TRENTON, N.J. (Feb. 12, 2013) – The Christie Administration is looking to tap into the expertise of the private sector to bolster New Jersey’s status as a leader in life sciences and healthcare technology. To help the industry’s most promising entrepreneurs deliver products to market, the New Jersey Economic Development Authority (EDA) today announced that it will launch a Life Sciences/Healthcare IT Accelerator and secure a private partner to manage the effort.
“Governor Christie recognizes how important it is to nurture the growth of New Jersey’s early-stage life sciences and technology companies, and this is another opportunity for the state to partner with the private sector to fill a market need,” said EDA Chief Executive Officer Michele Brown. “The Life Sciences/Healthcare IT Accelerator will allow us to capitalize on the talent in our region and provide an environment that catalyzes innovation, entrepreneurship and job creation.”
This initiative builds on the market success of New Jersey’s first technology accelerator, TechLaunch, which the EDA created in 2012 with industry pioneer Mario Casabona. Consistent with TechLaunch, the concept and model of the Life Sciences/Healthcare IT Accelerator is based on a competitive selection of companies interested in advancing the commercialization of technology through seed funding and access to industry expertise. The EDA will host the Accelerator at its North Brunswick-based Commercialization Center for Innovative Technologies (CCIT), the state’s leading life sciences incubator.
The EDA anticipates that the Accelerator will offer an estimated 10 companies the opportunity to participate in the intense boot camp. The selected companies would receive hands-on mentorship; seed funding ranging from $20,000 to $100,000; and, connections to potential partners and customers. At the end of the boot camp, companies would demonstrate their technologies and business models to a wide variety of investors during a formal event.
EDA President and Chief Operating Officer Tim Lizura noted that the Accelerator model is one that engages the community to support promising entrepreneurs.
Lizura said the EDA anticipates life science mentors will include industry leaders representing three main categories: strategic partners (hospitals, pharmaceuticals, health insurance companies and research institutions); investors (angel investors, venture capitals and serial entrepreneurs); and, service partners (accountants and lawyers).
The EDA expects to issue a Request for Proposals in late February via a competitive solicitation that will score and rank the respondents who would like to manage the Accelerator. The ranking criteria will include: a demonstration of matching funds and readiness to proceed; strength of historical investment track record; strength of historical role in mentoring entrepreneurial companies; and, experience in the New Jersey life sciences market. Respondents will be required to detail their specific model and approach, along with the justification of why the proposed model will be successful in New Jersey.
Consistent with TechLaunch, the new Accelerator would have the EDA’s contribution of equity as “matching dollars,” with a ratio of 2:1, thus leveraging private capital and commitment. Under this initiative, EDA would contribute $500,000 of capital, plus an estimated $35,000 of in-kind real estate contribution per year over three years. The cash contribution will require the formal 2:1 private sector match, for an annual public private investment of $1.5 million. The EDA’s funding will be in exchange for a $535,000 annual prorata Limited Partnership investment, with a subordinate equity return position.
Following its issuance, the solicitation will be available at www.njeda.com. To learn more about opportunities for business growth throughout New Jersey, visit the state’s business portal at www.NewJerseyBusiness.gov.