From life-saving cancer treatments, cures for Hepatitis-C, innovative CAR-T cell Therapies and critical vaccines, New Jersey is the birthplace of medical treatments that change people’s lives around the world.
As one of the top 3 innovation clusters in the country — with the largest concentration of scientists and engineers per square mile in the U.S. — New Jersey leads the life sciences industry. The state’s rich concentration of life sciences and biopharmaceutical firms, not to mention its world-class R&D cluster and deep talent pool, offer a unique ecosystem for firms of all sizes to grow in.
The state’s higher education institutions produce 27,000 life sciences graduates every year. Six of the state’s prestigious research universities — including No. 1 ranked Princeton University and Big Ten Academic Alliance member Rutgers University — offer graduate and postgraduate degrees in biomedical and health care fields.
The No. 1 state for the most FDA-registered biopharma manufacturing facilities (139 across the state), and the No. 2 state for Biotech Strength, New Jersey leads the pack in the quest for new therapies. Home to 13 of the top 20 pharmaceutical companies, the state’s concentration of research hospitals, medical schools and universities, combined with the State’s population density, multicultural diversity and transportation infrastructure, makes New Jersey a perfect location for clinical trials. Currently, more than 2,300 open and active trials are currently underway.
Nearly 23,000 people employed within New Jersey’s life sciences cluster focus on pharmaceutical manufacturing — that’s 3x the national average. Additionally, New Jersey is home to the highest concentrations of specialized commercialization expertise in the U.S. In 2019, companies with a footprint in New Jersey represented 50% of all new Food and Drug Administration drug and therapy approvals.
Cell & Gene Therapy
Numerous life science firms have invested in the state in recent years, including multinational juggernauts like GlaxoSmithKline, PLC Consumer Healthcare, Johnson & Johnson, and Bristol-Myers Squibb. The second-largest pharma company in Japan, Daiichi-Sankyo, chose to open its new 305,000-sq.-ft. HQ in Basking Ridge. Irish pharmaceutical company, Allergan, opened a new 430,000-sq.-ft. site in Madison. India-based Lupin Pharma Canada and Aurobindo have both made significant investments to expand their presence in the state.
“New Jersey is a top hub for cell and gene therapy,” said Jose Lozano, president and CEO of Choose New Jersey. “We are home to groundbreaking cell and gene therapy companies that are leading the way in next-generation therapeutics.”
In 2019, Bristol-Myers Squibb acquired its rival New Jersey-based oncology leader Celgene for $74 billion. The merged company will have nine products with more than $1 billion each in annual sales — most notably Celgene’s multiple myeloma drug Revlimid and Bristol’s lung-cancer treatment Opdivo. The companies said their combined pipeline includes six expected near-term product launches representing more than $15 billion in revenue potential.
In August 2019, PTC Therapeutics signed a long-term lease agreement with Bristol-Myers Squibb (BMS) for space at the pharmaceutical giant’s Hopewell campus; it represented the latest chapter in the biopharmaceutical company’s 21-year history. In announcing the lease of 185,000 square of space from BMS, PTC Therapeutics officials noted that the biopharmaceutical company would expand its New Jersey presence to enhance its existing global headquarters in South Plainfield.
By expanding into Hopewell, PTC Therapeutics will gain access to an existing state-of-the-art biologics production facility and supporting research and operations building. PTC Therapeutics also plans to move its research operations to a newly renovated building on the same campus, enabling the company to execute its plans to advance its gene therapy pipeline rapidly. The company will bring its gene therapy manufacturing in-house and accelerate the speed at which it develops and commercializes products.
In October, the New Jersey Innovation Institute (NJII) opened its cutting-edge cell and gene therapy development and clinical manufacturing center on its campus in Newark, called BioCentriq™.
“BioCentriq’s mission is to bring together industry, technology developers, academia and regulatory agencies to help advance the development and manufacturing of cell and gene therapies,” said Dr. Haro Hartounian, Ph.D. and SVP and GM of the Biopharma Division. “We are thrilled to open the doors to our center at a time when demand for process development and clinical manufacturing of cell and gene therapies exceeds capacity available from existing contract development and manufacturing organizations. Our goal is to provide a collaborative space where innovative approaches and technologies can be utilized to help make emerging therapeutics available to the patients that so desperately need them.”
Savannah King is managing editor of custom content for Conway Inc. She is an award-winning journalist and previously wrote for The Times in Gainesville, Ga. She graduated from the University of West Florida with a degree in Broadcast Journalism and lives near Atlanta.