When Rutgers University officially merged with the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey last summer, it brought all medical, nursing and dental schools under the Rutgers umbrella.

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Gov. Chris Christie believes the move has helped strengthen the state's pharmaceutical industry.

He said while New Jersey remains a central location for pharmaceutical companies, some have departed because of the state's high taxes. But now with the merger, "it's one-stop shopping for the pharmaceutical industry and the biomedical industry."

The governor explained that pharma companies work with universities and hospitals "to do everything from the initial research in the laboratories with professors and others, all the way through the clinical trials that you have to do on people in the hospitals."

Christie offered a prediction of what the merger means going forward.

"It's one set of forms and one set of grant agreements and they're done, so I think you're going to see that help the pharma, keeping it here and even growing some of the smaller biotech firms here."

Under the merger, Rutgers has moved up from 55th to 22nd place in health institute grants in just the last two years.

That means a lot more federal money coming in, to create the new developments in the medical and biomedical fields for tomorrow -- that's going to draw more talent here, because the money is here."

"I just met with the executives at Johnson & Johnson two weeks ago at their offices," Christie said, "and they've already said that they're considering now doing many more of their clinical trials in New Jersey because they can just deal with Rutgers."