“We need more wild horses” to propel the life science industry forward in New Jersey

In celebration of the life science industry in New Jersey and Morris County, the Morris County Economic Development Corporation held a panel discussion on March 10, 2017 that addressed opportunities and challenges that face the industry in New Jersey. Clive Meanwell, CEO of The Medicines Company declared that was is truly needed are more “wild horses” or otherwise big thinkers to challenge the status quo thinking which leads to the breakthrough cures and transformative therapies. The keynote speaker was Jay Bapna, PE, Senior Vice President of Global Engineering for Allergan who discussed Allergan’s operations worldwide and the expansion in Madison, New Jersey. The morning panel was moderated by Dean Paranicas of the Healthcare Institute of New Jersey (HINJ) and included John Oroho, Esq. of Porzio Life Sciences, Clive Meanwell, CEO of The Medicines Company, Christine Mikail of Engage Therapeutics and Dr. Keith Bostian of the Institute of Life Science Entrepreneurship (ISLE) located on the campus of Kean University. The key takeaways of the discussion included the importance of tax incentives to encourage the growth of nascent life science companies, development of relationships between industry and higher education, communities with amenities including good schools to attract scientists and their families, and the opportunity for scientists to have the support they need to develop the drugs of tomorrow.

 

“Biomedical research is the crown jewel of the United States economy”

“Biomedical research is the crown jewel of the United States economy,” was the declaration of Bob Hugin of Celgene at the Morris County Chamber of Commerce Annual Meeting on February 10, 2017. Hugin, a former marine, recounted the harrowing early years at Celgene, with headquarters in Summit, New Jersey, as the company reinvented itself and nearly ran out of cash before investors buoyed the company back to solvency which eventually led to breakthrough treatments for cancer. The importance of biomedical research to the United States economy is realized through economic benefits of investing in drug discovery through the creation of jobs and employment of talent, development of property and labs (in some cases previously abandoned by other pharmaceutical companies), and also in the prevention and treatment of disease to allow people to be productive and contribute in their own unique way to society.

In Morris County, greater than 52% of the adult population has a bachelor’s degree and the employment in the scientific, professional and technical fields continues to grow. The pharmaceutical industry remains an important presence in New Jersey, especially in Morris County and adjacent and nearby counties Somerset, Bergen, and Middlesex. In fact, according to ChooseNJ, the concentration of scientists and engineers in New Jersey is more so than in any other region in the world. Since 2012, the Pharmaceutical and Medicine Manufacturing, Medical Equipment and Supplies Manufacturing, and the Scientific Research and Development industries have collectively grown by 13.6%, an increase of 1,122 jobs. This is a much higher increase than what the nation is seeing as a whole (5.6%) The forecasts also show promising growth in these industries, with a 12.3% expected growth rate by the year 2022. (Source: EMSI)

Life science companies located in Morris County include Novartis, Bayer, Ferring, Euroimmun, Biomedical Research Institute of New Jersey (BRInj), Pfizer, Allergan (formerly Actavis), Exeltis Usa, Biomedtrix, Immunomedics, Halo Pharmaceuticals, Ascensia, Pacira Pharmaceuticals, NANOBIOTEC, BioInvenu Corporation. These organizations employ 34,578 people in the County and contribute in broader way to the global community. Allergan, for example, has moved its headquarters to the Giralda Farms office park in Madison. The move is estimated to keep 1,500 jobs in New Jersey and create 300 more full-time positions. The BRInj has a partnership with Atlantic Health to allow doctors to conduct research known as “translational medicine” to solve difficult medical conditions that the doctors may encounter.

Life science industry organizations including BioNJ, HINJ, provide advocacy for these industries and are a wealth of knowledge about the importance of developing life saving and drugs that improve quality of life. BioNJ works to support public policy surrounding the Life Science industry while also creating events that educate the public on the industry. The HealthCare Institute of New Jersey (HINJ) is a trade association for the research-based biopharmaceutical and medical technology industry in New Jersey. HINJ serves as a unified voice for New Jersey’s life sciences industry and seeks to build awareness of this industry’s impact on New Jersey’s quality of life and economic well-being.

New Jersey also claims successful life science industry incubators and accelerators. The Institute for Life Science Entrepreneurship (ISLE) is both a technology accelerator and a science-driven research institute that works in partnership with affiliated academic and biomedical institutions across the region. The Commercialization Center for Innovative Technologies’ (CCIT) was created by the New Jersey Economic Development Authority and has as its core mission to assist start-ups to become successful companies that will leave the center financially viable, strengthening the economy by commercializing critical technologies and creating jobs. There are also other groups that support the Life Science community in New Jersey including Launch NJ – Life Science.