New Jersey: a leading global life sciences hub

New Jersey’s position as a leading global life sciences hub is well established, with global pharmaceutical companies at the forefront of medical discoveries headquartered here, including Johnson & Johnson, Merck, Bristol-Myers Squibb, and Novartis. New Jersey is also home to a thriving innovation ecosystem of smaller, more nimble biotechnology companies that are taking root and finding the support to scale. Supporting this startup ecosystem is the increased availability of capital in New Jersey, a trend bolstering translational research to the commercialization pipeline. According to Pitchbook Data, companies in New Jersey secured $5.5 billion in 219 venture capital deals in 2021, up from $1.7 billion in 154 deals in 2020.

Established companies are also attracting impressive funding from public and private sources. According to Cushman & Wakefield’s Q1 2022 Life Sciences Industry report, two of the top 10 largest transactions for life sciences public and private investment in the last two years were awarded to New Jersey companies: Certara ($668 million), a drug development software and services company headquartered in Princeton, and Catalent ($548 million), a drug development, delivery and supply company for pharma, biotech, and consumer health based in Somerset. New York and New Jersey also represent the number one region in the country in terms of funding received from National Institutes of Health (NIH) research grants.

Home to Top Talent & Universities

New Jersey’s life sciences industry offers robust opportunities to bring your products to market, powered by our specialized workforce and world-class research universities. Our state is a magnet for top talent, with the highest concentration of scientists and engineers per square mile in the United States (National Science Board), and more biochemists and biophysicists employed than all but two states (BLS, 2021). New Jersey’s highly educated talent pool continues to attract life sciences companies.

New Jersey is also the number one state for education at every level (U.S. News & World Report) and is second in the country for the concentration of STEM degrees awarded (JobsEQ, 2021). Our state has one of the highest concentrations of specialized commercialization expertise in the United States. Nearly 23,000 members of New Jersey’s life sciences cluster are focused on pharmaceutical manufacturing— three times the national average.

Additionally, New Jersey’s higher education institutions produce research to solve real-world problems and are forging strategic partnerships to accelerate innovation. In January 2022, Virtua Health and Rowan University announced an affiliation agreement to create a new academic health system to further distinguish South Jersey as a regional hub for innovation, research, and clinical discovery. The Virtua Health College of Medicine & Health Sciences of Rowan University will encompass the state’s only osteopathic medical school; an expanded nursing and allied health professions school; a new school of translational biomedical engineering and sciences; multiple new research institutes; and aligned clinical practices to improve patient care and train the workforce of the future.

Building off New Jersey’s leadership in providing high-quality healthcare, RWJBarnabas and the Rutgers Cancer Institute, in partnership with DEVCO, broke ground for the first free-standing cancer hospital in New Jersey in June 2021. The Jack & Sheryl Morris Cancer Center is expected to be completed in 2024, providing world-class oncology treatment and conducting research to find a cure.

New Jersey’s research universities also play a vital role in early-stage business incubation and investment. Launched in 2022, a Princeton University-led consortium of regional universities, including Rutgers, Rowan, and NJIT, formed the Northeast I-Corps Innovation Hub, funded by a $15 million National Science Foundation (NSF) grant. The hub will provide entrepreneurial training, mentoring, and other resources to help researchers form startups.

A Rising Center for Innovative Cell & Gene Therapies

New Jersey is also home to a cluster of cutting-edge contract research organizations (CROs) and contract manufacturing organizations (CMOs) moving treatments from lab bench to bedside. Leading CDMO Biocentriq is rapidly growing, having recently completed construction on a new state-of-the-art GMP-ready manufacturing facility in South Brunswick in addition to its Newark location.

When cell and gene therapy companies seek to scale production to meet increased demand, they turn to New Jersey. That’s why clinical-stage biotech company Tevogen Bio is growing in New Jersey with new corporate operations in Warren. Biopharma company PTC Therapeutics, headquartered in South Plainfield, cut the ribbon on its new gene therapy manufacturing facility in Hopewell Township in October 2021. Rocket Pharmaceuticals, a clinical-stage company advancing a pipeline of genetic therapies for rare childhood disorders, also announced in 2021 that it will open a 103,000 square foot facility in Cranbury to house its headquarters, R&D, and CMC (chemistry, manufacturing, and control) operations.

To create a supportive environment for this new era of medicine, New Jersey’s leading hospitals and universities are developing highly specialized programs and talent pipelines. NJIT, in collaboration with the New Jersey Innovation Institute (NJII), offers a Professional Science Master’s degree program and a graduate certificate in cell and gene therapy — the only one of its kind in the United States. In addition, NJII developed a cutting-edge apprenticeship program where select students are trained in biomanufacturing over an 18-month period, providing graduates with a unique, transferrable certificate that is recognized in the industry.

The Rowan University Cell and Gene Therapy Center (in affiliation with Rowan School of Osteopathic Medicine and the Cooper Medical School at Rowan University) studies pediatric white matter diseases and characterizes mechanisms to repair white matter with the goal to prevent and treat disease in patients. Research at the Center focuses on neurological diseases that can be treated using the latest gene transfer technologies and cell transplantation methods.

From top universities and workforce to a robust supply chain network with ease of transportation access, New Jersey has it all for companies focused on personalized medicine. To learn more about why New Jersey is ideal for cell and gene therapy companies, read the Area Development thought leadership piece by Choose New Jersey’s Chief Business Development Officer, Cathy Scangarella.

