Final Word: New Jersey: Biotech's Ideal Lab Location

A wealth of resources and skilled personnel has enabled the Garden State to emerge as a mecca for the biotech community.
Jul 01, 2005
Volume 18, Issue 7

As the fourth largest center for biotechnology and life sciences in the US, New Jersey is home to 15 of the world's 20 largest pharmaceutical companies. More than half of all new medicines approved in the US are developed by New Jersey companies. New Jersey is an ideal location because it offers close proximity to the financial markets in New York and Philadelphia, and a highly skilled workforce, strong funding, government support, and academic expertise.

Skilled Labor Pool for Life Sciences With more than 200,000 employees working in the life sciences industry, New Jersey offers more scientists, engineers, and technicians per capita than any other state. Life sciences companies are relocating to New Jersey from Georgia, Massachusetts, and Connecticut to leverage the available workforce.

In New Jersey, more than 8,000 employees work in biotechnology and more than 130 biotechnology companies occupy over literally millions of square feet of space. Biotechnology and life sciences companies have grown in the state by more than 60 percent in the last eight years.

Debbie Hart
Largest Life Sciences University in the US New Jersey's academic institutions provide an ample pool of educated, skilled workers for science. The University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey is the largest life sciences university in the US. Rutgers University houses the Protein Data Bank, the only facility of its kind in the world.

Rutgers University recently partnered with the New Jersey Economic Development Authority (NJEDA) to build the Rutgers Technology Center II, a 26,000-ft2 facility for collaboration efforts with biotech and life sciences start-up ventures.

Ranks Fourth in R&D Expenditures Across the Nation Since 1995, New Jersey companies have secured nearly $1 billion in venture capital funding. In 2003, New Jersey received seven percent of all venture capital funding provided nationally.

The state also ranked third nationally in private R&D expenditures, and fourth in total public and private R&D expenditures in 2003. Additionally, the National Institutes of Health has awarded the state more than $274 million in 2004 alone, a number that is growing annually.

In addition, New Jersey offers state-supported funding such as the Garden State Life Sciences Venture Fund. At the suggestion of the Biotechnology Council of New Jersey, NJEDA partnered with Quaker Bioventures to create this $40 million fund whose purpose is to make investments in emerging New Jersey-based life sciences companies.

State Government Offers Support and Incentives New Jersey's committed government creates incentives and initiatives to help drive the biotechnology industry. New Jersey's Business Employment Incentive Grants are available to expanding or relocating businesses. Companies creating jobs in New Jersey may be awarded grants from 10 to 80 percent of the total annual state income taxes withheld from new employees hired in the state. To be eligible, biotech companies must create a minimum of 10 new, full-time jobs annually.

Another feature New Jersey offers is customized, competitive incentive packages. Through NJ's Tax Credit Transfer program, early-stage firms can sell operating losses to profitable companies for cash. Entities such as the New Jersey Commission on Spinal Cord Research and the New Jersey Commission on Cancer Research also offer funding.

Couple these elements with leading government and advocacy organizations such as the New Jersey Commission on Science & Technology, NJEDA, the New Jersey Commerce Commission, and the Biotechnology Council of New Jersey, and it's clear why New Jersey is a powerhouse for biotechnology. While New Jersey's official moniker is "The Garden State," newer nicknames of "The Invention State," and "The Nation's Medicine Cabinet," more aptly define its role today.

Debbie Hart, President Biotechnology Council of New Jersey, Inc. 1AAA Drive, Suite 102 Trenton, NJ 08691, 609.890.3185, fax: 609.581.8244,

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