BioNJ Presents Fifth Annual Dr. Sol J. Barer Award for Vision, Innovation, and Leadership to Paul G. Thomas of Roka Bioscience

TRENTON, N.J.–(December 15)–BioNJ, New Jersey’s trade association for the biotechnology community, announced today that the fifth annual Dr. Sol J. Barer Award for Vision, Innovation, and Leadership has been awarded to Paul G. Thomas, Founder and CEO of Roka Bioscience. Named for Sol J. Barer, Ph.D., a Senior Advisor and former Chairman and CEO of Celgene Corporation of Summit, N.J., the award recognizes outstanding research and business leaders who have made significant contributions to the growth and prosperity of the biosciences industry in New Jersey and throughout the world.

Dr. Barer, who also serves as Chairman of the BioNJ Board of Trustees, will present the award to Mr. Thomas on February 2 during BioNJ’s 19th Annual Dinner Meeting, Awards Program and Networking Event, which will be held from 5:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m. at the Hilton East Brunswick.

BioNJ’s signature event of the year, the Annual Meeting brings together New Jersey’s biotechnology community to celebrate the many achievements of the industry in 2011 and to discuss the challenges and opportunities ahead in 2012. New Jersey Governor Chris Christie will address the meeting as a Special Guest Speaker.

“Paul Thomas is a serial entrepreneur who has changed the landscape of New Jersey’s biotechnology industry by relocating and growing two successful companies in the state – Roka Bioscience and LifeCell Corporation,” said Debbie Hart, President of BioNJ. “At both companies, Mr. Thomas has created numerous high-quality jobs for the State’s residents and world-class innovative products for testing and tissue restoration.”

“New Jersey provides a world class ecosystem for life science companies with its highly skilled workforce, proximity to New York and Washington, D.C. and an active and supportive state government,” said Paul Thomas. “I am honored to be recognized by BioNJ and to be part of the vibrant and growing biotechnology community within New Jersey.”

Mr. Thomas joined Roka Bioscience, a company focused on the development and commercialization of rapid, accurate and cost-effective molecular assays for biopharmaceutical processing, food safety and other industrial testing applications, as CEO and Founder in September 2009. Mr. Thomas previously served as Chairman, CEO, and President of LifeCell Corporation, a publicly-traded regenerative medicine company, from 1998 until it was acquired by KCI in 2008. Prior to joining LifeCell, Mr. Thomas held various senior positions during his tenure of 15 years with Ohmeda, a world leader in inhalation anesthetics and acute care pharmaceuticals.

Mr. Thomas received his M.B.A. from Columbia University Graduate School of Business and completed his postgraduate studies in chemistry at the University of Georgia Graduate School of Arts and Science. He received his B.S. in chemistry from St. Michael’s College in Vermont. Mr. Thomas serves as a Director of AbioMed, Inc. and Aegerion Pharmaceuticals, Inc.

About the Dr. Sol J. Barer Award

The Dr. Sol J. Barer Award for Vision, Innovation, and Leadership was established by the BioNJ Board of Trustees in March 2008 as an annual award to recognize the outstanding research and business leaders who have made and continue to make significant contributions to the growth of the biosciences in New Jersey and around the world. The honoree is voted on by the BioNJ Board of Trustees from nominations taken from the Nominating Committee. The award is named for Dr. Sol J. Barer, Ph.D., who founded the biotechnology group at Celanese that was subsequently spun out to form Celgene, currently one of the world’s largest biotechnology companies.

Past award recipients have included Dr. Barer; Dr. Lisa Drakeman, former President and CEO of Genmab; John H. Johnson, President and CEO of Savient Pharmaceuticals; and John Crowley, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Amicus Therapeutics.

Please CLICK HERE for more information about the 2012 BioNJ Annual Dinner Meeting, Awards Program and Networking Event.