New York state is distributing millions of dollars to help boost biodefense firms to help research and combat infectious diseases. 

Gov. Kathy Hochul announced Tuesday the state would spend $40 million on distribution to startup companies after an initial $15.3 million round of grant funding. 

The money is meant to expand the growing life sciences industry across the state and help officials assess potential threats from infectious diseases. 

"Thanks to the $40 million Biodefense Commercialization Fund, New York businesses are applying lessons learned from the COVID-19 pandemic to spark innovation and grow the state's economy," Hochul said. "With this funding, we are leading the fight to combat infectious diseases, bringing significant jobs and investment to New York State, and better preparing for our future."

Companies eligible for funding are developing diagnostics, vaccines or therapeutics to prevent or mitigate harm from infectious diseases. Grants of up to $4 million will be rewarded. 

The initial round of funding included grants for the development of antivirals, antibacterials and vaccinations as well as rapid detection of potential threats. 

"Accelerating innovation in life sciences through the Biodefense Commercialization Fund will further enable our state and those on the front lines of public health to identify and respond to serious infectious disease threats," said Health Commissioner Mary Bassett. "This investment in the expansion of the life science industry once again demonstrates Governor Hochul's commitment to further protecting the public health of all New Yorkers."