By Jose Lozano, President and CEO, Choose New Jersey, Inc.
With a 150-year history of developing lifesaving medicine, New Jersey has always been the capital of innovation. We welcome big ideas and those who think differently to bring transformative therapies, novel medicines and disruptive technologies to market. The state’s innovation economy includes strong industry synergy, venture capital funding, access to leading universities, proximity to research hospitals and concentration of top talent. Further, New Jersey offers an unbeatable location, a dynamic life sciences ecosystem and access to a large, globally diverse workforce – along with an affordable quality of life that’s one of the best in the nation.
The Garden State is the global gateway to the United States. New Jersey offers non-stop flights to almost anywhere in the U.S. and the across globe, making it easier to connect to employees, clients, and customers. We are at the center of the transit-connected Northeast corridor, directly between Washington D.C. and Boston, and part of the New York and Philadelphia area. New Jersey moves people and products better than anyone else in the nation because of our ports, airports, freight rail lines and mass transportation system.
Further, 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.
At this year’s annual Biotechnology Innovation Organization (BIO) International Convention in Philadelphia – an event that boasts nearly 18,000 attendees from 67 countries – New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy received the Governor of the Year award in recognition of his leadership and commitment to strengthening the bioscience industry. BIO President and CEO Jim Greenwood applauded Governor Murphy’s efforts in the life sciences space by saying, “He has successfully enhanced New Jersey’s stature as one of the nation’s most vibrant biotech clusters through strong support for policies that benefit a pro-job and pro-biotechnology environment.”
Life sciences is truly at the heart of Governor Murphy’s vision for New Jersey. Governor Murphy is determined to return New Jersey as the capital of life sciences in the U.S. by creating a thriving entrepreneurial life sciences ecosystem. At BIO, Gov. Murphy reflected on New Jersey’s history and its future, saying, “We are the state where, more than 130 years ago, Johnson & Johnson opened its doors and started us on the path to becoming the ‘Medicine Chest to the World.’ We are home to 13 of the world’s 20 largest biopharmaceutical companies. We are where immunotherapy was born, where the cure for hepatitis C was discovered and where the first-ever FDA approvals for both CAR-T therapy and a 3D printed drug were won.”
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-based companies (Medicines in Development, 2019). Moreover, the region is recognized for leading the way in numerous areas of medicine, including oncology, cell and gene therapy, rare disease, brain health and Alzheimer’s.
Home to the most scientists and engineers per square mile than any other state in the U.S. (tied with Massachusetts), New Jersey has the brain power to build the businesses of tomorrow. The Garden State is home to the world’s leading pharmaceutical giants including Bristol-Myers Squibb, Johnson & Johnson, Merck, Novartis, Sanofi and Novo Nordisk. Notable industry leaders have started here, including Celgene (a trailblazer in oncology), Amicus Therapeutics (which received its first FDA approval for rare diseases in 2018), NPS Pharma (bought by Shire for $5.2 billion in 2015) and Celator Pharmaceuticals (acquired by Jazz for $1.5 billion in 2016). Over 400 biotechnology companies are located here. With nearly 3,300 facilities operating across all sub-sectors, New Jersey’s life sciences industry directly employs over 112,000 people, second only to California which has a population that is 30 times larger.
Not only is New Jersey a great place for talent and businesses to thrive, it’s a great place for families to live and work. We have a quality of life that is one of the best in the nation, with safe and diverse neighborhoods where talent can flourish. New Jersey has some of the best healthcare and education systems in the country, along with world-class entertainment, 130 miles of stunning coastline, and great dining and shopping options. Our strength in education begins with our excellent pre-K and elementary schools, where children get the foundation they need for future academic success. The state’s high schools consistently are ranked among the best in the country. New Jersey is consistently in the top 10 in higher education and home to some of the best colleges and universities in the nation, including Rutgers University, and U.S. News & World Reports’ #1 ranked Princeton University.
As the head of Choose New Jersey, the non-profit economic development marketing arm of the state, I am ready to make the case to companies why New Jersey should be their top choice for doing business. Whether you are a manufacturer, biotech or technology start-up, domestic and foreign companies seeking to expand will find that New Jersey has the talented workforce, expertise and the access to U.S. markets businesses need to grow successfully. As we move forward, our history of innovation and discovery is redefining the future, and New Jersey is at the forefront of the innovation economy of tomorrow.
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Jose Lozano is President and Chief Executive Officer for Choose New Jersey.