Life science industry impacts N.J. economy in big way, C&W report says

The life science industry is fueling New Jersey’s economy through revenue and job growth, according to a report by Cushman & Wakefield.

The report suggests the life science industry contributes nearly 85 percent more toward the New Jersey economy than the rest of the states — $47.5 billion, to be exact. There are currently 3,280 life science facilities in the state that employ more than 117,000 people in a variety of fields, including pharmaceuticals, biotechnology and medical devices.

“New Jersey has a large, unique concentration of life sciences companies, as it contains the headquarters of 13 of the top 20 global biopharma companies in the Unites States,” said Jason Price, tri-state suburbs research director of Cushman & Wakefield. “Fifty percent of FDA approvals came from New Jersey-based life science firms in 2017, and the biotech employment rate has increased 12.6 percent in the last two years, which will continue to have a significant impact moving forward.”

Life science also has a major impact across other markets in New Jersey, said Robert Rudin, vice chairman of Cushman & Wakefield.

“Life sciences companies are attracted to the New Jersey’s innovation ecosystem and workforce; 37 percent of the state’s workforce holds at least a bachelor’s degree, whereas the national average is only 30 percent.” Rudin said. “The state also offers appealing incentives for qualified life sciences companies, including specific incentives created to support startup and early stage ventures. In 2017 alone, $114.37 million in incentives were awarded to life sciences companies.”

In terms of the research and development market, New Jersey has 8.3 million square feet of R&D space — mostly concentrated in Somerset, Middlesex and Morris counties. Since 2014, the study found, the vacancy rate in R&D dropped from 28 percent to 11.1 percent.

The life sciences industry had 57 Class A and B office leasing deals in 2017, which totaled approximately 1 million square feet and accounted for 10 percent of total office space leased in the state.

“Life sciences transactions will likely continue to help drive leasing velocity in key northern and central New Jersey submarkets in the foreseeable future,” Price said. “While some large pharmaceutical companies may look to consolidate operations and downsize with new space configurations, expect the number of small and mid-tier pharmaceutical and biotech firms expand further in the coming year.”