New Jersey is a key location for many biotechnology firms, and, more broadly, recent innovations – driven in part by supercomputers and data analytics – are arguably marking the most innovative era in biotech molecular-level progress.
New Jersey delivers scientific workers in spades. The state also offers access to major airports as well as the capital markets of Manhattan – additional advantages for biotechs whose individually nascent science may demand massive funding on the path toward treating patients.
And while New Jersey was home to just 30 biotechnology firms in 1994, today more than 350 such companies dot the state’s landscape, an outcome that not only reflects New Jersey’s “Medicine Chest of the World” history, but also reveals a rapidly advancing scientific community that has sequenced the human genome and can avail itself of potent supercomputers (such currently-advanced tools did not exist in 1994).
Robert Petit, chief scientific officer at the biotechnology firm Advaxis, says, “I am not certain that there are too many places in the world where this type of biotech boom is possible, outside of New Jersey. New Jersey is No. 1 on the list. Eighty percent of the pharma industry exists in the corridor from Connecticut down to Wilmington, Delaware. A lot of it is along [New Jersey’s Route] 1 corridor, because we have all this expertise, concentrated, here.”
Petit cites: New Jersey’s higher education “products” of technology and young workers; the presence of Big Pharma, which houses experienced people and management; and, again, access to financial markets.
An additional component to the broader life sciences company equation is that “traditional” pharmaceutical firms have long witnessed many patents expire for their blockbuster, revenue-generating medicines, and their science is turned over to the world’s generic drug makers. This may be a boon for patients’ budgets, but without revenue streams, some argue that new research and development efforts within large companies are constrained partly for this reason.
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