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Biotech task force makes big recommendations to Murphy

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New Jersey's Biotech Task Force made its final recommendations for this year to Gov. Murphy, which include expanded tax credits for biotech startups.
New Jersey's Biotech Task Force made its final recommendations for this year to Gov. Murphy, which include expanded tax credits for biotech startups. - ()

The New Jersey Biotechnology Task Force is seeking more tax credits for biotechnology being developed at state universities as well as the re-establishment of the Commission on Science and Technology, a group that was disbanded during Gov. Chris Christie's administration.

The recommendations were made at a press conference Wednesday in Trenton.

The group, which was formed last year and is chaired by BioNJ CEO Debbie Hart, also recommended that Gov. Phil Murphy:

  • Provide support to better compete for Small Business Innovation Research and Small Business Technology Transfer Program funding;
  • Increase availability of technical assistance by scaling existing programs across New Jersey’s incubator/accelerator network;
  • Support executive spin-outs with tax credits;
  • Increase and enhance the technology business tax certificate transfer program – also known as the Net Operating Loss program – that allows start up biotechnology companies to sell their operating losses;
  • Incentivize investment into New Jersey’s venture funds;
  • Expand the Angel Investor Tax Credit Program;
  • Increase funding for the Edison Innovation Fund and NJ CoVest Fund that makes investments in startup biotechnology companies;
  • Support the I-Corps model and specialized training and mentoring program in the state to help bring discovery to the marketplace;
  • Create New Jersey talent retention internships programs;
  • Restore the Technology Fellowship Program, which was disbanded under Christie;
  • Provide state matches of nonprofit research grant funding;
  • Create and support bio-manufacturing and bio-banks;
  • Create an inventory of multitenant operators and increase state support for innovation districts;
  • Establish a New Jersey “orphan drug” tax credit program;
  • Enhance the research and development tax credit;
  • Develop a capital gains incentive program;
  • Coordinate marketing efforts surrounding existing resources and New Jersey brands;
  • Create and support New Jersey Centers for Excellence; and
  • Create a state-supported forum to bring physicians together to share Information about New Jersey-based clinical trial activity. 

Hart said she is concerned over the number of biotech companies leaving the state, including Ipsen SA, a French pharmaceutical company that only recently moved its U.S. headquarters from New Jersey to Massachusetts.

“By leveraging our strengths, we believe that New Jersey can achieve its goal of revitalization and enhancement of the life sciences industry through strengthening of the state’s innovation capacity,” said Hart during the press conference. “It is an opportune time to take these important steps. Governor Phil Murphy’s commitment to growing New Jersey’s innovation ecosystem is noteworthy, and many of the recommendations contained within this report have already been put forward as legislation that is now moving through the Legislature. We believe that a deep understanding of the importance of the life sciences industry to New Jersey already exists and that these recommendations will capitalize on the interest and the opportunity.”

The Task Force was created last year to explore ways to strengthen the life sciences industry in the state. It is comprised of six legislative members, two public members, including Hart, and Daniel O'Connor, CEO of OncoSec Medical, and, Timothy Lizura, COO of the New Jersey Economic Development Authority. The EDA served as staff to the Task Force. 

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Vince Calio

Vince Calio

Vince Calio covers health care and manufacturing for NJBIZ. You can contact him at vcalio@njbiz.com.

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