New Jersey continues to set the pace in the biotechnology sector of the economy, according to a new report.

Employees walk past a Merck sign in front of the company's building on October 2, 2013 in Summit (Kena Betancur/Getty Images)

An ongoing collaborative effort between business and science continues to keep the state in the forefront of the biotechnology field.

BioNJ CEO Debbie Hart says "New Jersey has so many important elements to attract and grow biotechnology companies."

Hart says that includes the close proximity of the pharmaceutical industry.

"We have Big Pharma here at home. That means that we have talents and the ability to partner with Big Pharma, which is really critically important."

BioNJ is a network of more than 400 members who represent research-based life sciences companies in New Jersey.


Bioscience jobs are high-paying jobs that need highly-skilled labor. According to Hart, "they are the folks who are developing and bringing cures to patients in the biotechnology area."

The report noted that the bioscience industry grew in New Jersey between 2012 and 2014 by adding almost 2 percent to its employment base. The average annual wage for a New Jersey bioscience job was just over $142,000

Debbie Hart says some of the other factors that make the state a great place for the industry include the close proximity of financial markets in New York. And she says the National Institutes of Health and the Food and Drug Administration are "just a train ride away" in Washington.

Joe Cutter is the afternoon news anchor on New Jersey 101.5