New Jersey: The Medicine Chest of the World


Michigan has autos.  The Midwest has agribusiness.  Texas has oil and gas.  California’s Silicon Valley has electronics. 

And New Jersey has the life sciences industry.

When Johnson & Johnson opened its doors in 1886 in a former New Brunswick wallpaper factory, it was the launch of what is today one of the largest healthcare companies in the world. 

It also was the genesis of what is currently the greatest concentration of life sciences companies not only in the United States but in the world — and New Jersey’s premier industry.

Over this long period, New Jersey’s life sciences industry has richly earned and maintained its reputation as the “Medicine Chest of the World” due to its commitment to innovation and improving global human health.


Home to More Than 3,000 Life Sciences ESTABLISHMENTS

According to New Jersey’s Department of Labor and Workforce Development, the state has more than 3,000 life sciences establishments, which include biopharmaceutical, biotechnology, medical device and diagnostic companies.

Of those, 13 of the world’s top 20 biopharmaceutical companies (based on sales) and 12 of the world’s top 20 medical technology companies make the Garden State their global, North American or U.S. headquarters or have significant investments here.


Why New Jersey?

While business decisions are premised on factors unique to each organization, life sciences companies are attracted to New Jersey for many reasons, including:

  • Robust research and innovation tradition
  • Proximity to peer companies, which fosters life-saving collaboration
  • Talented life sciences workforce, one of the most talented and educated in the world
  • Hospitable business environment
  • Multiple research universities
  • World-class transportation system, including our ports and worldwide air service
  • Quality of life
  • Specialized vendor support
  • Access to capital markets


Innovation and Patient Access

On the innovation front, New Jersey’s life sciences companies have invested vigorously in research and development even in the most challenging of economic times.  They have done so because R&D — the painstakingly complex and costly search for new medicines, therapies and technologies — is the engine that drives this industry and secures its future.

According to HINJ’s latest economic impact survey, reporting HINJ member companies’ New Jersey facilities spent $5.3 billion for R&D in 2014.

In terms of patient access, the Garden State’s pharmaceutical, biotechnology and medical device companies have advanced global human health with the discovery and development of life-changing medicines and technologies.  They include antibiotics, antidepressants, cancer and AIDS drugs, vaccines that have eradicated diseases and medical technologies that save lives.


Jobs and Economic Contributions

In the course of advancing human health, the life sciences industry has been an engine that has powered the New Jersey economy.  To learn more about the sector’s economic impact in the Garden State, please click here.

Importantly, even municipalities without a direct life sciences company presence reap the economic benefits of New Jersey’s innovation community.  To support their day-to-day operations, life sciences companies rely on a tremendous number of local vendors to provide a wide array of goods and services. 

According to We Work for Health New Jersey (WWFH-NJ), in 2013, New Jersey biopharmaceutical companies alone (i.e., not including the state’s medical device companies) maintained 9,378 vendor relationships and purchased nearly $6.5 billion worth of goods and services from thousands of local New Jersey businesses stretching from Sussex to Cape May.

Reporting HINJ member companies also continue to invest in capital projects in New Jersey.  In 2014, they spent $1.5 billion on construction around the state — including renovation, maintenance, new construction and purchase.


A Commitment to Corporate Social Responsibility

Corporate social responsibility is another pillar on which the life sciences industry is built.  Certainly, the industry’s impact on New Jersey extends well beyond its doors as its commitment to the community attests.

Globally, our companies donate billions of dollars a year in products and cash contributions.  Here in New Jersey, HINJ member companies alone donated more than $638 million in 2014 to nonprofit organizations that advance healthcare, education and culture throughout the state.

Responding to the needs of people and communities throughout New Jersey and the region impacted by Superstorm Sandy in Fall 2012, HINJ member companies donated, to date, approximately $11.1 million in cash contributions and product donations.  This figure does not include employee contributions or company matching-gift programs.

The industry’s spirit of giving goes beyond corporate donations.  Employee volunteerism also is a hallmark of our industry. 

From multiple and varied hands-on assistance following Superstorm Sandy to building houses for Habitat for Humanity, to conducting book drives, to supporting local food banks, HINJ member companies’ employees are encouraged to participate in their communities — and they readily embrace the challenge.


Advancing an ‘Innovation Ecosystem’

While New Jersey remains the “Medicine Chest of the World,” ours is an evolving industry that faces formidable challenges.  These include global economic pressures, regulatory demands and the impact of patent expirations on major products.

Because life sciences is a highly coveted industry, the competition for company investment is fierce.  Other states — such as California, Massachusetts and North Carolina — as well as other nations are aggressively vying for these investments that generate well-compensated jobs, new tax revenues and community support.

If the Garden State is to remain an industry leader, we — the industry, elected officials and academia — must work together to advance an “Innovation Ecosystem.” 

What is that?  An Innovation Ecosystem is an economic environment forged by the innovation-fueled private sector, government and academia that encourages life sciences companies to invest more in our state, hire New Jerseyans, contribute to our municipalities’ fiscal health, and foster an innovation environment conducive to developing the high-quality medicines and medical devices patients critically need.


Our Elected Officials Helping to Make Progress

The good news is our elected officials on both sides of the political aisle in Washington, DC, Trenton and throughout New Jersey recognize this urgent priority and are making progress toward this goal.

New Jersey’s life sciences industry also has a committed ally in the Mayors Committee on Life Sciences, which was founded in 2010 by New Jersey State League of Municipalities (NJSLOM) and We Work For Health New Jersey.

The Mayors Committee works to promote economic development and innovation, educate policymakers and the public about the industry’s contributions to New Jersey, and benchmarks best practices within host communities that nurture the industry.



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