Investing in Our Future

By now, I hope you have all heard the exciting news that Governor Chris Christie will be joining us at BioNJ’s 2012 Annual Dinner Meeting, Awards Program and Networking Event on February 2 at the East Brunswick Hilton.

And that’s just one of a number of “good news” items I would like to discuss. We all know that industry in general, including the biotechnology industry, has been experiencing challenges related to the slow-paced economy. However, even in these sometimes turbulent days, biotech companies have found ways to innovate and grow. Of course, our industry has had support in these efforts by an administration that is committed to improving the business climate in New Jersey, and advancing specific measures that are particularly helpful for biotech firms. That is why we are so pleased that Governor Christie will address our 2012 Annual Dinner Meeting on February 2.

There are many other signs that even with some slowdowns and cutbacks that we should remain optimistic. At the beginning of the month, Allergan, Inc., announced that they plan to open a new research and development facility in New Jersey, and LEO Pharma Inc., the U.S. affiliate of Denmark-based LEO Pharma A/S, announced the continued expansion of their headquarters in the United States. Additionally, at last month’s Biotech 2011 symposium, two researchers from New Jersey were selected from more than 30 presenters as the leading ideas put forth by academic researchers and start-ups throughout the Mid-Atlantic region.

Governor Christie to Address 2012 Annual Dinner Meeting

Continuing with our theme, Friends. Hope. Inspiration., the BioNJ 2012 Annual Dinner Meeting will be held on Thursday, February 2, beginning at 5:00 p.m. at the East Brunswick Hilton in East Brunswick, NJ. We are honored to have Governor Christie speak before New Jersey’s biotechnology community at this event. The Governor’s participation affirms our industry’s growing importance – now standing at more than 325 companies – to the economic and social fabric of our State and demonstrates the administration’s commitment to business issues. We all recognize the assets that we have here in our backyard, and we look forward to hearing the Governor share his thoughts on the future of New Jersey’s economy and specifically on the outlook for the biotechnology industry.

We hope you can join us for this meeting so that we can thank the Governor for his commitment and efforts on behalf of our community.

You can learn more in the BioNJ Headlines section.

Biotech 2011

Looking back at the end of last month, we thank all of you who attended the Biotech 2011 Symposium, which attracted more than 700 participants who were able to facilitate connections with potential partners and funders, exchange new ideas, and hear from well-respected industry leaders on trends and future perspectives. I was most excited by our addition of the Innovation Forum, which compiled more than 40 funding organizations in one room to marry companies with potential funders. This component of our well-established event allowed companies to broaden their scope beyond traditional venture-capital firms, with organizations such as the Michael J. Fox Foundation and the Arthritis Foundation in attendance. These organizations are actively supporting research in their specific areas of focus, and we hope we were able to facilitate connections that may lead to the funding and discovery of cures that could define a patient’s future.

Also as part of the Innovation Forum, the Innovation Corridor featured cutting-edge science from more than 30 academic researchers and start-ups. Many of these innovations may drive the future of our industry, and we are pleased that two researchers from New Jersey were selected as the leading ideas by a panel of industry experts. We congratulate Anne-Marie Maman of Oxygense LLC, based in Princeton, and Reginald Farrow of the New Jersey Institute of Technology, as well as each of the other presenters, for their efforts to advance their research.

Read more about the Innovation Corridor in the BioNJ Headlines section.

Growth in New Jersey

Despite some recent cutbacks in the larger pharmaceutical industry, we are optimistic about New Jersey’s ability to attract new biotech companies to locate in our state. Allergan’s recent announcement to establish a new research and development facility here affirms our position as a global biotech leader. The new facility will create several hundred high-quality jobs over the next few years and will be integral to Allergan’s pursuit of new therapies for patients.

In addition, I recently had the opportunity to attend an event with LEO Pharma, a Danish subsidiary, to celebrate its continued expansion of its headquarters here in Parsippany. The company opened an office here two years ago with five employees and expects to have approximately 300 employees by the beginning of 2012.

We relish these successes, but at the same time we recognize there will always be challenges ahead. At BioNJ, we are committed to helping New Jersey’s biotechnology industry grow and prosper any way we can. Please let us know how we can help you.

Yours in BioNJ,


Debbie Hart