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The New Jersey Life Sciences Vendors Alliance (NJLSVA) is a coalition of businesses, individuals and academia who provide goods and services to New Jersey’s life sciences companies.

The NJLSVA was founded to educate suppliers on trends in industry procurement and public policy that affects the life sciences industry.

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HINJ Responds to NPR Report on New Jersey’s Biopharma Sector

New Brunswick, NJ, July 31, 2014 The HealthCare Institute of New Jersey (HINJ) has responded as follows to a National Public Radio (NPR) report regarding New Jersey’s biopharmaceutical sector.

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Dan Tucker’s story opens by stating that New Jersey “used to be known as ‘the nation’s medicine chest.’”  While the HealthCare Institute of New Jersey (HINJ) acknowledges that there are a number of vacant pharmaceutical facilities in the state, the status of industry real estate alone is not a true barometer of the industry’s strength in New Jersey.

HINJ contends that — with 13 of the world’s top 20 biopharmaceutical companies and 12 of the world’s top 20 medical technology companies maintaining a significant presence in New Jersey, with the state being one of the largest life sciences clusters in the U.S., and with recent expansion and relocation activity in the state — the Garden State remains the “medicine chest of the world.”

In contrast, this story leads the audience to infer a rather bleak picture and outlook for New Jersey’s life sciences community.

In fact, there are a number of signs that point to an energized life sciences community in New Jersey that were not reflected in this story.

  • Life sciences companies are still coming to New Jersey (e.g., Actavis, Allergan, Dendreon, Ipsen, Leo Pharma, to name a few).
  • Life sciences companies continue to invest heavily in New Jersey (e.g., Bayer, Celgene, Novartis, Novo Nordisk, Valeant).
  • New Jersey life sciences companies continue to invest in research and development to discover new, innovative medicines, therapies, devices and diagnostics tools.

When it comes to employment, as the story reports, the business model of the life sciences industry is evolving — around the world and in the United States.  Consequently, since New Jersey is an industry leader, those changes understandably are reflected here in the state, some which the story cited as examples.

While the mix of jobs may be evolving, the life sciences industry still accounts for creating or sustaining more than 320,000 direct and indirect jobs in the state and more than $43 billion in direct annual economic activity.

This includes a number of people in traditional pharma companies who over the past decade have moved to newer biotech companies, which are, as the story notes, “growing fast,” or have become entrepreneurs in their own right.

Regarding research and development (R&D), HINJ disagrees with Professor Erik Gordon’s assertion that “cutting-edge research isn’t being done on closed campuses in the suburbs anymore.”

Although life sciences companies are collaborating more with higher education and other research institutes, New Jersey’s life sciences companies continue to discover and commercialize new, innovative medicines and therapies at their state-based facilities.

In fact, R&D spending continues to increase in New Jersey.  According to HINJ’s 2013 Economic Impact Report, HINJ member companies reported that their New Jersey-based facilities increased R&D spending to $8.6 billion in 2012.

Lastly, New Jersey has effected significant measures in recent years that support the industry and attract investment.  These initiatives include:

  • Working to strengthen the Garden State’s “Innovation Ecosystem,” a collaborative partnership among the private sector, academia and the state to foster R&D partnerships to spur innovation.
  • Restructuring New Jersey’s higher education system to encourage greater academic partnership with our life sciences companies.  This restructuring, the largest of its kind in the nation’s history, has already started to pay dividends by vaulting Rutgers University into the top 25 research universities for research, and generating a partnership between Cooper University Health Care and MD Anderson Cancer Center that will provide a strong boost for biomedical research in New Jersey.

In summary, HINJ maintains that there are many indicators not included in this NPR story that paint a decidedly different — and more accurate — portrait of New Jersey’s biopharmaceutical industry.