New Jersey BIO Buzz: A Global Hub for Discovery

The State of Innovation

New Jersey has been fertile ground for innovation for nearly 150 years. Our state’s history of human ingenuity in life sciences includes Lloyd Conover, who invented antibiotic Tetracycline at Pfizer in 1952, and Sidney Pestka, the “Father of Interferon,” who began to develop interferon to treat hepatitis, multiple sclerosis and cancer at Hoffmann-La Roche in 1969.

Today, New Jersey companies and academic researchers continue to be on the cutting edge of new therapies and treatments that are improving the lives of patients worldwide. In 2017, companies with a footprint in New Jersey represented nearly 50 percent of all new FDA drug and therapy approvals, including the first two FDA CAR T approvals, which represent a new era in cancer treatment, and the first FDA approval of a digital medicine system. Among 167 new innovative treatments in development for type 1 and type 2 diabetes, at least 51 are from New Jersey companies (Medicines in Development, 2019). Moreover, the region is recognized for having numerous areas of strength, including oncology, cell and gene therapy, rare disease, brain health and Alzheimer’s.

New Jersey is home to 12 of the world’s 20 largest pharmaceutical, medical technology and diagnostics companies including Bristol-Myers Squibb, Johnson and Johnson, Merck, Novartis, Sanofi and Novo Nordisk. Over 400 biotechnology companies are located here. With nearly 3,300 facilities operating across all sub-sectors, the New Jersey life sciences industry directly employs over 112,000 people, second only to California (with a population 30x larger). New Jersey is home to the most scientists and engineers per square mile than anywhere else in the world.

New Jersey’s unique commercialization ecosystem, comprised of world-class research universities, medical schools and some of the best hospitals in the nation, provides an entry point for domestic and international companies of all sizes to reach—and disrupt— the North American market.

A magnet for talent and investment, New Jersey is where companies grow, and innovation thrives.

Lab Space to Help Companies Launch, Scale and Mature

New Jersey has 18.2 million sq. ft. of lab inventory space from incubators to stand-alone space at research parks and hubs.

New Jersey’s Economic Development Authority (NJEDA)’s Commercialization Center for Innovative Technologies (CCIT) in North Brunswick offers a 46,000 sq. ft. incubator that is currently home to 2 dozen businesses and includes 27 wet labs as well as offices. Genesis Imaging recently moved into the incubator to develop novel automated tissue imaging methods to quantify fibrosis. CEO Mathieu Petitjean said he “couldn’t be happier with [CCIT’s] personalized attention, affordable lab space, and access to business-development resources.”

ON3 announced in February 2019 the construction of a new 150,000 sq. ft. spec lab to add to its already impressive R&D hub in Nutley/Clifton at the former Hoffmann-LaRoche site. In addition, Quest Diagnostics broke ground on a 250,000 sq. ft. laboratory building at ON3 in March 2019. The facility will become the largest in Quest’s network of more than 20 major lab facilities in the U.S. with over 1,000 employees.

The Hub @ New Brunswick Station is a planned 1.7 million-square-foot mixed used redevelopment project strategically located across from the New Brunswick train station and within walking distance of Rutgers University and Johnson & Johnson. The Hub will consist of multiple buildings with flexible build-to-suit capabilities to meet research and laboratory requirements of life sciences companies.

New Jersey’s leading universities are also fostering entrepreneurial growth. Rowan University’s South Jersey Technology Park (SJTP) in Mullica Hill is currently home to 28 young tech and life sciences companies benefitting from business resources and the university’s network, including the School of Osteopathic Medicine and Cooper Medical School at Rowan University.

Funding to Support Biopharma Breakthroughs

New Jersey ranks the #3 region for National Institute of Health (NIH) funding and offers attractive incentives and resources for success at every stage of development.

