WILLIAMSVILLE, N.Y. (WKBW) — The University at Buffalo's Buffalo Institute for Genomics and Data Analytics, known as BIG, has helped create 530 more high tech, medical jobs in the Queen City. This surpasses BIG's goal, which was to create 250 jobs by February 2022.
"I believe this area is ripe. You think of places like Cleveland. You think of the Cleveland Clinic. We are ready to surpass institutions and communities like that because of the investments the state of New York has made in Western New York, in medical research," Lieutenant Governor Kathy Hochul, said, "Medical experts and highly skilled workers can find jobs right here. I could not have said that 10, 15 or 20 years ago."
The jobs range from specimen collectors to molecular scientists, making anywhere from $17 per hour to hundreds of thousands per year. The 530 jobs have been filled by both Western New Yorkers and individuals from across the country.
Back in 2014, $47 million from the Buffalo Billion Grant were given to BIG to provide access to genomic expertise and health data.
7 years later, that money has helped 13 companies grow, like KSL Diagnostics. KSL Diagnostics started three years ago with just three employees.
"We were self funded, so KSL was basically just funded with our 401ks. We didn't have access to the resources big can deliver," Kevin Lawson, the president and CEO of KSL Diagnostics, said.
Lawson said his company's growth wouldn't have been possible without BIG, which allowed them to buy equipment and expand.
"We're starting a unit in Canada. We have business in Europe and Asia," Lawson said.
"A company that didn't exist three years ago now has over 100 highly paid individuals in Western New York. They've gone global. They have over 200 employees around this planet. This is another point of success for Western New York," Hochul said.
That success is expected to continue.
"The ideas are here and the opportunities are tremendous. We see this as just the beginning. This should be a biotech hub for the future. We should be creating tremendous jobs and economic prosperity in Western New York," Lawson said.