Grow and Thrive in a Supportive Ecosystem

New Jersey offers a vibrant ecosystem for entrepreneurs and international companies looking to establish a footprint in the United States. Our incubators, accelerators, and research parks, like the NJ Bioscience Center in North Brunswick, have flexible space solutions to support startups, help established businesses grow, and provide a home to foreign companies exploring growth opportunities in the state. These facilities also provide mentorship, connections to talent and partnerships, and access to early-stage and late-stage venture capital funding.

New Jersey is home to many “soft landing” facilities that provide global companies an entry point for expansion in the U.S. market. In December 2021, Choose New Jersey announced an MOU between India’s ABLE (Association of Biotechnology Led Enterprises), the Institute for Life Science Entrepreneurship (ILSE), and BioNJ to welcome Indian life sciences companies looking to expand here and increase collaboration.

South Jersey Technology Park (SJTP) at Rowan University hosts 24 entrepreneurial companies and three research centers. The Tech Park provides competitively priced facilities for startup and established companies bringing innovative technologies to the marketplace. Life sciences company tenants at the Tech Park include Durin Technologies Inc, FocalCool, LLC, and Ocumedic, Inc.

Offering a pathway for future innovators, NJIT was recently ranked among the 50 best schools in the country for undergraduates who want to become entrepreneurs. The university offers 17 credit-bearing entrepreneurship courses and extracurricular activities.

We have the support you need to get started and take your business to the next level. The New Jersey Economic Development Authority (NJEDA) offers financial incentive programs, like NJ Ignite, Angel Investor Tax Credit Program, and Technology Business Tax Credit Transfer (NOL). Created under the Economic Recovery Act (ERA) of 2020, Emerge and Aspire are robust tax credit programs that support transformational growth in New Jersey.

New Jersey is also home to world-class biobanks that contribute to the dynamism of the state’s life sciences community, including Infinity BiologiX (a Rutgers University spin-out) and Coriell Institute for Medical Research. Coriell Institute is home to the world’s most diverse biobank collection and supports various scientific endeavors through biobanking, laboratory services, and independent translational research.

Major Investments & Real Estate Projects

Compared to other high-price markets like New York, Massachusetts, and California, New Jersey offers a more affordable lab and R&D space alternative. Competitive rent and more room for expansion are among the top reasons why fast-growing biopharma leader Intercept Pharmaceuticals recently announced a global headquarters relocation from New York City to the Crum & Forester building in Morristown, New Jersey.

In the COVID-19 era, many companies are shifting to a hybrid work model and are looking to downsize expensive New York City office space and open satellite locations in New Jersey, where much of their workforce lives. Demand for suburban office parks, co-working spaces, and innovation hubs is growing. These new work centers throughout New Jersey offer state-of-the-art amenities and transportation access consistent with the evolving needs of businesses of all sizes.

A prime example is the New Jersey Innovation & Technology Hub – a landmark mixed-use real estate project in Middlesex County steps away from the Northeast Corridor rail line and the Rutgers University campus. This four million sqare foot, multi-phase project officially broke ground in October 2021 and is designed to connect companies with researchers to develop new products and solutions. At the groundbreaking event, Governor Phil Murphy and Rutgers University President Jonathan Holloway announced a historic $665 million investment by the state in innovation, translational research, and medical education at The Hub, including the relocation of Rutgers Robert Wood Johnson Medical School to the site. Envisioned by real estate developer New Brunswick Development Corporation (DEVCO), The Hub’s other anchor tenants include RWJBarnabas Health, Hackensack Meridian Health, and Princeton University.

The Hub’s anticipated impact as a world-class research center is already attracting international interest. During Choose New Jersey’s business and academic-led mission to Israel in November 2021, Rutgers University and Tel Aviv University (TAU) signed an MOU to further collaboration and for TAU to establish a presence at The Hub. During Governor Murphy-led business attraction mission to Ireland in April 2022, DEVCO, Galway-based Atlantic Technological University (ATU), and Choose New Jersey signed an MOU to promote foreign direct investment, enhance global competitiveness and support collaborative R&D. The partnership agreement included DEVCO offering ATU-affiliated startups six months of free space at The Hub.

Another significant investment project under development is The Cove. This 13-acre, mixed-use campus in Jersey City is expected to be New Jersey’s next great life sciences hub. The creative live-work-play community along the Hudson River waterfront will be a flagship destination for life sciences lab and office space, offering 1.4 million square foot of academic and commercial life science laboratory and office space. Another notable property in the city is 95 Greene, Jersey City’s first lab-ready life sciences space. In October 2021, JLL Thor Equities Group announced a new tenant RWJBarnabas Health/Jersey City Medical Center.

The addition of these facilities aids in growing Jersey City’s already thriving innovation ecosystem. Organon, established in 2021 as a spin-out of Merck focused on women’s health, is finding success at its Jersey City headquarters. The company described proximity to “one of the world’s most highly educated workforces, access to the innovative partners and important financial institutions, and a robust infrastructure for travel and commerce” among the top reasons why their company chose New Jersey.

Building off our reputation as the number 2 state for cancer drugs in development (PhRMA, 2020), BeiGene, a global biotech company that develops innovative cancer medicines, was among one of the top projects in New Jersey in 2021. BeiGene officially purchased a 42-acre site at the Princeton West Innovation Campus for a new manufacturing campus and clinical research & development center expected to create hundreds of jobs.

Get Connected with New Jersey

Choose New Jersey can help you find the right business location and take your company to the next level. We assist food and beverage startups in building a foundation to innovate and scale. Use our network to build business connections, arrange site selections, learn about workforce resources, and get help expanding or relocating. Contact our business development officer today to learn more.

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