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The first tangible result of New York State’s promise to invest $1 billion in Buffalo arrived today with Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo’s announcement that an Albany drug research company will expand in Western New York and create 250 new jobs.

Albany Molecular Research Inc. will take advantage of a $50 million state investment in new biomedical research equipment and facilities that the governor said aims to spark development in the same way that state-sponsored nano-electronic research and development did for the Capital Region.

He told a gathering of hundreds of community leaders at the Buffalo Niagara Convention Center this morning that the new jobs at a drug discovery and research center on the Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus are also expected to leverage $200 million in private investment.

“The governor’s commitment and involvement will result in establishing Western New York as a centerpiece of cutting-edge research to drive exciting drug discoveries that advance the treatment and prevention of disease and improve the quality of life.” said AMRI Chairman, CEO and President Thomas E. D’Ambra, “while addressing our nation’s critical challenges in providing effective and affordable health care for an aging baby boomer population.”

Cuomo, who said he must defend his billion dollar investment plan for Buffalo to other regions of the state, pointed to the AMRI commitment as the kind of success that can result from a strategic plan like the one unveiled today by his Western New York Regional Economic Development Council.

In an approximately 90-minute session – led by co-chairmen Howard A. Zemsky, a Buffalo businessman who is also chairman of the Niagara Frontier Transportation Authority, and Satish K. Tripathi, president of the University at Buffalo – a group of Council members entrusted with charting a course for the governor’s plan outlined the results of more than a year of work. Their plan calls for everything from establishing a Buffalo facility to support regional manufacturing to similar efforts in health and life sciences, tourism, entrepreneurship, work force development and urban revitalization.

“Let’s agree today that we’re tired of talking about yesterday and what Buffalo was,” a fired-up Cuomo told his audience, “and let’s talk about tomorrow and our future ... and why the future of Western New York is brighter than the past ever was.”

But to back up all the theoretical projections of area business and education leaders, the governor seemed intent on introducing a solid accomplishment. His team continually pointed to the success of the state’s investment in a burgeoning nano-tech industry in Albany now expanding into Buffalo and providing a model for achievements stemming from government investment.

In this case, Cuomo’s office said the new jobs will stem from “nano-biomedical research and development.” The idea, they said, is to duplicate the Albany success by investing in core infrastructure and equipment to attract companies in new high-tech facilities. Cuomo’s office said the governor’s “Buffalo Billion” plan is now making a “downpayment” on replicating the Albany approach in Western New York.

“These strategic investments by the state, leveraged significantly with private investment, will build upon Western New York’s leadership in life science research and increase the commercialization of innovations developing from that research as well as more advanced manufacturing jobs in the pharmaceutical industry,” his office said.

D’Ambra said the bricks and mortar of the investment will mean a new state-of-the-art pharmaceutical research, development and testing operation in Buffalo. AMRI employs nearly 700 people in New York, with just under 1,300 employees companywide and has invested almost $200 million in the Albany and Syracuse regions over the years, he added.

“As a region, we must drive transformative, sustainable, economic growth and opportunity,” Tripathi said. “Our signature initiatives are first and foremost about private sector jobs and investment. The intent of our plan is to utilize the public funding as seed money to attract the businesses that will make a long-term investment in our local economy.”

email: rmccarthy@buffnews.com