BioNJ Announces Expanded Mission and Vision, New Initiatives

Inspired by a series of new strategic initiatives, BioNJ announced a rebranding today — BioNJ, The Gateway to Health – that reflects an expanded vision and mission directed to fostering a vibrant life sciences ecosystem in New Jersey where science is supported, companies are created, drugs are developed and patients are paramount.

The rebranding is supported by the launch of a revitalized website at www.BioNJ.org that is contemporary in its look and represents the determination of BioNJ to help move the life sciences industry forward.

“Because Patients Can’t Wait, at BioNJ, we are dedicated to propelling the State’s rich biotechnology innovation ecosystem forward in New Jersey and beyond to help stimulate the discovery, development and commercialization of therapies and cures that save and improve lives and lessen the burden of illness and disease to society,” said BioNJ President and CEO Debbie Hart.

“As the Statute of Liberty, standing in New Jersey waters, is the Gateway to America, BioNJ is The Gateway to Health,” said Hart. “Guided by this iconic imagery, BioNJ’s mission is focused now more than ever on helping research-based companies obtain the resources they need – financial, informational and more – to bring innovative products to patients faster and in greater numbers.  To do this we are expanding our outreach to members of the life sciences sector beyond biotechnology companies and implementing several key initiatives that are completely new or that improve upon BioNJ’s current programs.”

According to Hart, the BioNJ Board of Trustees and the BioNJ Team have been working for the past year on a series of new initiatives that include:

  • Bolstering an already robust life sciences cluster in New Jersey by creating an interconnected base of region-wide research and development assets that will serve as a nexus of innovation.
  • Fostering entrepreneurship and funding programs that will help develop and support a continuous flow of new companies.
  • Increasing BioNJ’s public policy advocacy programs and enhancing communication with patient advocacy groups so that the voice of the patient and his or her family has an even stronger presence in our community.
  • Advocating for innovation in medical research by promoting a dialog that examines how breakthroughs, such as those in cancer therapy, contribute to society by saving and extending lives and reducing overall medical costs.
  • Working from one of New Jersey’s greatest strengths, promoting the State’s expertise in conducting clinical trials and drug development as a key differentiating factor for the region and facilitating the expansion of additional trials in the State.
  • Establishing The Academy at BioNJ as a center for professional development in the life sciences. The Academy will provide access to powerful and creative training opportunities for employers and individual industry professionals.
  • Preparing New Jersey’s emerging and start-up companies to stand above the competition when the largest biotechnology gathering in the world, BIO 2015, returns to the Delaware Valley in June.
  • Realigning BioNJ’s Members and membership levels to emphasize the Members’ roles as “Investors” in BioNJ’s Vision and Mission.

Additional initiatives are ongoing and directed at enhancing and expanding BioNJ’s benefits to its Members and future Members, such as educational programs, networking opportunities and discounts on services provided by a select set of vendors.

“The re-branding of BioNJ and these new strategic initiatives will help ensure that New Jersey remains a leader in life sciences and a catalyst to move the industry forward,” said BioNJ Chairman Francois Nader, M.D., President and CEO of NPS Pharma.

“We hope our current members who have always been dedicated investors in BioNJ will redouble their support and other members of the life sciences community will join us in our efforts to promote the Biotechnology industry and continue serving patients in New Jersey and around the world,” added Dr. Nader.

Nexus of Innovation
To tap into and maximize the rich research and development assets located throughout New Jersey – including those in public and private companies, academic centers and innovation incubators — programs stemming from these initiatives will work to better interconnect the assets through formal and informal networks that communicate with each other.

Hart noted that this approach will create a “nexus of innovation” within the State and the approach may eventually also involve the development of one or more bricks-and-mortar locations.

In that same vein, Hart said numerous studies and reports point to the fact that reduced funding for start-up and early stage companies is a detriment to innovation around the nation and the initiatives direct BioNJ to redouble its efforts to foster entrepreneurship to ensure there is a continuous stream of new companies that stem from or choose New Jersey as their starting place.

Academy Adds to BioNJ’s Role in Professional Development
The Academy at BioNJ is designed to serve as the center for professional development in the life sciences sector.   The Academy will provide access to powerful and creative training opportunities for employers and individual industry professionals, delivered by top training experts.

Employers and individual professionals will have access to specialized programs such as Project Management, Leadership, Six Sigma, Root Cause Analysis, Team Development, Sales, Customer Service, Business Development, Partnering, Finance and more.

Employers have the opportunity to customize programs and can host sessions at their location, or may enroll employees in public programs.  There will also be a selection of online training courses to choose from as well.

Strategic Initiatives in Action
As an example of programs that are already being developed and implemented as a result of the strategic initiatives, Hart pointed to Life Sciences in New Jersey: Looking Beyond Biotech, an industry study released this year by BioNJ on September 22, and BioP on the Road to BIO 2015, a series of free coaching sessions leading up to the Biotechnology Industry Organization’s 2015 International Convention.

Conducted in partnership with EY (formerly Ernst and Young), the Rutgers Edward J. Bloustein School of Planning and Public Policy and the New Jersey Department of Labor and Workforce Development, the BioNJ 2013 Industry Study is a first-of-its-kind look into the New Jersey life sciences industry. The study presents a comprehensive look at the ongoing growth of the biotechnology sector in the State and combines and assesses the contributions of the entirety of the life sciences sector to New Jersey’s economy, including employment and economic impact.

In preparation for BIO 2015, BioNJ will host a series of free coaching or “scrub sessions” for the remainder of 2014 and into spring 2015 for BioNJ Member companies looking to present and/or take part in partnering sessions at the world’s largest biotechnology conference. The training sessions will prepare emerging and start-up companies to present their technologies at the Convention to be held on June 15-18, 2015 in Philadelphia and will be conducted by leading New Jersey life sciences community members with expertise in business plan development, fundraising, finance, legal and regulatory issues, business development, marketing and more.

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