Exciting Time for Biotech in New Jersey

Exciting Time For Biotech In New Jersey
June 25, 2015
By Renee Morad and Riley McDermid, BioSpace.com Breaking News Staff

It’s an exciting time to be involved in biotech in New Jersey.

The Garden State is home to more than 3,000 establishments in the pharma, medtech and life sciences industries—and that number is poised to grow in the future, according to BioNJ, a trade group for research-based life sciences companies. Thanks to facility expansions, acquisitions, and research institution mergers, along with an increase in companies moving or beginning operations in New Jersey, the area is seeing a surge in activity for biotech.

The state is also known as a hub for new drug approvals. So far this year, 16 of the 27 new drugs approved by the FDA came from companies with a significant footprint in New Jersey. In 2014, 40 percent of drugs approved by the FDA came from companies that also have a strong footprint in the state.

“In New Jersey, bringing new drugs to market is the focus,” says Debbie Hart, BioNJ’s president and CEO, adding that 14 of the top 20 global biopharmas operate in New Jersey.

2015 U.S. Approved Drugs (Updated: June 23, 2015)
Eisai New Jersey Fycompa (perampanel) adjunctive therapy for PGTC seizures in pts 12 and older June
The Medicines Co. New Jersey Kengreal (cangrelor) adjunctive therapy to PCI for reducing periprocedural thrombotic events June
Novartis New Jersey Promacta (eltrombopag) pediatrics with chronic immune thrombocytopenia June
Impax California Zomig (zolmitriptan) Nasal Spray pediatrics (12-17 yrs) with migraine June
Pfizer New Jersey Rapamune (sirolimus) lymphangioleiomyomatosis (LAM) May
Boehringer Ingelheim Germany Stiolto Respimat (tiotropium bromide and olodaterol) chronic obstructive pulmonary disease May
Actavis New Jersey Viberzi (eluxadoline) irritable bowel syndrome with diarrhea May
Salix North Carolina Xifaxan (rifaximin) irritable bowel syndrome with diarrhea May
Amgen California Corlanor (ivabradine) chronic heart failure April
Kythera California Kybella (deoxycholic acid) submental fat April
Asklepion Maryland Cholbam (cholic acid) bile acid synthesis and peroxisomal disorders March
Astellas Japan Cresemba (isavuconazonium sulfate) invasive aspergillosis and invasive mucormycosis March
Bristol-Myers Squibb New Jersey Opdivo (nivolumab) metastatic squamous non-small cell lung cancer March
United Therapeutics Maryland Unituxin (dinutuximab) pediatrics with high-risk neuroblastoma March
Actavis New Jersey Avycaz (ceftazidime-avibactam) complicated intra-abdominal and urinary tract infections February
Novartis New Jersey Farydak (panobinostat) multiple myeloma February
Pfizer New Jersey Ibrance (palbociclib) ER-positive, HER2-negative breast cancer February
Eisai New Jersey Lenvima (lenvatinib) thyroid cancer February
Novartis New Jersey Bexsero (Meningococcal Group B Vaccine) invasive meningococcal disease caused by serogroup B January
Novartis New Jersey Cosentyx (secukinumab) plaque psoriasis January
Abbvie Illinois Duopa (carbidopa and levodopa) enteral suspension motor fluctuations in patients with advanced Parkinson's disease January
Bristol-Myers Squibb New Jersey Evotaz (atazanavir and cobicistat) HIV-1 infection January
NPS Pharmaceuticals New Jersey Natpara (parathyroid hormone) hypocalcemia in patients with hypoparathyroidism January
Symplmed Ohio Prestalia (perindopril arginine and amlodipine besylate) hypertension January
Janssen New Jersey Prezcobix (darunavir and cobicistat) HIV-1 infection January
Impax California Rytary (carbidopa and levodopa) extended-release capsules Parkinson's disease January
Daiichi Sankyo New Jersey Savaysa (edoxaban) deep vein thrombosis, pulmonary embolism and risk of stroke and embolism due to AF January

BioNJ highlights five biotech companies within New Jersey to keep an eye on for growth and employment opportunities throughout the rest of this year.

Amicus Therapeutics, Inc.
This company, headquartered in Cranbury, NJ, is a biopharmaceutical company developing next-generation treatments for a broad range of human genetic disease. The company grew from 95 employees in April of 2014 to 140 employees in April of 2015.

Celgene Corporation
With headquarters in Summit, NJ, this biotech firm manufactures drug therapies for cancer and inflammatory disorders. The company grew from 1,972 employees in 2013 to 2,161 employees in 2014.

Celgene is currently expanding its headquarters with a new 180,000-square-foot office area.

Celldex Therapeutics
This company was founded based on a fundamental scientific belief that harnessing the power of the immune system would break significant barriers in drug development for a host of diseases. Celldex has an office in Hampton, NJ, as well as offices in Branford, Conn., Fall River, Mass. and Needham, Mass.

The company grew from 150 employees in April of 2014 to 190 employees in April of 2015.

Ferring Pharmaceuticals
Private company Ferring Pharmaceuticals is a specialty biopharmaceutical group offering treatments for infertility, prostate cancer, ulcerative colitis and more. The company doubled its employee base to reach 50 in 2014 and has since added 35 more employees so far this year. The company plans to add 20 more positions in 2016.

In December of 2014, Ferring opened a new U.S. operations center on a 25-acre lot located in Parsippany.

“This is just the start of an exciting journey of growth to come,” Michel Pettigrew, CEO of Ferring Holding Inc., said in a statement.

Insmed Incorporated
Insmed, located in Bridgewater, NJ, is focused on improving the lives of patients battling serious orphan diseases. The company recently grew from 73 employees in April of 2014 to 97 employees in April of 2015.

More Opportunities

In addition to these companies, BioNJ says other New Jersey-based companies are growing, including Advaxis, Agile Therapeutics, Chromocell, Cancer Genetics, Edge Therapeutics, GENEWIZ, Prolong, PTC Therapeutics and Valeant.

Some biotech companies have also recently made NJ their home. These firms include Boston-based Radius Health as well as Helsinn Therapeutics, Pernix Therapeutics and PAION.

Pernix says the establishment of its new headquarters, which was relocated from Texas to Morristown, NJ, is “a key step towards the achievement of several corporate initiatives, including improving the efficiency of the company’s operational infrastructure by consolidating office locations and hiring and retaining experienced employees.”

New Jersey's Tactics for Growth

New Jersey benefits from a prime location, close to international airports and ports, and a state that was recently named the number one place in the country raise a family.

The state’s Economic Opportunity Act has also played a huge part, Kim Guadagno, the lieutenant governor of New Jersey, told BioSpace at the BIO International conference earlier this month.

”The agenda is full every month, with high tech applications comprising 51 percent of the applications,” she said. That’s a huge boost—and a rapid process unheard of in other states—that keeps biotech business moving smoothly in New Jersey.

The state has also tried innovative new techniques to connect the industry with funding, including holding a “speed dating” event that matched companies with venture capital firms, said Michele Brown, president and CEO of Choose New Jersey. Indeed, the state has an angel investor tax credit, which has lured new players during one of the sector’s longest bull runs.

But by far the most tempting part of doing business in the state remains New Jersey’s operating tax credit, which allows companies to sell their net operating losses to the New Jersey Treasury. One of the state’s most recognizable biotechs, Celgene, used the program until it became profitable, which was key to it staying in the state, said local officials.

“For a company, it’s huge—they sell their losses to profitable companies for cash, which then can be used for ongoing operating expenses,” Guadagno told BioSpace. “We’ve doubled it under our administration during the past six years.”

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