Lab Space, Funding, and Top Talent: Why New Jersey is Ideal for Life Sciences Companies

Why do major life sciences companies choose New Jersey? To put it simply: top talent and fruitful collaborations between industry and universities. These two major assets (along with an abundance of lab space and funding and more) have long secured New Jersey’s position as a leader in the life sciences industry. 

Global pharmaceutical companies at the forefront of medical discoveries are headquartered here, including Johnson & Johnson, Merck, Bristol-Myers Squibb, BD, and Novartis. Eight of the top 10 global biopharmaceutical companies and nine of the top 10 R&D companies have a home in the state.  

New Jersey is also home to a thriving innovation ecosystem of smaller, more nimble biotechnology companies like Evotec, and Ferring Pharmaceuticals, which are taking root and finding the support to scale. Our startup ecosystem is bolstered by available capital that funds translational research to the commercialization pipeline.

In the last five years, New Jersey companies have seen an 83% increase in National Institutes of Health (NIH) funding, a 126% increase in National Science Foundation Biological Sciences funding, and a 225% increase in private health tech investment. In 2022, $7.5 billion were invested in the New York/New Jersey region for health innovation. New Jersey companies like Onyx Equities are going above and beyond to offer viable real estate solutions for available, affordable lab space, with a projected 27% increase by 2026.

Top talent

New Jersey’s life sciences industry offers robust opportunities to bring 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 (according to the National Science Board).
  • The third most biochemists and biophysicists employed in the nation.
  • Nearly 23,000 members of New Jersey’s life sciences cluster focused on pharmaceutical manufacturing — three times the national average. 

While employing life sciences innovators, we’re also training the next generation. New Jersey boasts the third-highest concentration of STEM degrees awarded in the country and one of the highest concentrations of specialized commercialization expertise.  

Higher education

Raritan Valley Community College’s (RVCC) Workforce Training Center, developed based on industry feedback, was recently awarded a grant from the National Institute for Innovation in Manufacturing Biopharmaceuticals. The grant, coupled with funds from the American Rescue Plan, enables the center to create a program focused on exploring careers in the biopharmaceutical manufacturing industry. The Workforce Training Center will also make a clean room for aseptic manufacturing — the state’s first — and will offer student training opportunities. The clean room is set to break ground in the fall of 2023. 

At Rowan University, the Virtua Health College of Medicine & Life Sciences is a historic new academic health partnership with Virtua Health. One of two public universities in the nation to offer M.D. and D.O. degree programs, Rowan has the state’s only osteopathic medical school, complemented by a graduate school of biomedical sciences, an expanded nursing and allied health professions school, and a new school of translational biomedical engineering and sciences. It also has multiple research institutes and centers and aligned clinical practices to improve patient care and train the healthcare workforce to be the leading caregivers of tomorrow. Rowan’s Shreiber School of Veterinary Medicine – New Jersey’s first veterinary medical school – will encourage scholarly research while strongly committing to routine and specialized veterinary medical care and services. The school plans to welcome its first class of 70 students in the fall of 2025. 

Rutgers University’s Heldrich Workforce Development Group researches and analyzes the industry’s workforce needs and helps shape policy decisions that support life sciences growth and success. 

Rutgers Cancer Institute of New Jersey and RWJBarnabas Health are part of an elite group of comprehensive cancer centers in the U.S. designated by the National Cancer Institute and ranked as one of the best hospitals in the U.S. by News & World Report. The NCI also recognizes Rutgers Cancer Institute as a consortium cancer center with Princeton University. This partnership brings together the top cancer researchers, scientists, and clinicians in New Jersey.

