The New Jersey Biotechnology Task Force today released its report of recommendations on the necessity and urgency for the state to invest in strengthening its innovation capacity, specifically encouraging growth in its biotechnology sector. The report was presented at the New Jersey Economic Development Authority in Trenton.
Debbie Hart, president and CEO of BioNJ, and chair of the Task Force, stressed the important role that the biotechnology industry plays in New Jersey in terms of economic impact, job creation and tax revenue.
“By leveraging our strengths, we believe that New Jersey can achieve its goal of revitalization and enhancement of the life sciences industry through strengthening of the state’s innovation capacity,” Hart said. “Governor Phil Murphy’s commitment to growing New Jersey’s innovation ecosystem is noteworthy, and many of the recommendations contained within this report have already been put forward as legislation that is now moving through the Legislature. We believe that a deep understanding of the importance of the life sciences industry to New Jersey already exists and that these recommendations will capitalize on the interest and the opportunity.”
Several members of the Task Force were in attendance to share thoughts including Assemblyman, and Task Force Vice Chair Andrew Zwicker, Assemblyman Gary Schear, Senator Robert Singer, and Assemblyman Christopher DePhillips.
The recommendations within the report itself focus on the following key areas of investment including translational research culture, entrepreneurial culture and capital, workforce, infrastructure, and ecosystem.
“The Task Force report provides the state, and every stakeholder, a road map for identifying gaps and building on the enviably rich resources already in place in our state’s life sciences ecosystem,” Zwicker said. “The report also confirms what many of us have known for a while – that the state must make strategic investments in the life sciences industry in New Jersey in order to regain our place as the nation’s life sciences leader.”
Zwicker noted that while the state is in a “precarious situation financially,” return on investment and long-term sustainability is more pivotal than ever.
“The return on investment is clear,” he said. “There’s no doubt in my mind that spurring New Jersey’s innovation ecosystem is the single most important thing that we can do to create long-term revenue growth.”
Some key recommendations within the report focus on providing incentives and creating catalysts to spur growth in the biotechnology sector. A few examples include, enhancing the Angel Investor Tax Credit Program, increasing funding for the Edison Innovation Fund and NJ CoVest Fund, creating a New Jersey Talent Retention Internships Program, developing a Capital Gains Incentive Program, creating and supporting New Jersey Centers for Excellence, and much more.
“The state has a lot to offer,” DePhillips said. “There is so much intellectual capital here, and we need to fight like mad with these other states to keep it [in New Jersey]. New Jersey’s future is inextricably linked to the success of this venture.”
A full copy of the New Jersey Biotechnology Task Force report can be found here.
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