EDA marks 10 Years of Innovation and Support for Scientific Discovery and Job Creation at the Technology Centre of New Jersey
North Brunswick , N.J. (October 18, 2005) – Underscoring the state’s commitment to continuing its pioneering tradition of scientific discovery and encouraging the location and growth of technology companies and related jobs, the New Jersey Economic Development Authority (EDA) today joined tenant companies, additional members of the technology and life sciences communities, and other officials to celebrate the 10th anniversary of the Technology Centre of New Jersey.
A joint development project of the EDA and the AFL-CIO Building Investment Trust, the state-of-the-art Technology Centre is now home to 20 growing early-stage and established businesses that occupy about 400,000 square feet of top-quality, customized, competitively priced laboratory, production and office space. More than $100 million has been invested in facilities and improvements at the 50-acre former Johnson & Johnson site located within the Greater New Brunswick Innovation Zone and along the Route 1 research and development corridor between Rutgers and Princeton universities. Development of the project began in 1995.
“Our discussions with industry leaders back in the early 1990s pointed to a real need for high-quality space to meet the specific requirements of young technology-based companies at affordable prices to keep New Jersey competitive with other states and countries that target growth companies,” said EDA Chief Executive Officer Caren S. Franzini. “Our early vision has been realized with the success of the Technology Centre. And, along the way, we’ve created the critical financing and technical assistance tools to further support growing technology and life sciences companies as they develop their products and technologies and seek to achieve commercial success.”
The EDA’s Techniuum Initiative, for example, is aimed at encouraging the location and growth of technology and life sciences companies and jobs in New Jersey by providing a continuum of customized, streamlined, long-term support as these businesses advance through their life cycle of growth, Franzini said.
“Techniuum will enable us to build on our successes and solidify New Jersey’s support for developing technologies and industries that bring new economic opportunities and jobs to the state,” Franzini said. This support encompasses a variety of financing options, including angel guarantees, low-interest loans, venture funding, tax incentives and grants for job creation, as well as real estate facilities like the Technology Centre and technical assistance and mentoring services, she explained.
“The 10th anniversary of the Technology Centre of New Jersey marks a significant milestone in the state’s economic momentum,” said Richard Kollender, principal with Quaker BioVentures, a leading venture capital investor in Mid-Atlantic life sciences companies. Quaker has partnered with the EDA to manage the Garden State Life Sciences Venture Fund and make investments in emerging life sciences companies in New Jersey.
“The Technology Centre has played a crucial role in helping young, promising companies develop into significant economic contributors by providing the necessary elements for growth: R&D facilities, proximity to highly skilled labor and access to the nation’s leading technology and pharmaceutical companies,” Kollender said. “As with Quaker’s most recent investment, Technology Centre graduate Amicus Therapeutics, companies incubated in the Centre are well-positioned for development and success.”
Amicus, a biopharmaceutical company now based in Cranbury that formerly occupied space in the Commercialization Center for Innovative Technologies within the Technology Centre, recently announced the closing of a $55 million Series C financing.
The Commercialization Center, one of the more significant life sciences and technology facilities of its kind in the nation, was recently expanded from the initial 20,000 square feet that opened in 2002 to 50,000 square feet with the addition of 10 lab units, business accelerator office space and flexible conferencing facilities. Rutgers University has leased about 25,000 square feet of adjacent space in the same building for the Rutgers Technology Center II, which is housing advanced development laboratories focused on wireless computer and cell phone networks, energy sources for products ranging from body implants to hybrid cars, and drug therapies to relieve chronic diseases.
Technology businesses located in the Commercialization Center have access to common services such as conference rooms, a media room, reception, shipping and receiving areas, and a sterilization machine. A Strategic Partner Advantage Network of professionals also makes available discounted services to tenant companies covering such essential areas as accounting, clinical development and regulatory compliance, environmental waste management, human resources, insurance, law and marketing.
“Making these services available to our tenants means they have more money to put into product development, improving their likelihood for commercial success,” said EDA Director of Real Estate Development Tim Lizura. “Additionally, we have provided businesses located in our Technology Centre with tenant improvement allowances of up to $100 per square foot to make their space more affordable and customized. Tenants also can use Rutgers University facilities and equipment on a fee-for-use basis.”
“Support from the EDA and the Technology Centre were instrumental for our ability to grow from a three-person startup to a 20-person biotech company within two years,” said Christian Kopfli, a principal in the Chromocell Corporation, a Commercialization Center tenant.
Rutgers University Associate Vice President for Research and Sponsored Programs Michael Breton also recognizes the benefits of locating in the Commercialization Center. “The size, scope and high quality of our lab space here are the most obvious benefits, but just as important are the location and our partnership with the state,” he said. “We’re close to the university, easily accessible to collaborators from other parts of New Jersey and beyond, and by setting up world-class laboratories like the Wireless Information Network Laboratory and the Energy Storage Research Group alongside other EDA-supported ventures, we help define and strengthen the ‘Innovation Zone’ concept to boost New Jersey’s technology economy.”
Innovation Zones are a collaborative state effort involving the EDA, the New Jersey Commission on Science and Technology and other state agencies to spur public/private partnerships and encourage the rapid transfer of discoveries from the laboratory to the marketplace. In addition to greater New Brunswick, Innovation Zones have been established in Camden and Newark. Each zone features a commercialization facility to provide specifically designed office and lab space for startups. Enhanced financial incentives also are available to eligible businesses locating in these zones.
Expansion plans for the Technology Centre include the future development of an additional 25 acres for technology use on the northbound side of U. S. Route 1 directly across from the acreage already developed.