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New Jersey Biotechnology Task Force Issues Recommendations to Boost State’s Biotechnology Sector

TRENTON, N.J. (June 13, 2018) –The New Jersey Biotechnology Task Force today issued its final report of activities, findings, conclusions, and recommendations for legislation or administrative action to encourage the growth of the State’s biotechnology sector. The Task Force was established in December 2017 pursuant to P.L. 2016, Joint Resolution No. 5, in recognition of the pivotal role the biotechnology industry plays in the state in terms of economic activity, jobs, and tax revenues.
 
The Task Force met with and accepted testimony from representatives in the life sciences industry and in New Jersey’s academic institutions. The compelling testimony focused on existing efforts related to industry collaboration and technology transfer (as well as gaps and challenges); government and private resources; and strategic partnerships that have been leveraged to support continued growth of the life sciences industry in New Jersey. This testimony provided a framework for the recommendations contained in the final report.

“By leveraging our strengths, we believe that New Jersey can achieve its goal of revitalization and enhancement of the life sciences industry through strengthening of the state’s innovation capacity,” said Debbie Hart, President and Chief Executive Officer of BioNJ and chair of the Task Force. “It is an opportune time to take these important steps. Governor Phil Murphy’s commitment to growing New Jersey’s innovation ecosystem is noteworthy, and many of the recommendations contained within this report have already been put forward as legislation that is now moving through the Legislature. We believe that a deep understanding of the importance of the life sciences industry to New Jersey already exists and that these recommendations will capitalize on the interest and the opportunity.”
 
The Task Force focused its recommendations on improvements that are needed in five key areas that are especially important in moving New Jersey forward.  These five areas and the related recommendations summarized below represent key priorities for action and investment in New Jersey’s life sciences ecosystem:
 
  • Translational Research Culture
    • Restore the Commission on Science and Technology
    • Provide Support to Better Compete for Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) and Small Business Technology Transfer Program (STTR) Funding
    • Establish a Tax Credit for Private Investment into University Technology Advancement Funds and State Match of Investments from Technology Advancement Funds into Intellectual Property
 
  • Entrepreneurial Culture and Capital
    • Increase Availability of Technical Assistance by Scaling Existing Programs across NewJersey Incubator/Accelerator Network
    • Support Executive Spin-Outs
    • Increase and Enhance the Technology Business Tax Certificate Transfer Program (NOL)
    • Incentivize Investment into New Jersey Venture Funds
    • Enhance the Angel Investor Tax Credit Program
    • Increase Funding for Edison Innovation Fund and NJ CoVest Fund
 
  • Workforce
    • Support the I-Corps Model and Specialized Training and Mentoring to Help Bring Discovery to Marketplace
    • Create New Jersey Talent Retention Internships Program
    • Restore the Technology Fellowship Program
    • Provide State Match of Non-Profit Research Grant Funding
 
  • Infrastructure
    • Support Biomanufacturing and Biobanks
    • Create an Inventory of Multi-Tenant Operators and Increase State Support for Innovation Districts
    • Establish a New Jersey “Orphan Drug” Tax Credit
    • Enhance the Research and Development Tax Credit
    • Adopt a State-level Section 1202 Incentive
    • Develop a Capital Gains Incentive Program
 
  • Ecosystem
    • Coordinate Marketing Efforts Surrounding Existing Resources and New Jersey Brand
    • Create and Support New Jersey Centers for Excellence
    • Create a State-Supported Forum to Bring Physicians Together to Share Information about New Jersey-Based Clinical Trial Activity
    • Create a Catalyst for New Jersey’s Life Sciences Innovation Ecosystem
 
“The potential for growth in our state’s innovation economy is tremendous, and bolstering our life sciences sector is critical to realizing that potential,” said Assemblyman Andrew Zwicker (Legislative District 16), vice-chair of the Task Force. “The Task Force report provides the state, and every stakeholder, a road map for identifying gaps and building on the enviably rich resources already in place in our state’s life sciences ecosystem.  The report also confirms what many of us have known for a while: that the state must make strategic investments in the life sciences industry in New Jersey in order to regain our place as the nation’s life sciences leader.”
 
The Task Force is comprised of six legislative members, including Senator Linda Greenstein (Legislative District 14), former Senator Robert Gordon (Legislative District 38), Senator Robert Singer (Legislative District 30), Assemblyman Andrew Zwicker (Legislative District 16), Assemblyman Christopher DePhillips (Legislative District 40), and Assemblyman Gary Schaer (Legislative District 36); two public members, including Debbie Hart, President and CEO of BioNJ, and Daniel O'Connor, Chief Executive Officer of OncoSec Medical Incorporated; and, Timothy Lizura, President and Chief Operating Officer of the New Jersey Economic Development Authority (EDA), serving in an ex-officio capacity.  Debbie Hart was selected by the Task Force to serve as Chair and Assemblyman Zwicker as Vice Chair.  The EDA served as staff to the Task Force. 
 
A full copy of the report can be accessed via www.njeda.com/njbiotechtaskforce.
 
 
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