Story of Biotechnology in New Jersey Remains One of Growth and Vitality

I love telling a good story, especially when it involves great news coming out of New Jersey’s biotechnology industry. And, fortunately, I get to do that a lot.

So by now I hope you have heard or read the news about our latest industry survey, Biotech in New Jersey: Finding Its Way Through Continuing Challenges. Released earlier this week, the survey reports that in the past two years the industry witnessed important increases in both the number of companies operating in the State and the number of employees working for those companies.

The number of biotechnology companies with operations in New Jersey increased more than 13 percent since our last report, from 300 companies in 2010 to more than 340 today.

The number of employees working directly at those New Jersey biotechnology companies also increased, rising 9.3 percent in the last two years from approximately 15,000 employees in 2010 to an estimated 16,400 in 2012.

Importantly, 71 percent of our respondents indicated they would be hiring in 2012 — a slightly lower percent than in previous studies, but still good news for those looking for a job in these tough times.

Click here to access the survey press release.

Click here to access the survey report.

Click here to read the Star Ledger story.

The news of this growth and vitality is particularly heartening in light of the ongoing financial downturn and the continuing consolidation of “Big Pharma.” But the data show that 37 percent of the respondents have been in business for five years or less, reflecting ongoing company creation in New Jersey.

The growth is the result of several factors that include access to a variety of life sciences companies operating in New Jersey, a strong academic environment, an experienced and highly educated workforce, and the long-term support of State government, which Governor Chris Christie and Lt. Governor Kim Guadagno have built upon through several new initiatives.

The report is not without its warning signals, however. Following national trends and reinforcing what BioNJ has reported previously, the survey indicates that access to funding remains the primary factor hampering the growth of early-stage companies.

In keeping with these findings, the report recommends that New Jersey needs to: (1) Develop new and enhance current economic incentives to attract and retain companies and to help them attract and retain key personnel necessary to breakthrough science research; (2) Support companies at each stage of development, including financially supporting the very earliest-stage companies; (3) Reinforce measures to enhance New Jersey’s academic environment in an effort to increase its impact on clinical and early-stage research; and (4) Maintain and build the entrepreneurial spirit needed to bring breakthrough science to commercialization — encouraging, facilitating, and supporting startups.

Biotech in New Jersey: Finding Its Way Through Continuing Challenges was conducted for BioNJ by Ernst & Young, our longtime partner in this important biannual initiative, and we are thankful for their contributions.

More importantly, we are also very grateful to the men and women who make this report possible by creating and working in our innovative Member companies. Conducting this survey and making sure that policymakers in Trenton and Washington, DC, the financial community, and the greater New Jersey community are aware of the results of your hard work is part of BioNJ’s effort to help advance the biotechnology industry in New Jersey. This information serves as the foundation for our efforts to advocate for policies and programs that will enhance the current business and financial environment, sustaining our current companies and promoting further growth.

The great news we are telling is your story. Keep the stories coming and we will keep sharing them far and wide.

Yours in BioNJ,

Debbie

Debbie Hart