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Measures Approved by Assembly Panel will Create Incentives for Industry to Establish and Flourish, Creating New Jobs

Two measures sponsored by Assemblywoman Pamela Lampitt, Assemblyman Upendra Chivukula, Majority Leader Joe Cryan, and Assemblyman Wayne DeAngelo aimed at helping the life sciences industry flourish and grow in New Jersey have received approval by the Assembly Commerce and Economic Development Committee.

The bills (A-3628 and A-3629) are part of a package developed as a result of the Assembly Task force on Life Sciences, which was convened in order to identify ways to attract, encourage and support the life sciences industry in New Jersey.

The programs proposed by these bills would provide small technology businesses with grants at an early point in their development, taking advantage of the fact that it is easier and more economical to help grow a business that creates high-wage jobs than it is to lure one into the state.

“Strengthening New Jersey’s life sciences capabilities and promoting innovation in both academia and industry are key components to growing New Jersey’s economy, creating high-paying jobs and discovering new ways to diagnose, treat and prevent disease,” said Lampitt (D-Camden).

“Funding for life sciences seed, startup and early-stage companies has been difficult even in a good economy. In recent years, the situation has become increasingly more complex as venture capitalists and other traditional funding Dests have stopped investing, or have shut down or shifted their emphasis to the later stages of development to reduce risk in this economy,” said Chivukula (D-Middlesex/Somerset).

Businesses eligible for the grants under either bill are those that center on the discovery, production, or development of medical equipment, ophthalmic goods, medical or dental instruments, diagnostic substances, biopharmaceutical products, or physical and biological research.

The first bill (A-3628) would allow eligible small businesses with only limited equity, as defined in the bill, to qualify for grants of up to $250,000 from the NJ Economic Development Authority (EDA).

“Due to a widening funding gap, there are fewer resources for academics and entrepreneurs with the vision and drive to start a company, impacting their ability to mold a discovery made in one of our colleges and universities or foster a compound or patent lingering in a larger company,” said Cryan (D-Union).

“This program would be one more tool to help encourage the establishment, nurture and development of new life science and technology companies and the well-paying jobs they represent,” said DeAngelo (D-Mercer/Middlesex).

The second bill (A-3629) would allow the same eligible small businesses to qualify for an additional $250,000 matching grant if they have received one of several federal life sciences grants, including: a Phase II or post Phase II Small Business Innovation Research grant from a federal agency or a federal Phase II or post Phase II Small Business Technology Transfer Program grant from a federal agency.

The grants would be supported, in part, by funds available through the Securities Enforcement Fund, as well as other EDA funding Dests that may become available.

The bills now head to the Assembly Appropriations Committee for further consideration.