Roche's Former New Jersey Site to Become a Life Sciences Campus

Published: Jun 19, 2017

Roche's Former New Jersey Site to Become a Life Sciences Campus June 15, 2017
By Alex Keown, Breaking News Staff

CLIFTON, NJ. – A former Roche facility in northern New Jersey is finding new life as a campus for the life science industry.

The refurbished facility, now known as On3, is 116 acres of property now being developed as a “mini-metropolis in the suburbs,” North reported this morning. The On3 campus is being developed by Prism Capital Partners. The goal of the project is to kick-start employment in the area, which saw a loss of thousands of jobs when Roche began to vacate the area in 2012, according to reports.

The first tenant for the property is expected to be a medical school that is a joint project between Hackensack University Medical Center and Seton Hall University, North reported. The new school is being supported with tax credits from the New Jersey Economic Development Authority and is expected to open in the fall of 2018.

By creating a large campus for the life science industry, Prism is seeking to create a new life science eco system similar to what is being seen in Cambridge, Mass. and California’s Bay Area. One benefit to the sprawling campus is its proximity to New York City, which Prism believes will be attractive to many would-be tenants.

In addition to the new medical center, the facility is expected to house other academic programs, including Hackensack University Health Network’s National Cancer Institute.

Even with the university programs taking up a significant amount of space, there are two buildings with a combined 500,000 square-feet of space that is available. Eugene Diaz, a principal at Prism Capital, told North there has been interest expressed in possible space, including from the bio-pharmaceutical sector. With the number of biotech and pharma companies in New Jersey, space could quickly fill up.

The Garden State is home to more than 3,000 entities in the life science sector, including powerhouse pharma companies such as Celgene , Pfizer and Bristol-Myers Squibb . Although the state has been lagging behind other areas, such as Boston and San Francisco, in terms of industry growth, New Jersey has been seen as a strong location for the life sciences. Debbie Hart, president and chief executive officer of BioNJ, a trade group for research-based life sciences companies, told BioSpace last year that the New Jersey pharma ecosystem is robust and will continue to grow. The growth of the biotech and pharmaceutical industries has several drivers in New Jersey, including a lower cost of living (in comparison to other pharma hubs), strong research from area colleges and universities, a legacy big pharma footprint and a supportive state government, Hart said.

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