Princeton University’s strength is in fundamental and computational sciences to advance research on cancer metabolism, multiscale cellular bioengineering, and more at institutions such as the Ludwig Princeton Branch, the Princeton Bioengineering Initiative, and the Princeton Catalysis Initiative

Thanks to a development grant from the National Science Foundation‘s Regional Innovation Engines, or NSF Engines program, Princeton and Rowan will lead a collaboration of 12 universities (in New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and Delaware) and 11 companies (including Nokia Bell Labs), as well as statewide economic and workforce development programs, and technology accelerators and incubators that help transition research into startup companies. The grant will lay the groundwork for a multistate collaboration called Advancing Photonics Technologies, which aims to advance research, transition discoveries into the economy, and build the region’s technological workforce. 


New Jersey’s lab market has an 8.3% vacancy rate (Q1, 2023). Our existing 22 million square feet of lab space is expected to grow 27% by 2026, adding an additional 6.6 million square feet. In a tight market, it can be challenging to find available inventory in regions like San Francisco (3.5%), Raleigh/Durham (7.6%), and Boston/Cambridge (3.5%). Our lab space – $35 per square foot – is significantly more affordable than that in New York City ($85), Boston/Cambridge ($104/$123), and San Francisco ($75).   


NEST, Northeast Science & Technology Center in Kenilworth, offers over two million square feet of existing, purpose-built R&D space. The comprehensive 108-acre campus, available in 2024, includes a 30-acre development parcel, a turn-key vivarium, robust and redundant utility infrastructure, a fitness center, conference centers, multiple cafeterias, a heliport, and more. 

Also on the horizon is HELIX, the Health and Life Science Exchange, slated to be available in 2026. This innovation hub in New Brunswick will provide businesses, universities, and researchers the critical space to work, learn, and experiment. Princeton University, Rutgers University, Hackensack Meridian Health, and RWJBarnabas Health have already committed to core partner space. HELIX represents the largest translational research capital investment in the state’s history. Rutgers University has committed to investing $270 million to recruit and retain clinical researchers, further advancing translational research efforts. 

Another significant investment project in development is The Cove. This 13-acre, mixed-use campus in Jersey City will be a creative live-work-play community along the Hudson River waterfront and a flagship destination for life sciences, offering 1.4 million square feet of academic and commercial laboratory and office space.  


Many research parks and mixed-use campuses already call New Jersey home and have contributed to the state’s rise of small and mid-size biotech companies. ON3 in Nutley, the former Hoffman-LaRoche site, now houses the Hackensack Meridian School of Medicine, Quest Diagnostics’ flagship lab, and Eisai’s U.S. headquarters. Princeton West Innovation Campus, the former Bristol Myers-Squibb campus in Hopewell, is in the heart of the U.S. Northeast Corridor, with strategic access to local and global biotech, pharmaceutical, financial, media markets, and regulatory centers. It is the location of PTC Therapeutics, BeiGene’s flagship U.S. manufacturing and clinical R&D center, and more. 95 Greene, Jersey City’s first lab-ready life sciences space, is home to RWJBarnabas Health/Jersey City Medical Center and EpiBone.  

Office-to-lab-space conversions have emerged in the real estate market to help further ease the demand for lab space. Developer Thor Equities reimagined the former Colgate Palmolive factory into a Merrill Lynch office. The 340,000-square-foot, eight-story building was repositioned for R&D as New Jersey’s first urban first lab-ready life sciences property.  

The former AT&T Campus in Bedminster is another example of office space rezoned for industrial or mixed-use community space. The 194-acre campus was rezoned in 2022 to expand potential uses beyond its 214,000 square feet of office space to accommodate research, development, laboratory applications, ancillary amenities such as a conference center, and commercial areas such as restaurants, retail, and amenities. The new zoning allows for the potential of a complete redevelopment. With residences nearby, these changes will attract life sciences and high-tech businesses to the location, as well as individuals and families, making it a live-work-play community. 

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, including the NJ Bioscience Center in North Brunswick, offer 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. 

Major Relocation & Expansions

New Jersey is the #3 ranked life science cluster in the United States, and offers an ecosystem that supports scientific advancements and countless opportunities for growth. As such, biopharma companies are moving to and relocating within the state. 

