The New Jersey Economic Development Authority (EDA) announced that it has approved more than $1 billion in funding for more than 540 technology and life sciences companies through the Technology Business Tax Certificate Transfer Program, more commonly known as the Net Operating Loss (NOL) Program, since the program’s inception 20 years ago.
Heralded as a lifeline for companies going through unprofitable times, the NOL Program enables eligible technology and life-sciences companies to sell New Jersey net operating losses and unused research and development tax credits to unrelated profitable corporations for cash. The cash can then be used for working capital or to fund research. The EDA and the New Jersey Department of Treasury’s Division of Taxation administer the program.
This year, 48 companies were approved to share $60 million through the NOL Program, the maximum amount of funding allocated for the program. Of those, 14 companies are new to the program, a 27 percent increase from last year. Sixteen companies previously leveraged additional EDA resources, such as New Jersey Founders & Funders, the Angel Investor Tax Credit Program, and the Edison Innovation Fund. The EDA saw an 18 percent increase in the number of applications this year as compared to 2017, and the highest number since 2014. This year, the average award was $1.25 million.
“The vision Gov. Phil Murphy has laid out for the innovation economy reiterates the need for tools like the NOL Program to fuel technology and life sciences companies’ growth from their earliest stages through commercialization and beyond,” EDA Chief Executive Officer Tim Sullivan. “This year’s roster of participating companies is doing promising work, and it will be fascinating to watch as they further develop their contributions to the state’s vast body of innovation.”
Participating companies hail from across New Jersey’s technology and life sciences industry. However, there was a particularly strong showing this year from the state’s biotechnology and health technology sectors, including the following first-time participants:
Celsion Corporation is a biopharmaceutical company that develops cancer treatments, including targeted chemotherapies and immunotherapies. The company’s clinical stage products focus on combatting liver and ovarian cancer. Celsion, which started in Maryland in 2000, relocated to Lawrenceville in 2011. The company currently employs 25 people.
“Since bringing Celsion here to tap into New Jersey’s tremendous pharmaceutical talent, I have been impressed by the array of resources the State offers life sciences companies like ours,” Celsion Chairman and CEO Michael Tardugno said. “The non-dilutive funding we received through the NOL Program will allow us to continue to bring our groundbreaking products through clinical trials and eventually to the marketplace.”
Newark-based WellSheet Inc. applies physician-driven design and machine learning to electronic medical records (EMRs) to improve the physician experience and early intervention for at-risk patients. Founded in 2015, the company currently has offices in New Jersey and New York, serving some of the largest hospitals in these states. WellSheet graduated from Newark Venture Partners’ NVP Labs program, a 10-week accelerator program, last year.
“We’re a relatively young company that has reaped the benefits of locating in New Jersey, such as access to the NVP Labs accelerator and the NOL Program,” Wellsheet CEO Craig Limoli said. “Funding from the NOL Program will allow us to build out our system and help even more doctors as they treat their patients.”
Jersey City-based TrialScope provides proven solutions designed to optimize the efficiency of clinical trial disclosure activities, maximize trial data transparency, and foster more informed, engaged patients through open research sharing. TrialScope previously received support from Edison VII, an Edison Partners venture fund in which the EDA invested.
“We’re proud to offer our products and services to large and small pharmaceutical companies throughout the world and to support them with all their clinical trial transparency and compliance needs,” TrialScope CEO Jeff Kozloff said. “We were attracted to the NOL Program because it will allow us to raise working capital without giving up equity in our company.”
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