Years ago, New Jersey was the place to be if you were a bio-tech or pharmaceutical company. The state was the leader in innovations and an incubator for the growing life sciences industry. Along the way, however, companies began leaving the state and start-up companies chose other locations for their growing businesses.
Last Thursday, the trade association for New Jersey’s life sciences industry released an important white paper, “The New Jersey Biopharma Industry: A Prescription for Growth.”
The association made key recommendations to Governor-Elect Phil Murphy aimed at growing the industry and “strengthening New Jersey’s competitiveness.” CIANJ supports the report and the recommendations of BioNJ and believes that a smart approach to growing the state’s life sciences industry will be integral to keeping the state’s economy strong.
“New Jersey has long been a critical economic engine for the United States, and the biopharmaceutical industry has been an important source of the State’s growth for generations,” said BioNJ President and CEO Debbie Hart. “As one of the top 10 innovation hubs in the world, New Jersey employs over 120,000 highly educated life sciences workers and is the operating base for over 1,000 biopharma companies, with more than 1,000 drugs in development by those companies.
BioNJ said in the last two years alone, New Jersey-headquartered biopharma companies accounted for 29% of the drugs approved by the FDA.
“However, the performance of the biopharma industry overall indicates New Jersey could be doing even better,” added Hart. “Developing an environment for growth is crucial for improving New Jersey’s economic health, and the State’s biopharma industry should be central to that strategy.”
BioNJ makes four key recommendations:
- Direct government support of the industry, including making existing government programs easier to navigate.
- Promotion of life sciences innovation and investment in the State, including creating and branding a potential “super cluster” of activity.
- Educational and training programs, including linking existing pools of expertise (e.g., drug development and commercialization) to young companies.
- Strengthening New Jersey’s brand, including increased promotion and marketing of the advantages of founding or moving a company to the State.
CIANJ believes these four key recommendations are a solid blueprint for positioning New Jersey as not just a leader but the leader once again in the life sciences industry for the future.
In a position paper, Gov.-Elect Murphy said, “Before there was Silicon Valley, there was New Jersey. From Pharma to bio and life sciences to telecoms, New Jersey was once flush with companies and industries that changed how we thought about the world and our place in it.” He went on to say, “We still have all of the pieces – from our location to our people – needed for a vibrant, growing economy that works for all nine million of us.”
We urge Gov.-Elect Murphy and his administration to support the findings of the BioNJ study and stay strong in his commitment to developing the “innovation economy” in New Jersey and take life sciences to the next level for the benefit of the state’s economy.