BioNJ, a trade group for the life science industry, has released a white paper that proposes ideas for how the biopharma sector can promote economic growth across New Jersey. The paper is titled “The New Jersey Biopharma Industry: A Prescription for Growth.”

“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 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. In fact, in 2015-2017 alone, New Jersey-headquartered biopharma companies accounted for 29 percent of the drugs approved by the FDA and extending that to companies with a footprint in New Jersey, the number jumps to nearly 50 percent.”

“However, the performance of the biopharma industry overall indicates New Jersey could be doing even better,” she said. “This report will serve as the basis for BioNJ’s recommendations to Governor-Elect Phil Murphy and to the New Jersey Biotechnology Task Force with the goal to create an environment that helps companies thrive and attracts new start-ups and funding to the Garden State. 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.”

The paper calls for:

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.

The report shows that in recent years, the state’s biopharma industry has not kept up with other states, despite its old reputation as the nation’s “medicine chest.” The paper earned the endorsement of Assemblyman Andrew Zwicker, a Democrat who has taken stances favoring the tech and biotech industries.

“New Jersey’s life sciences industry has made great strides in recent years,” Zwicker said. “We have an opportunity to leverage this success and transform New Jersey into a biopharma hub that will be the envy of other states. Bio­NJ’s white paper offers us a road map to attracting and growing the companies that are revolutionizing medicine and technology.”

“We hope Governor-elect Murphy and the New Jersey Biotechnology Task Force find the white paper informative and will consider it as a call-to-action,” said Hart. “We look forward to working with the new administration on these recommendations to grow the state’s economy and ensure that New Jersey continues to be the Medicine Chest of the World — delivering valuable medical innovation for patients around the globe.”

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