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(TRENTON) – Assembly Speaker Sheila Y. Oliver and Assembly Majority Leader Joseph Cryan on Wednesday announced they’ve formed the bipartisan Assembly Task force on Life Sciences to identify ways to attract, encourage and support the life sciences industry in New Jersey.

“The Assembly is committed to ensuring New Jersey remains a leader in the job-creating innovation and economic gains that come along with the life sciences industry,” said Oliver (D-Essex/Passaic). “That includes nurturing new companies while ensuring the ones we already have remain strong, helping put New Jersey’s economy in a strong position to succeed.”

“We know the life sciences industry is the future, and the Assembly wants New Jersey to be the leader in the high-paying jobs and economic expansion it will help create,” said Cryan (D-Union). “This task force will help guide our efforts and recommend any legislation and initiatives we may need to help ensure our life sciences industry remains ahead of the pack.”

The task force will identify ways in which New Jersey can retain and attract new life science industry to spur growth and create jobs across the state.

It would also identify and examine the barriers to life science growth in New Jersey and examine the successful programs in other states that are encouraging growth and attracting life sciences companies to see if there are financial, tax and regulatory incentives that New Jersey should be exploring.

The task force will include:

·From the Assembly Higher Education Committee – Chairwoman Pamela R. Lampitt (D-Camden) and Vice Chairman Thomas P. Giblin (D-Essex/Passaic).

·From the Assembly Regulatory Oversight and Gaming Committee – Chairman John J. Burzichelli (D-Gloucester/Cumberland/Salem) and Vice Chairwoman Annette Quijano (D-Union).

·From the Assembly Telecommunications and Utilities Committee – Chairman Upendra Chivukula (D-Somerset/Middlesex) and Vice Chairman Wayne P. DeAngelo (D-Mercer/Middlesex).

The Republican appointments are expected to be announced soon.

“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 Dr. Kathleen Scotto, Vice President for Research at the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey. “Having a dedicated focus on New Jersey’s life sciences industry – from our research universities to our biopharmaceutical and medical technology companies – shows a strong commitment to supporting an enterprise that could be the envy of the world.”

“We applaud the Speaker’s bold action in creating the Assembly Life Sciences Task Force on Economic Growth. This new task force is a powerful reflection of the pivotal work of the state’s life sciences community and its importance as an economic driver,” said Dean Paranicas, Chair of the Steering Committee of the HealthCare Institute of New Jersey. “We look forward to working with Speaker Oliver, Majority Leader Cryan and the members of the Task Force in moving New Jersey’s innovation agenda forward.”