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Innovation Zones: New Jersey's Newest Technology Neighborhoods

Companies operating inside of "Innovation Zones" in Greater New Brunswick, Camden, and Newark enjoy access to world-class commercialization facilities as well as enhanced financial incentives.

Lisa A. Bastian (Dec/Jan 08)
New Jersey is aptly named "The Invention State" for its large number of engineers, scientists, and inventors. That explains why it's home to a multitude of world-renowned companies in the fields of biosciences, telecommunications, advanced materials, microelectronics, and computer applications. Not surprisingly, between 2001 and 2006, New Jersey grew its science and technology work force 10.4 percent - a rate twice the national average.

Recently three "Innovation Zones" have been created in New Jersey - in Greater New Brunswick, Camden, and Newark - to tap into and support this tremendous brainpower. They are designed to spur collaborative efforts among public research institutions, medical research facilities, and technology firms as well as to encourage the rapid transfer of discoveries from the laboratory to the marketplace. Each of the Innovation Zones will be anchored by state-of-the-art, commercialization centers. Equally important, each "technology neighborhood" will help create vibrant, prosperous communities where people can live, work, and play.

The Innovation Zone (IZ) program is a collaborative effort of the New Jersey Economic Development Authority (NJEDA) and other state agencies. Eligible technology and life sciences companies operating inside these areas enjoy not only enhanced financial incentives, but also the ability to access world-class, state-of-the-art commercialization facilities designed for growing technology businesses. In addition, companies can engage in enhanced partnership opportunities coordinated by New Jersey's government. Let's take a look at the three zones:

Greater New Brunswick IZ
The Greater New Brunswick Innovation Zone spans four municipalities: New Brunswick, North Brunswick, Piscataway, and Franklin Township. Specifically, New Brunswick (the county seat of Middlesex County, population 750,000+) is strategically located just 37 miles from New York City; 64 miles from Philadelphia; 197 miles from Washington, D.C.; and 248 miles from Boston. Known as "Health Care City," its core population triples during the day to almost 150,000 as people come here not only to work, get an education, and receive world-class healthcare, but also to enjoy its quality community and cultural amenities.

Major Greater New Brunswick employers include Johnson & Johnson; Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey; and the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey (UMDNJ) and its Robert Wood Johnson Medical School (America's largest medical school) and Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital. Groundbreaking medical research and technology is also integrated into care provided at St. Peter's University Hospital, a state-designated Children's Hospital and Regional Perinatal Center. In addition to serving more children than any other Central New Jersey hospital, the facility also offers comprehensive healthcare services to adults. Other Greater New Brunswick medical facilities of note include The Cancer Institute of New Jersey, one of 39 National Cancer Institute-designated Comprehensive Cancer Centers and the only one in the state; The Child Health Institute of New Jersey, a research center focusing on the prevention, treatment, and cure of childhood diseases; and the Center for Advanced Biotechnology and Medicine.

In October 2007 ground was broken for the new Stem Cell Institute of New Jersey, a 160,000-square-foot facility to be built in New Brunswick. When completed, it will house three floors of research labs (plus a Good Manufacturing Practices center) where work will focus on the application of stem cells to the treatment and cure of human diseases. Presently, portions of the Stem Cell Institute are house at Rutgers and UMDNJ Medical School, the two institutions leading this effort.

One of the region's most respected corporate citizens is Johnson & Johnson, a global medical devices, pharmaceutical, and consumer packaged goods manufacturer founded in 1886 in New Brunswick. Other major biosciences employers include Ortho Pharmaceutical, Bristol-Myers Squibb, Schering Plough, Pharmacopeia, Hoffmann-LaRoche, Merck, Aventis, Covance, and Pharmacia & Upjohn Company. In the advanced technology sector, NEC Research Institute, Siemens Research, the David Sarnoff Research Center, and Telcordia are among the well-known players.

The Technology Centre of New Jersey is a world-class facility located on more than 50 acres between Rutgers and Princeton universities. It offers nearly 400,000 square feet of state-of-the-art cleanrooms, wet labs, and office space in its four freestanding buildings. More than $100 million has been invested in facilities and improvements on the property. Key tenants include Cambrex Corp., Merial Ltd., and Novo Nordisk, Inc.

Also on the center's campus is the 50,000-square-foot Commercialization Center for Innovative Technologies (CCIT), an incubator dedicated primarily to entrepreneurial life sciences and biotechnology firms. Rutgers University has leased nearly 26,000 square feet of adjacent space for its Technology Center II facility, where university lab researchers collaborate with technical experts in startup ventures, established corporations, and government agencies. Prominent CCIT tenants include Chromocell Corp., 3D Biotek, Orthocon, and Neurotez.

Camden IZ
Camden (population 80,000+) is situated within Camden County (population 500,000+). Both the city and county are part of the Greater Philadelphia metro area (population 6.1 million). This region offers numerous strengths helping businesses prosper in all lifecycle phases. They include an excellent geographic location; a strong transportation infrastructure with highways, rail, air, and deepwater ports, as well as a new light rail system under construction; fiberoptic cable capacity; a strong regional healthcare sector; first-rate educational institutions; and modern business parks.

The Cooper's Ferry Development Corp. is a major urban redevelopment resource in Camden. Presently it's helping bring to life the Camden Town Center, to be built between Market Street and the Ben Franklin Bridge at the Camden waterfront. When completed, it will include 500,000 square feet of office space; 1,500 more residential units; 100,000 square feet of retail, dining, and entertainment; and a hotel conference center. Since 1984, Cooper's Ferry has helped coordinate more than $500 million of private and public mixed-use investment in this area, which is also known as a vibrant tourist attraction, drawing two million visitors annually.

Another notable addition to Camden is its new 100,000-square-foot Waterfront Technology Center. The five-story, wet-lab-capable structure is exclusively for established businesses and startups in the biosciences, microelectronics, advanced materials, information technology, and other high-tech and life sciences fields. Eventually it will be part of a six-building, 600,000-square-foot technology park. A neighboring state-of-the-art facility, the Camden Aerospace Center, houses high-tech company L-3 Communications-East, a division of the sixth-largest defense company in the United States.

Cooper University Hospital, southern New Jersey's premier university-level healthcare provider, is the clinical and core teaching hospital for the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey and its Robert Wood Johnson Medical School. Cooper is well known for research and cutting-edge treatments in areas such as cancer, cardiology, critical care, diabetes, and gene therapy, and has five Centers of Excellence. Currently the hospital is undergoing a huge expansion that encompasses the addition of a $220 million patient-care pavilion.

The Coriell Institute for Medical Research is a biomedical research institution staffed by experts in microbiology, molecular biology, cytogenetics, cell biology, and molecular genetics. In addition to conducting research in cancer, human genetic variation, mechanisms of cellular differentiation, and genetic disorders, the institute maintains the world's largest collection of human cells for study of genetic and aging-related diseases.


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