Demand for suburban office parks, co-working spaces, live-work-play campuses, and innovation hubs continues to grow. These new workspaces offer state-of-the-art amenities and transportation access consistent with the evolving needs of businesses of all sizes.Here are some of the top reasons we’ve seen many relocations within the state.  

  • September 2022: L’Oreal USA announced a $140M development project for a new state-of-the-art Research & Innovation (R&I) Center in Clark, New Jersey. The R&I center replaced the company’s former facilities and was its most significant investment in R&I to date. The facility has the resources to scale formulations to help fast-track new product developments. 
  • October 2022: BioCentriq, Inc., a New Jersey-based cell and gene therapy contract development and manufacturing organization (CDMO), opened its newly constructed GMP manufacturing facility at the Princeton Corporate Plaza in South Brunswick, New Jersey. The facility provides additional capacity to support market demand and includes two ISO-7-certified clean rooms with separate air handling units. The clean rooms are designed to handle multiple equipment platforms and support autologous and allogeneic cell therapy manufacturing projects. The site also includes quality control and process development laboratories.
  • November 2022: Indian biopharmaceutical and biotechnology leader Meteoric Biopharmaceuticals USA, LLC, expanded its global operations to New Jersey by opening its Morris Plains facility, whcih acts as a distribution warehouse, storing an inventory of enzymes, probiotics, and nutraceuticals.
  • April 2023: Kenvue, the spinoff of Johnson & Johnson’s consumer health brands, announced the founding of its global headquarters in Summit. It entered into a long-term agreement for a renovated office building and a newly constructed R&D building encompassing approximately 290,000 sq. ft. of office and laboratory space. 

There have also been several relocations within the state, as companies often want larger, updated lab space but enjoy the benefits of being in New Jersey. Eisai Inc., Lexicon Pharmaceuticals, Merck, and Sanofi are a few biopharma companies that have recently relocated within the state. 

With access to world-class talent, quality lab space, funding, and an ecosystem that supports innovation, it is easy to see why biopharmaceutical companies continue to thrive in New Jersey. 

Grow & Thrive in a Supportive Ecosystem

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. 

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, which supports various scientific endeavors through biobanking, laboratory services, and independent translational research. 

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 several financial incentive programs that support transformational growth in New Jersey.  

  • The Emerge Program provides per-job tax credits to projects that invest private capital into the state and create new good-paying jobs (or retain many good-paying jobs). 
  • The Net Operating Loss Program enables tech and life sciences companies to sell their New Jersey net operating losses and/or research and development tax credits for cash. Buyers can purchase tax credits at a discount and apply them to reduce taxable income. 
  • New Jersey Ignite Program supports entrepreneurs by providing rent support grants. In addition, this program offers collaborative workspaces with a new tenant attraction tool. 
  • New Jersey Angel Investor Tax Credit establishes tax credits against corporate businesses or gross income taxes based on qualified investment in New Jersey’s emerging technology businesses to stimulate the investment. 
  • New Jersey Evergreen Innovation Fund secures funding and strategic support from the sale of state corporate tax credits in a competitive auction, then partners with private venture capital firms to co-invest the funds in eligible early-stage businesses in New Jersey.
  • The Life Science/Health Care Fund under the State Small Business Credit Initiative (SSBCI) will be managed by three firms and support early-stage New Jersey life science and health care businesses, including companies in biotechnology, pharmaceuticals, and medical devices.  

Get Connected with New Jersey

Choose New Jersey can help take your company to the next level. We assist life sciences startups build a foundation to innovate and scale. We utilize our network to forge business connections, arrange site visits, and assist your company in moving or expanding to New Jersey every step of the way. Contact our business development team to learn more. 

Let's Get Started

Discover what New Jersey can do for you and your business. Fill out the form below to unlock a guide tailored to your industry.

Scroll to Top