BioNJ's 27th Annual Dinner Meeting & Innovation Celebration Honors New Jersey's Innovators and the Patients Who Inspire Them

TRENTON, N.J., Feb. 11, 2020 /PRNewswire/ -- New Jersey's life sciences community came out for BioNJ's 27th Annual Dinner Meeting & Innovation Celebration that took place last Thursday, February 6, at the Hilton East Brunswick. Dedicated to "Patients... Because they just can't wait," the inspirational evening honored the unprecedented medical innovation coming from the Garden State and thanked the pillars of New Jersey's robust life sciences ecosystem.


"We are so proud of our ecosystem which was responsible for more than 50% of all novel FDA medicine approvals in 2019, reinforcing the fact that New Jersey is the drug development capital of the world," said BioNJ CEO and President Debbie Hart. "Our Members are helping Patients live longer, better lives while lessening the burden of illness and disease on society. We are pleased to celebrate their important work and dedication in this way."

The evening included opening remarks by Senate President Steve Sweeney and a video message from Governor Murphy. Sixteen year old CAR-T therapy recipient Victoria Lee and twenty-six year old Patient advocate Jonathan Piacentino, who was diagnosed with Duchenne's Muscular Dystrophy at the age of 4, presented this year's Innovator Awards to 21 innovator companies for 32 drug approvals, including:

  • ADMA Biologics
  • Allergan
  • Amarin Corporation
  • Amgen
  • Bayer Healthcare
  • Beigene USA
  • Bristol-Myers Squibb
  • Daiichi Sankyo
  • Eisai
  • Eli Lilly
  • Galderma
  • Janssen Biotech
  • Jazz Pharma
  • Kyowa Kirin
  • Merck & Co.
  • Novartis
  • Novo Nordisk
  • Pfizer
  • Sanofi
  • Shionogi Inc.
  • SK Life Science

The dinner program featured the presentation of the 13th Annual Dr. Sol J. Barer Award for Vision, Innovation and Leadership to Kenneth C. Frazier, Chairman of the Board and Chief Executive Officer, Merck & Co., Inc. by Dr. Sol J. Barer, the award's namesake. The Dr. Sol J. Barer Award was established in 2008 by the BioNJ Board of Trustees to recognize outstanding leaders who've made significant contributions to the life sciences industry in New Jersey and around the world.

The 3rd Annual Heart of BioNJ Awards were presented to Senior Vice President, Corporate Relations, PTC Therapeutics Mary Frances Harmon and posthumously to Patient advocate and industry advisor Bob "BT" Tufts which was accepted by BT's wife, Suzanne, and daughter, Abigail Tufts.

The evening concluded with a Keynote by Sean Swarner, voted one of the top 8 most inspirational people of all time, who shared his journey since defeating two deadly, different and unrelated forms of cancer.

"Tonight was awesome," said Will Lewis, Chairman and CEO of Insmed. "Another flawlessly run Annual Dinner Meeting, with a truly international luminary leader receiving the Dr. Sol J. Barer Award. BioNJ's connection to Patients makes the evening very rewarding. You moved people tonight."

Please visit to learn about BioNJ's upcoming events, including BioNJ's BioPartnering Conference with J.P. Morgan and Johnson & Johnson Innovation on May 13, 2020.

About BioNJ
BioNJ is the life sciences trade association in New Jersey with nearly 400 Member companies representing research-based life sciences organizations and stakeholders across the ecosystem from the largest biopharmaceutical companies to early stage start-ups. BioNJ is dedicated to ensuring a vibrant ecosystem where Science is Supported, Companies are Created, Drugs are Developed and Patients are Paramount. Because Patients Can't Wait®, BioNJ supports its Members in the discovery, development and commercialization of therapies and cures that save and improve lives and lessen the burden of illness and disease to society by driving capital formation, fostering entrepreneurship, advocating for public policies that advance medical innovation, providing access to talent and education and offering a cost-saving array of critical commercial resources. For more information about BioNJ, please visit

Randi Bromberg
Vice President, Communications and Marketing
O) 609-890-3185
C) 609-955-1067

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