New buildings on the East Side of Manhattan are signs of life of the city's foray into a new economy, its burgeoning biotech industry. NY1's Erin Billups filed the following report.

New York is known for many things. The biotech industry is not one of them. But that is changing.

"Six years ago, there was nothing here. Now, we have over 1,500 people at the center working hand in hand with the academic and medical centers," says John Cunningham, senior vice president of Alexandria Real Estate Equities.

The new Alexandria Life Sciences Center sits between NYU Langone Medical Center and Bellevue Hospital on East 29th Street, visible from the FDR Drive.

It is the result of a project led by Mayor Michael Bloomberg that broke ground in 2007 to grow the biotech industry around one of America's most robust academic medical corridors. 

"The academic and medical centers in New York produce the greatest amount of medical discoveries and scientific discoveries of any centers in the world," Cunningham says.

Roche and Eli Lilly are some of the big Pharma names among its 25 tenants. The two 17-story buildings also house startups like Kallyope, the brainchild of three top Columbia University scientists. They are developing therapies around the gut-brain connection.

"We've been very fortunate to be able to recruit from many of the great institutions around here, but we've also been able to recruit from Copenhagen, United Kingdom, San Francisco, Boston because there are a number of people who just, they like our mission, but they also want to be in New York City," says Dr. Nancy Thornberry, CEO of Kallyope.

The center's Launch Labs will rent space for just $1,900 a month and provide grants to potential startups.

Tara Biosystems is a fledgling firm just taking flight with its cardiac tissue technology.

"On our floor alone, there's at least seven small companies growing and trying to get their companies off the ground, and so there's a great community of collaboration and help," siys Misti Ushio, CEO of Tara Biosystems.

And hopefully, Cunningham says, the home of many drugs and therapies to come.

"One great example is Eli Lilly, who came here as one of the first movers, if you will, into the New York community, and just a year ago, they developed their first oncology drug in over 10 years from New York science," Cunningham says.

Ground will soon break on the center's third building. City Hall is encouraging the developer to build even higher than planned.