Murphy to be named Governor of the Year at BIO convention

Gov. Phil Murphy at the Commercialization Center for Innovative Technologies.

Gov. Phil Murphy has been recognized as Governor of the Year by the international Biotechnology Innovation Organization for 2019, ROI-NJ has learned.

He will receive the award Tuesday night at the annual BIO convention, which is being hosted in Philadelphia this year.

“I thank BIO for this prestigious award, which is truly a tribute to the thousands of New Jersey entrepreneurs working to create life-saving and life-enhancing therapies and medical devices that will benefit the global community for decades to come,” Murphy said in a statement late Tuesday. “Through our vision for New Jersey as the State of Innovation, we have committed to supporting biotechnology startups and companies of all sizes as they choose to locate and grow in the Garden State. We greatly appreciate the partnership of the biotechnology sector as we work to ensure that scientists, researchers, and other innovators have the resources they need to succeed.”

Murphy has included the life sciences sector as a key part of his economic vision plan, with a specific focus on growing higher education and STEM companies.

“New Jersey … is home to 21 Fortune 500 companies, operations of 13 of the Top 20 global pharmaceutical companies, and more than 400 biotechnology companies,” Murphy said in his October unveiling of the economic vision.

“We were Silicon Valley before there was a Silicon Valley. We have been called the ‘medicine chest to the world.’”

He also re-established a dormant commission on Science, Technology and Innovation — in August last year.

“Since the announcement of his candidacy for governor, Gov. Murphy has expressed his steadfast support of the industry, realizing its importance to the state, to the economy and to patients,” Debbie Hart, CEO and president of BioNJ, told ROI-NJ. “Since taking office, Gov. Murphy has been a champion for innovation and proposed and implemented countless innovative growth strategies to ensure that New Jersey’s thriving life sciences ecosystem continues to flourish and lead the way in medical innovation. I applaud Gov. Murphy and congratulate him on receiving this well-deserved award.”

The award recognizes governors who place emphasis on the life sciences sectors in their state.

“Gov. Murphy is a tireless advocate for initiatives that support the unique needs of early-stage companies. He has successfully enhanced New Jersey’s stature as one of the nation’s most vibrant biotech clusters through strong support for policies that benefit a pro-job and pro-biotechnology environment,” Jim Greenwood, CEO and president of BIO, said in a statement.“The Governor’s leadership in this field will continue to benefit his state and region, in terms of jobs and innovation, for years to come.”

Last year’s recipient was Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker, who was recognized for the state’s commitment of $500 million over five years to helping the sector grow — which has succeeded in attracting companies away from New Jersey.