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Biotech startups at Harlem Biospace

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In the middle of 127th Street between Amsterdam and Convent Avenues, is the first of its kind in this neighborhood. Step inside Harlem Biospace and you'll see early stage biotech companies coming to life.

Sam Sia is a professor of biomedical engineering at Columbia. He started the community lab space with his wife back in November. Sia developed a blood-testing device and sold the company for millions of dollars and knows how hard it is to get a start-up going.

"Synergy is really what is its going to take what would otherwise be an isolated startup company but actually have a community around them," Sia said.

Buying lab equipment for experiments can costs hundreds of thousands of dollars. These scientists pay $1,000 a month for full access. 19 companies are doing different things, like diagnostic testing, reinventing allergy tests, and re-growing bones.

Brian Gillette owns Junco Labs, the company is working on a device that could allow users to test their own blood through their cell phones one day.

"It has small cartridges you prick you finger put a drop of blood, test yourself for all sorts of disease," Gillette said. "Here you can come in and get started Day 1 on your experiments so it saves you a lot of time a lot of hassle."

Just as important as the equipment are the creative minds that make up this incubator for biotechnology.

"Since I moved in here I experienced a lot of synergy with some other companies that are here they have complimentary ideas I can share my experience as well so that's really priceless," said Dr. Eluem Blyden of AfriVax.

This business is also giving back to the community. Sia has started an unconventional science program at a school nearby. This hope is to keep the innovation flowing here in Harlem for years to come.

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