A new report shows Jersey's biopharma industry, a key part of our economy, continues to grow but at a lower pace than the industry in some other states.

Debbie Hart, CEO of the industry association BioNJ, says they are seeking help from Trenton to spur industry growth.

"There are a couple of other eco systems, namely Massachusetts and California, that have developed much more dramatically than here in New Jersey."

New Jersey is home to approximately 1,000 pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies that employ about 65,000 workers, many highly-skilled. The report also identifies the state as one of the top 10 innovation hubs in the world.

The report outlines recommendations to Gov.-elect Phil Murphy and the Legislature to promote biopharma research, innovation and expansion in New Jersey.

"The key message is opportunity, that it does exist. It can be built upon."

According to Hart, their recommendations include four main points:

— Directing government support of the industry, including making existing programs easier to navigate and richer for economic growth along the bio-pharmaceutical industry.
— Promotion of life science innovation and investment in the state, including creating and branding a potential "super cluster" of activity.
— Educational and training programs, including linking existing pools of expertise, especially in the area of drug development and commercialization, where New Jersey really stands out, specifically for young companies.
— Strengthening New Jersey's brand, including increased promotion and marketing of the advantages of founding or moving a company to New Jersey.

"Overall, the industry has grown. However, it has not grown at the rate that it could possibly have grown, given the industry growth across the country."

Joe Cutter is the afternoon news anchor on New Jersey 101.5

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