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New NJLM Committee
Links Mayors with
Life Science Employers

Patricia Flannery
By Patricia Flannery
Chair, Mayors Committee on
New Jersey Life Sciences,
Mayor, Bridgewater
plant in science bottle

Numbers. As mayors, we are constantly pre-occupied with them. From the annual budget to the number of employees to the number of days required for a public notice. Numbers are just something to which we have to pay attention.

That is why when I was asked to spearhead a new League of Municipalities initiative called the “Mayors Committee on New Jersey Life Sciences,” I did not hesitate.

The numbers are compelling.

Based on the HealthCare Institute of New Jersey economic impact report, New Jersey’s biopharmaceutical and medical technology industry:

• has 117 facilities located in 55 New Jersey municipalities.,
• pays nearly $1 billion in state and local taxes.,
• directly employs more than 70,000 people, including more scientists per capita than anywhere else in the world.,
• is responsible for creating almost 100,000 spin-off jobs elsewhere in the state economy that are directly dependent on this industry.,
• generates nearly $30 billion in annual economic activity in the state.,
• awards nearly $4 billion annually in local vendor contracts for goods and services to businesses in nearly every New Jersey municipality.,
• spends about $1.6 billion annually on capital construction projects for new and renovated facilities and labs, accounting for 7,500 full-time construction jobs., and
• provides more than $220 million annually in cash contributions and product donations to New Jersey residents and non-profit organizations.

My own town of Bridgewater hosts six major pharmaceutical and bio-pharmaceutical firms (Sanofi-Aventis, Enzon, Regeneron, Biovail, Johnson & Johnson Cordis and Pfizer) as well as the Healthcare Institute of New Jersey (HINJ), the industry’s trade association. We are grateful for the jobs they provide and the support they give to our community.

But Bridgewater is not alone. What oil is to Texas and autos are to Michigan, the life sciences are to New Jersey. Over the past century, from the late 1800’s when General Johnson relocated his lotion and bandage company from Brooklyn to “the great meadows of New Brunswick,” New Jersey has grown into the global center of the biopharmaceutical and medical technology industry. Today, 15 of the 20 largest biopharmaceutical companies make New Jersey either their global or North American headquarters, providing New Jersey with the greatest concentration of biopharmaceutical companies and most talented life sciences workforce in the world.

The biopharmaceutical and medical technology industry is New Jersey’s premier socioeconomic engine that thousands of people, dozens of communities and endless non-profit organizations rely on.

And despite the lagging economy, the industry is growing all the time in our state. For example, in the past few years:

• Danish drug maker Novo Nordisk completed a brand new headquarters building in mid-2008.,
• Bayer Healthcare decided to make New Jersey its U.S. headquarters.,
• Japan’s Eisai opened its new North American headquarters in Woodcliff Lake in early 2007.,
• Bausch & Lomb Pharma relocated to New Jersey in late 2008.,
• Abbott’s diagnostics division expanded and set up new headquarters in Plainsboro.,
• Eli Lilly’s subsidiary, ImClone Systems, not only stayed in New Jersey, but also expanded its research & development and manufacturing division in Branchburg and Bridgewater.,
• and just this year, in March, 2010, Hisun Pharmaceuticals became the first Chinese pharmaceutical company to open a foreign office, choosing Princeton as its North American headquarters.

As mayors, we should support this important industry. The “Mayors Committee on New Jersey Life Sciences” has been established to help promote economic development and innovation in the state, educate policy makers/citizens about the importance of the life sciences industry to New Jersey and local communities, and benchmark best practices within host communities across the state to grow and nurture the industry.

I want to invite all like-minded mayors who wish to join or appoint a designee to the “Mayors Committee on New Jersey Life Sciences.” We will be getting together at the annual League Conference in November for a special panel discussion.

Please look for a special link on the New Jersey State League of Municipalities ( webpage for additional information and to sign up!




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