A pharmaceutical giant based in Israel has decided to move its North American headquarters to Parsippany – a 60-mile move from Pennsylvania that brings more than 800 jobs to the state with the promise of $40 million in tax breaks.

Teva Pharmaceuticals, the world’s largest manufacturer of generic drugs, already employs 232 people in Parsippany and plans to expand that by 843 jobs. The jobs at Teva’s headquarters are expected to have an average salary of $128,000.

“I think it’s a big one,” said Gov. Phil Murphy, who said Teva is “a globally significant company, right in the sweet spot of the innovation – in their case, pharmaceutical bio-life sciences industry.”

Teva will expand its existing location to nearly 350,000 square feet of leased space. It won't completely cease operations in Pennsylvania but will shift most of the jobs in Montgomery County to New Jersey. In all, Teva has offices in 30 locations across the United States and its territories.

“These are exactly the sort of jobs that we hope to continue to further encourage to build out that innovation economy,” Murphy said.

As a candidate for governor, Murphy criticized the state for relying too much on tax incentives to attract jobs, yet the state Economic Development Authority last month approved $40 million in Grow New Jersey tax credits over 10 years for Teva, if it meets performance goals.

In 2012, Teva was awarded $15 million tax credits by Gov. Chris Christie’s EDA to put a research and development facility in Morris County.

Murphy said the incentive package played a balanced role, but not the only one, in Teva’s decision.

“I think it worked for them. But it also speaks volumes to the broader spectrum of reasons why companies made decisions – public education, higher education, infrastructure, transportation, , all those issues that I think fed into their decision,” Murphy said.

Teva stuck by its decision to move despite the imposition of a four-year corporate tax surcharge approved this week, starting at 2.5 percent. Murphy said he had spoken personally with the company’s North American CEO about the surcharge over the course of the past week or so.

Murphy said he might visit the worldwide headquarters of Teva Pharmaceuticals in October, when he plans an official visit to Israel and Germany.

“One of the key attributes of bolstering that innovation economy and particular in New Jersey is that we’re open for business with foreign direct investment and foreign partners,” Murphy said. “Those two trips will be I hope the first of a series that underpin that notion.”

Murphy visited Israel last year as a candidate and owns a home in Berlin, where he was a top executive for Goldman Sachs and later the United States ambassador.

“That Israel-New Jersey relationship is already strong,” Murphy said. “I think it can be even stronger, particularly in the innovation economy and in higher education.”

New Jersey: Decoded cuts through the cruft and gets to what matters in New Jersey news and politics. Follow on Facebook and Twitter.

Michael Symons is State House bureau chief for New Jersey 101.5 and the editor of New Jersey: Decoded. Follow @NJDecoded on Twitter and Facebook. Contact him at michael.symons@townsquaremedia.com

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