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Middlesex County, New Jersey and Life Sciences: Perfect Together

Drawing on a history of innovation that started in the early 1800s, Middlesex County, New Jersey, remains the epicenter of the flourishing life sciences industry and sustains a high quality of life for its residents as a result. We are home to industry giants like Johnson & Johnson, Bristol Myers Squibb, and Novo Nordisk, as well as an abundance of growth-stage companies like Genmab, Rocket Pharmaceuticals, and Amicus Therapeutics. Fueling the life science ecosystem is the multitude of support entities, including laboratory equipment providers, clinical research organizations (CRO), and pharmaceutical contract development and manufacturing companies (CDMO). As such, Middlesex County boasts the most life sciences employees of any county in the state. 

As a major epicenter of research and development, the county ranks in the top 95% of the country for university-based research and development (R&D) spending. As a result, since 2019, companies with operations here have 13% to 14% of FDA New Drug approvals. Companies located within the county also received $122 million in National Institutes of Health funding, making it the#1 ranked county in the state. Equally impressive, life sciences companies with operations in Middlesex County account for 12% to 15% of the revenue for the global life sciences market.


Investing in innovation

County leadership has made deliberate investments in physical infrastructure and the talent pipeline to foster innovation and long-term economic success across key industries such as life sciences.  

The county’s vision for economic development anticipates the demands of new and existing life sciences companies and welcomes them ― not only in intent but in practice. By not just recognizing but embracing the fact that these companies will increasingly develop and adopt new technologies, Middlesex County is able to keep pace with industry needs. As such, the county has also made several crucial, future-forward financial and resource commitments to projects that will usher it into a new generation of innovation, making it a premier destination for new residents and businesses in the region. 

For instance, the county is a major stakeholder in two critical projects that will further increase its regional advantage. The first is the $750 million Rutgers Cancer Institute of New Jersey, Jack & Sheryl Morris Cancer Center. Located right in the county seat of New Brunswick, it is slated to open in 2024 and will be New Jersey’s first freestanding cancer center. That same year, the Health + Life Sciences Exchange (HELIX) will open in downtown New Brunswick. The HELIX is designed to foster research, entrepreneurship, innovation, and startup incubation. It will include the NJ Innovation Hub, which will bring together Middlesex County, Rutgers University, Hackensack Meridian Health, RWJ Barnabas Health, and the New Jersey Economic Development Authority as core partners, as well as incliude initial tenants Princeton University and DEVCO. 

The county also continues to invest in education and workforce development at every level to ensure a consistent flow of well-prepared employees and innovators. In 2022, Middlesex County’s vocational and technical high school system the first county-vocational school system in the nation underwent a rebranding that brought it into alignment with Middlesex College, the county’s highly regarded two-year college. The newly renamed Middlesex County Magnet Schools promote entrepreneurship and provide a pathway to advanced education and career opportunities in critical industries such as life sciences and technology. 

Additionally, initiatives that help both Middlesex County residents and life sciences employers by ensuring a highly prepared talent pool are underway. In 2022, workforce development programs such as SkillUp and other programs aimed at data analytics launched at Middlesex County. Another key program is the NJ Big Data Alliance, which was founded at Rutgers University and brings together 18 colleges and universities to align big data curricula, as well as provide specialized technologies to support industry needs. 

Prime location and environment for success

Middlesex County is conveniently located halfway between New York City and Philadelphia. A network of major highways and roadways I-95; I-287; Routes 1, 9, 18, 27, and 35; and the Garden State Parkway complements Middlesex County’s web of public transportation options. There are rail, bus, and ferry services, including the upcoming Carteret Ferry Terminal to Manhattan, making the county an ideal transportation hub for residents, visitors, employees, and goods and materials. The county’s proximity to Manhattan offers easy access for businesses seeking investment and capital in the New York market while also providing cost efficiency in terms of conducting business – particularly when compared with locations like New York, Boston, and San Francisco.  

As the center of Amtrak and NJ TRANSIT’s Northeast Corridor Line, which transports millions of riders per year, Middlesex County has made a strategic $25 million investment in developing another station along the line. The forthcoming North Brunswick Train Station will supplement the existing stations within the county to meet the needs of a growing workforce and business sector, ensuring increased access to affordable, reliable transportation.  

The future of innovation is in Middlesex County

Middlesex County’s commitment to cultivating an environment that supports the life sciences industry has not gone unnoticed. According to global commercial real estate firm CBRE, the top three life science real estate transactions in New Jersey were all in our county.   

The future for the life sciences industry is strong in Middlesex County. With access to diverse talent, strong infrastructure, and the unwavering support of forward-thinking leadership, life sciences companies in Middlesex County have everything they need to focus on the business of innovation and discovery.  

To learn more, contact or visit 

Submitted by Sho Islam, Division Head for Life Sciences and Food Innovation at the Middlesex County Department of County Administration

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