The NJEDA is regenerating New Jersey’s startup culture with several programs to assist emerging biotech companies. NJ Ignite offers rent support to startups moving into select coworking facilities. Princeton Innovation Center Biolabs, a 31,000-square-foot multidisciplinary incubator that includes fully equipped offices, work stations and lab benches for biology, chemistry and engineering companies, was recently added to the program.

For those looking for seed potential in young companies, the Angel Investor program offers refundable tax credits against New Jersey corporate, business or gross income tax for 10 percent of a qualified investment in an emerging technology business.

SCYNEXIS, a biotech company that recently moved from North Carolina, credits funding from the Technology Business Tax Certificate Transfer Program (NOL) as integral to bring its novel antifungal agent to market. The NOL Program enables eligible technology and life-sciences companies to sell their New Jersey net operating losses and unused research and development (R&D) tax credits to unrelated profitable corporations for cash.

A Diverse, Nurturing Ecosystem for Commercialization

Life sciences companies that choose New Jersey benefit from a high concentration of industry leaders, research centers, hospitals and universities for collaboration.

New Jersey is home of the world’s largest clinical research organizations (CROs), including Covance, PharmaTrials, InVentiv Health Clinical and Frontage Clinical Services. More than 400 CROs and 120 contract manufacturing companies are located here.

Public-private partnerships are accelerating the development of new therapies at New Jersey’s nationally-recognized higher education institutions.

Rutgers University’s RUCDR Infinite Biologics is the world’s largest university-based cell and DNA repository that collaborates with researchers in the public and private sectors throughout the world.  For example, last year, two Rutgers’ discoveries received FDA approvals. One, an enzyme replacement therapy, is a first-ever treatment now saving the lives of children suffering from a form of Batten Disease, a rare but fatal childhood illness. The other, a radio-opaque absorbable biopolymer provides an alternative to metal cardiac stents and has the potential to help millions with cardiovascular disease.

Princeton University, the #1 University in America for 8 consecutive years, is making advances in artificial intelligence and has just announced the creation of “focused research teams” in precision antibiotics, engineering living organelles, and robotics and cyber-physical systems. Its recent advances in nano-encapsulation have captured the attention and support of both the Gates Foundation and major biopharmaceutical companies.

New Jersey’s institutions are bringing greater focus to manufacturing issues related to advancing cell and gene therapy and are working to solve problems of scalability. The New Jersey Innovation Institute (NJII), an NJIT corporation, is home to five industry-facing “innovationLabs” (iLabs) including the Cell and Gene Therapy Development Center (CGTDC), which combines state-of-the-art technologies, infrastructure, facilities and world-class expertise to support the development and manufacturing of cell therapy products. The Center has become a hub for collaboration with industry, government and regulatory agencies, technology developers and academia.

In March 2019, Pall Corporation, a high-tech filtration equipment provider, announcement an investment of $3.5 million to advance NJII’s BioPharmaceutical Innovation iLab. The partnership will support two centers that focus on manufacturing new cell and gene therapies: the Cell and Gene Therapy Development Center and the Center of Advanced Biologic Manufacturing. NJII is scheduled to open its Viral Vector Laboratory in September 2019.

Research with New Jersey, an online database created to connect companies with academic research, now includes 6 of New Jersey’s research universities— New Jersey Institute of Technology, Princeton University, Rutgers University, Rowan University, Stevens Institute of Technology and Montclair State University. The database, a collaborative effort by the NJEDA and the Office of the Secretary of Higher Education, was launched at BIO 2018. The site has nearly 3,700 faculty profiles, which collectively contain more than 210,000 published articles.

New Jersey’s robust healthcare system is comprised of 43 teaching hospitals and 5 medical schools, including Hackensack Meridian Health—the State’s largest and most comprehensive and integrated health network. Morristown Medical Center, within the Atlantic Health System, was recently recognized as one of ‘America’s 50 Best Hospitals’ by Healthgrades for the fourth consecutive year, placing in the top one percent of hospitals in the nation for clinical performance.

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