Gov. Chris Christie is receiving national attention for his support of New Jersey's life sciences sector.
The Biotechnology Industry Organization this week named Christie its "Governor of the Year." The award coincides with next week's BIO International Convention in Boston. Christie was nominated for the award by New Jersey's biotech trade group, BioNJ.
Debbie Hart, BioNJ's president, said the award boosts the state's reputation as a biotech hub.
"It's a very competitive landscape and so if you can have your top leader leading the charge and supporting the industry, I think that really says something about your state," Hart said. "I think we'll get the attention of the international community when they're looking at where to locate."
The governor won praise for supporting incentives such as the state's R&D tax credit, and the technology business tax certificate transfer program that lets unprofitable early-stage tech companies sell their tax credits to more established, profitable businesses in exchange for cash. Christie restored the latter program's funding to $60 million in this year's budget after cutting the program in half the previous year.
In a press release announcing the BIO award, Christie said he was honored by the recognition.
"The key to economic recovery, both in our state and nationally, lies in securing economic growth and job creation in innovative industries such as the biotech sector," Christie said, in a press release. "I'm proud that New Jersey continues to lead the way in this sector - creating the jobs and technology breakthroughs that improve the quality of life for our citizens and people around the world."
Christie won't be at the convention to receive his award in person. Instead, Hart said he taped an acceptance message to be played on at a luncheon on Wednesday, the next-to-last day of the convention.
Though the governor won't be there, Lt. Gov. Kim Guadagno is slated to attend the convention. Hart said Guadagno plans to be in Boston on Tuesday to meet with companies about the benefits of locating in New Jersey.
For Guadagno, the convention comes amid a month-long tour of the state's life sciences sector. She kicked off the tour this week at MicroDose Therapeutx, in Monmouth Junction.
"The tour… seeks to highlight our state and show the world's life sciences companies that New Jersey is the best place on earth for them to do business," said Guadagno, in a press release announcing the tour. "New Jersey's workforce is highly educated, and our state is perfectly located for life sciences companies to thrive and succeed."