Building on the Momentum
Published in Biolines March 2012
One of the benefits that comes with the privilege of writing a monthly message to New Jersey’s dynamic biotechnology community, is the ability to sit back for a moment and reflect upon all the amazing people who are involved with and all the astounding developments taking place in the Medicine Chest of the World. And from where I sit, there is an energy within biotechnology that just continues to grow, spurring us all to do more.
Building on the momentum generated at last month’s Annual Dinner Meeting, Awards Program and Networking Event, we at BioNJ are redoubling our efforts to identify and develop programs that best serve the needs of New Jersey’s thriving biotechnology community. We recently hosted a wildly successful Diagnostics & Personalized Medicine Innovation Summit and Funding Roundtable, our Third Annual BioPartnering Conference is coming up in early May, the BioNJ Life Sciences Talent Network is offering more services and programs, and we have been advocating for both State and federal legislation that could significantly improve the landscape for biotech companies.
It’s an exciting time in biotech here in New Jersey!
International BioPartnering Conference
The final touches to the program for our Third Annual International BioPartnering Conference, taking place on May 10 and 11 at the Westin Princeton Forrestal Village, are being put in place, and you can feel the momentum building for the connections that are sure to be made at this year’s event. This conference has become a signature offering by BioNJ, second-to-none for the types of collaborations and connections that can be made. To help facilitate these connections, we are currently accepting applications for company presentations, and the companies that are selected will be working with our volunteer Coaching Committee led by Jordan Warshafsky of Ashton Tweed to prepare their presentations. Each presenter will receive invaluable insight from experienced industry experts, fine-tuning their presentations to ensure that they can get the most impact out of their participation. Stay tuned for program updates, and if you have not yet registered, you can do so by clicking here.
Diagnostics & Personalized Medicine Innovation Summit and Funding Roundtable
Earlier in the month, we held our First Annual Diagnostics & Personalized Medicine Innovation Summit and Funding Roundtable. Yes, I did say first annual, as we are committed to making this event a regular part of our BioNJ program offerings. Building on the energy of our Annual Meeting last month, the Summit provided scientific insight on how diagnostics and personalized medicine are increasingly going to change the way health care is delivered to patients. G. Steven Burrill, CEO of Burrill & Co., provided the keynote address, sharing his views with attendees on how he expects health care will change more in the next 10 years than it has at any other time in its existence. He spoke about how the focus is shifting from treatment to prevention and how markets will be driven by patients instead of providers or payers, dramatically changing the health care landscape. There is much to learn in this area and also great opportunities for innovative biotech companies. We are proud that we were able to bring together so many great leaders to share their insights with our community. Thanks to Dr. Pascal Yvon of CytoVas for serving as the Conference Chair of this creative event. You can read more about the Summit in the BioNJ Headlines section.
In the middle of February, Sen. Kay Hagan (D-NC) introduced the Transforming the Regulatory Environment to Accelerate Access to Treatments (TREAT) Act. According to a statement issued by Jim Greenwood, President & CEO of BIO, “The TREAT Act will help break the institutional barriers to a faster idea-to-market pathway and speed new cures to patients most desperately in need.” You can read BIO’s full statement here. This legislation could be game changing for the biotech industry, speeding up the approval process for therapeutics that treat an unmet need or significantly advance the standard of care and helping smaller firms get a drug to market with more flexibility. We commend Jim and the BIO team for their important work on this effort. They traveled across the country to get feedback from industry leaders and experts on how to make the drug-approval process easier, faster, and more results-oriented, and the TREAT Act is the result. We will keep you posted on this, and over the next few months, we will be reaching out to our Members for your support of this legislation.
New Jersey Angel Investor Act
Proposed New Jersey legislation could provide angel investors a 10 percent tax credit to incentivize investments in New Jersey technology start-ups, including biotech companies. This could contribute to the economic development of our State by stirring the formation of new companies and, in turn, providing opportunities for the many talented New Jersey citizens.
However, while BioNJ supports this legislation, we are hoping that the amount will be increased to 25 percent, as we are told by the investment community that 10 percent may not be enough of an incentive to offset the risk of investing in a company at its earliest stage. Earlier this month, I delivered written testimony to the Senate Budget and Appropriations Committee on this proposed bill, advocating for our support of this legislation but encouraging them to consider a more significant tax credit.
We will keep you informed as these two pieces of legislation move through Trenton and Washington.
Thank you to you, our Members and our many talented and generous supporters and volunteers within your ranks. It is an honor and a privilege to serve you. And as always, we welcome your comments and suggestions on how we can better serve you.
Yours in BioNJ,