Phil Murphy
Science & Technology

Is NJ Still ‘Hot’ for Life Sciences Innovation?

Governor Phil Murphy last night reminded an audience of approximately 700 people at BioNJ’s 2019 Annual Dinner Meeting & Innovation Celebration, held at the Hilton East Brunswick, that pharmaceutical giant Johnson & Johnson’s co-founder Robert Wood Johnson once walked down a New Brunswick street to have lunch with none other than Thomas Edison himself. Of such high-powered collaboration, Murphy said, “In a nutshell, this is the type of synergy we are seeking to create, once again, in New Jersey.”

In broader terms, the US Food and Drug Administration approved more than 50 novel, new drugs in 2018, and, of those, a notable 21 approvals stemmed from 17 companies with a New Jersey footprint. Overall, Gov. Murphy said, “If you are in the life sciences and pharmaceutical fields, there are few places on the planet, quite literally, that provide the tools for success that we do here in New Jersey. [Pharmaceutical company] TEVA is showing that with their new commitment to move their North America headquarters to our state that that is the case, and we deeply appreciate it.”

While New Jersey has long been a biopharmaceutical node, Murphy touted recent efforts to boost life sciences and other innovation, including, but not limited to:, a portal which has opened to connect innovators with researchers at our colleges and universities; The Hub @ New Brunswick Station, a partnership among institutions of higher education, major healthcare providers and numerous corporate partners “to create an entirely new incubator and innovation center in downtown New Brunswick”; New Jersey’s revised research and development tax credit program; the planned New Jersey Evergreen Fund, which pairs state resources with private sector venture capital to co-invest in promising startups; and the proposed NJ Ignite, which would be the New Jersey Economic Development Authority’s collaborative workspace initiative.

BioNJ President and CEO Debbie Hart told the audience that representatives from the 17 Garden State companies whose drugs were approved (recipients of BioNJ’s Innovator Award) were in the audience, and she then introduced a musical group to the stage to “help pay tribute to their accomplishments.”

The evening meanwhile featured remarks from a host of others such as William N. Hait, M.D., Ph.D. (global head, Johnson & Johnson, external innovation) who was bestowed with the 2019 Sol J. Barer Award for Vision, Innovation and Leadership, as well as BioNJ’s outgoing chairman James Sapirstein (executive vice chairman, RespireRX), and incoming chairman Christopher Schaber, PhD. (president and CEO of Soligenix, Inc.). The latter said, “As you look through innovation in our state, it is imperative that BioNJ stays ahead of the new challenges facing our industry, and provides the necessary tools and support needed to ensure a strong ecosystem, future innovation, and new therapies and cures for patients.  Working with them and the team, BioNJ will increase its role in public policy in the state and beyond.”

BioNJ Innovator Award Winners:

·         Advanced Accelerator Applications (a Novartis Co.) for Lutathera

·         Allergan for Seysarar

·         Amicus Therapeutics, Inc. for Galafold

·         Eli Lilly and Company for Olumiant and Emgality

·         GlaxoSmithKline for Krintafel

·         Helsinn for Akynzeo

·         Insmed Incorporated for Arikayce

·         Janssen Biotech for Erleadar

·         Kyowa Kirin Pharmaceutical Development for Poteligeo

·         Merck & Co. for Pifeltror

·         Otsuka America Pharmaceutical for Jynarquer

·         Pfizer, Inc. for DaurismorM, Lorbrena, Talzennar and Vizimpro

·         Regeneron Pharmaceuticals for Libtayo

·         Sanofi for Libtayo

·         Shionogi, Inc. for Mulpleta and Xofluzar

·         Sun Pharmaceutical Industries for Ilumyar

·         Teva Pharmaceutical Industries for Ajovyr

To access more business news, visit NJB News Now.

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