist in lifespan or health span. Further, focusing on infrastructure to create innovative ways to obtain routine insight into personal inflammatory risk would serve to reverse community trends. These causes are in my wheelhouse.


Yuriy Fazylov
Fri 25 Jun 2021 12:08AM

On 30th, ask if BwoB has to be in a physical space and stay open in order to receive the grant. See proposal requirements, part b (blueprint), section 5 (Site ownership, location, and proposed scale of the Project) p. 9.

"[Physical, operational footprints, justification for both (linkages to other key NYC life sciences sites or assets).]" Does this mean BwoB have to be in NYC’s designated biotech hubs? What’s the point? to be tied to a space for the next 10 years?


Frank Mon 28 Jun 2021 5:27PM

quick disclaimer up front: I have read, written and responded to RFPs and there is something about this one that seems to me just a littler oddly amateurish or even scammy, because of the assumptions it makes and the language which is kind of cliche in terms of buzzwords and overreach. I don’t mean to sound overly critical but all too often government programs giving away lots of money with RFPs that sound unrealistic end up being a corrupt technique for giving that money to your well connected friends, along with a kickback to you, Seen it happen in Miami repeatedly.

Example of being unrealistic:  

They expect to find an existing  organizations that > already has the ability to expand and enhance biotechnology commercial infrastructure, or which is actually developing therapeutic products like drugs,  which would imply they have already been funded to some degree, > but didn’t get funded by private investors (which would make it for-profit) and is looking for money, > and is a nonprofit whose mission is to support the success of for-profit, investor-funded biotech companies.

Isn’t that a bit like saying you are a non-profit that was started to provide free-housekeeping services for wall street banks? If you look closely at existing “biotech nonprofits” you see that they tend to be set up by for-profit companies or industry groups as a way to collectively invest in resources they all need, attract and coordinate additional money, and also to avoid taxes on that invested money.


Responding to the RFP:

OK, so now that I got that off my chest, YES I would still go ahead and apply for this prudently and practically. This means:

1.       Ask specific detailed questions on 6/30 at info session about what is and is not required, giving examples of the level of “aspirational vs currently demonstrable” capabilities, etc.

2.      Provide what they ask for and nothing more.

3.      Apply with a mission statement that is realistic, utilitarian, contributes to their goals in a direct real way.

4.      Ask for the money you truly need with a financial statement that is accurate and complete.

Seems to me pretty straight forward to position BWoB this way:

a.      Currently almost every major city has multiple community biospace facilities with  safety level 1 or  level 2  capabilities. There’s a reason for this. It promotes and support biotech in those cities in by…..

b.      NYC DOES NOT have one. The biospaces people like to mention like genspace and others don’t actually provide a true facility like the labs in other cities and thus they are not able to promote and support biotech as described in NYC. So NYC lacks this important resource. NYC should have multiple such biospaces

c.      We can create a fully functional biospace that meets the criteria for level 2 safety and that would additionally have other key ingredients to support it’s mission of augment ting the biotech infrastructure in NYC: these include: expert staff to provide guidance, supervision, and support; training; ….

d.      The proposed biospace would also provide services to biotech companies like equipment evaluations, equipment rentals, temporary laboratory bench capacity; and much more

e.      This proposal is for the initial opening of a facility in [location] followed by additional facilities in Y and Z

I would not talk about anything other than the actual physical and intellectual resources you intend to provide. I would add many different examples of experiments and outputs by users of the space but definitely not point to any specific subject or science.

So, you would need to get down to it and produce as real facility creation and expansion plan with 5 year financial plan

Immediate next steps: prepare well worded logical questions for Wednesday’s info session.

So those are my initial thoughts


Frank Tue 29 Jun 2021 4:29AM

I'd like to say one more thing in response to the last update from Danny. Regarding the idea of health improvement services, commercialization and things like that, please keep in mind that it will difficult to pitch that when you've never done it.  just because the RFP says it's looking for those things in and ideal respondent doesn't mean that you have to say you provide those in order to be awarded money. The best way to win this is to stick to the things that are actually within your mission and which you can actually do have done in the past. I think there's more than enough of that without needing to go beyond it.  for example I can think of quite a few ways in which having a community L2 biospace serves to support existing biotech companies and provides a form of infrastructure. This includes 

providing a space in which everyone from independent scientists, physicians, researchers at biotech companies, and biotech startups getting ready to launch can do proof of concept and answer preliminary questions about their research. BWoB would provide the resources for the critical essential first step that then leads to read a real study then can lead to a breakthrough product. you provide the resources and guidance where ideas can be born and to turn into something. this is priceless and right now we don't have that here . So that's just one humongous value that you can elaborate on. 

other functions that generate revenue: Think about all of the biotech equipment manufacturers who would love to get some testers to beta tester products and give them some good feedback before they put a product out or apply with the FDA. 

Also there are tons of doctors out there who have a medical education but really no laboratory research training at all and they have opportunities to help their patients if only they could do some basic things in the lab. Those guys would love to get some training from you and they would gladly pay.

yet another branch would be that you would accumulate a bunch of well-maintained equipment that you could rent out to different buy labs when they need something for a project only. 

then there's the community education angle where you could provide an opportunity for high schools  and even colleges to conduct experiments using your lab . I'm talking about experiments well beyond just fun with fungus. It is essential that you say you're going to be a level 2 facility because that's where you can really offer a little whole range of useful services. 

so not only do I think there's no need to get into things like health improvement services and other areas that are outside of your original mission it would be potentially detrimental to your chances of getting money while at the same time you have an abundance  of value that you can elaborate on that is within the shared level 2 community bio space for New York City


Danny Wed 30 Jun 2021 1:01AM

Thanks for sharing some of your ideas! Any one of them or a combination could go into the RPF if this is the direction folks think is useful to the community/themselves and are willing to commit to the work then the RFP will have many supporters (and thus hopefully we be easier to write). Your inputs are a great start to forming an opinion but I do not believe it is the only one.

I want to continue discussing these ideas further on this thread especially in the light of strategic positioning as well as practical concerns that flow from specific prompts.

I hear you loud and clear about not doing something that reaches outside of our original mission. I will also note that the project mission seems like it would be written for this RFP, but of course we have our Mission Vision Values as a place where we have gained some alignment.

The way I am thinking about the questions is to build or destroy the case for our efforts towards this RFP. It would be good to get concrete evidence of how this RFP does or does not fit into our overall vision of the organization. The focus on BSL2 is a good nugget to focus on IMO. It speaks to a place I have some expertise and if you recall the NY Blood Center is also in LIC... I had been thinking about them in terms of blood borne pathogen training: an essential part of learning to work in a shared space with human blood.

Load More