TRENTON, N.J., June 14, 2022 /PRNewswire/ — New Jersey’s life sciences community came out for BioNJ’s 29th Annual Dinner Meeting & Innovation Celebration last Thursday, June 9, at the Hilton East Brunswick. Dedicated to “Patients… Because they just can’t wait,” the inspirational evening honored the unprecedented medical innovation coming from the Garden State.

“It’s hard to believe that it has been more than two years since our last in-person Annual Dinner Meeting on February 4, 2020,” said BioNJ CEO and President Debbie Hart. “To say the last two years have been tumultuous is an understatement. Despite the tumult, with 70 new FDA drug approvals coming from companies with a footprint in New Jersey over the last two years – accounting for 40% of ALL new approvals – our great State continued to lead the way in helping Patients live longer, better lives. We were pleased to celebrate their innovation in this way.”

The dinner program featured the presentation of the 2022 Annual Dr. Sol J. Barer Award for Vision, Innovation and Leadership to New Jersey Health Commissioner, the Honorable Judith M. Persichilli.

“I am pleased to present this year’s award to New Jersey Health Commissioner Judith M. Persichilli,” said BioNJ Board Member Sol J. Barer, Ph.D., Former Chairman & CEO Celgene Corporation and Chairman of the Board, Teva Pharmaceutical Industries. “When the COVID-19 pandemic hit New Jersey, Judy used her decades of experience in nursing, hospital administration and public health to implement never-before-used systems in our hospitals to ensure Patients received the care they needed while protecting our doctors, nurses and hospital staff who were placing their own lives in jeopardy to save the lives of their fellow neighbors.

“And it was Judy’s innovative mind that ensured that procedures were in place to get as many New Jerseyans vaccinated as possible as soon as the first COVID-19 vaccine was made available…an unprecedented innovation in itself. A driven and passionate person, our honoree’s core mission is to ‘help people in New Jersey live long, healthy lives.’ And, she has done…just that!”

Citing her stalwart leadership at an unprecedented time, Hart noted, “Judy Persichilli was the right person at the right time and is so deserving of this award.”

Click here for a video honoring Commissioner Persichilli.

The evening opened with the presentation of the acclaimed Innovator Awards to 43 innovator companies for 70 FDA drug approvals in 2020 and 2021, including:

  • AbbVie for Durysta™, Oriahnn®, Qulipta™ and Vuity™
  • ADC Therapeutics for Zynlonta®
  • Agile Therapeutics for Twirla®
  • Althera Pharmaceuticals for Roszet®
  • Ascendis Pharma for Skytrofa®
  • Athenex for Klisyri®
  • Bayer for Kerendia® and Lampit®
  • Boehringer Ingelheim for Trijardy® XR
  • Bristol Myers Squibb for Abecma®, Breyanzi®, Onureg® and Zeposia®
  • Calliditas Therapeutics for Tarpeyo™
  • Dr. Reddy’s for Elyxyb™ and Xeglyze™
  • Edenbridge Pharmaceuticals for Dartisla ODT
  • Eli Lilly and Company for Lyumjev®, Retevmo®, Tauvid™ and Trijardy® XR
  • Endo International for Qwo®
  • Genmab for Tivdak™
  • Gilead Sciences for Trodelvy® and Veklury®
  • GSK for Blenrep and Jemperli
  • Helsinn for Truseltiq®
  • Hikma Pharmaceuticals for Kloxxado™
  • Janssen Pharmaceutical Companies of Johnson & Johnson for Ponvory™ and Rybrevant®
  • LEO Pharma for Adbry™
  • Melinta Therapeutics for Kimyrsa™
  • Merck & Co. for Vaxneuvance™, Verquvo® and Welireg™
  • Novartis for Kesimpta®, Leqvio®, Scemblix® and Tabrecta®
  • Novo Nordisk for Sogroya® and Wegovy™
  • NS Pharma for Viltepso®
  • Otsuka Pharmaceutical for Inqovi®
  • Oyster Point Pharma for Tyrvaya™
  • Pfizer for Comirnaty®, Prevnar 20™ and TicoVac™
  • Pharmacosmos for Monoferric®
  • Recordati Rare Diseases for Cystadrops® and Isturisa®
  • Regeneron Pharmaceuticals for Evkeeza® and Inmazeb™
  • RVL Pharmaceuticals for Upneeq®
  • Sanofi for Fexinidazole, MenQuadfi™, Nexviazyme™ and Sarclisa®
  • SCYNEXIS for Brexafemme®
  • Seqirus for Audenz™
  • Sunovion Pharmaceuticals for Kynmobi®
  • Sun Pharmaceutical Industries for Winlevi®
  • Taiho Oncology for Inqovi®
  • TG Therapeutics for Ukoniq®
  • UroGen Pharma for Jelmyto®
  • ViiV Healthcare for Apretude, Cabenuva and Rukobia
  • Y-mAbs Therapeutics for Danyelza®

The Fourth Annual Heart of BioNJ Awards were presented to New Jersey COVID-19 Heroes – BioNJ Members whose innovation, partnerships and dedication impacted the State and the world in its battle against the pandemic. Honorees included:

  • Dr. Andrew Brooks (posthumously): Led the Discovery of the First COVID-19 Saliva-Based Test
  • Dr. Brian Strom: BioNJ’s Go-to Expert and Epidemiologist in Educating the Community and Leading the Fight Against COVID-19 at Rutgers University and Beyond
  • Minister Mary Phillips-Blackshear: Pfizer COVID-19 Vaccine Clinical Trial Participant
  • Amy Mansue: Led health care workers throughout the Inspira Health Network as they worked tirelessly to take care of Patients with COVID-19
  • Jean Walters: Johnson & Johnson’s Janssen COVID-19 Vaccine Clinical Trial Participant
  • Eli Lilly: Bamlanivimab & Etesevimab
  • Fosun Pharma: COVID-19 RT-PCR Detection Kit
  • Gilead Sciences: Veklury®
  • GSK: Sotrovimab
  • Johnson & Johnson Janssen’s: JNJ-78436735 COVID-19 Vaccine
  • Merck & Co.: Molnupiravir & Manufacturing COVID-19 Vaccines
  • Novartis: Manufacturing COVID-19 Vaccines
  • Pfizer: Comirnaty® COVID-19 Vaccine & Paxlovid™
  • Princeton University: The Mechanical Ventilator Milano
  • Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey: First Saliva-based COVID-19 Test
  • Sanofi: Manufacturing COVID-19 Vaccines

On behalf of the Board of Trustees of BioNJ and the BioNJ Team, we would like to thank our Members who helped make our 29th Annual Dinner Meeting a resounding success. The evening was filled with inspiration, energy and emotion. Please visit to learn about BioNJ’s upcoming events.

Randi Bromberg
Vice President, Communications and Marketing
O) 609-890-3185
C) 609-955-1067

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