BioNJ honors 21 innovator companies for 32 drug approvals at its annual Innovation Celebration

BioNJ honored innovators in New Jersey and the patients that inspire them at its 27th Annual Dinner Meeting & Innovation Celebration held Thursday, Feb. 6 at the Hilton East Brunswick.

The event, dedicated to “patients … because they just can’t wait,” honored medical and life sciences innovation in the Garden State.

“We are so proud of our ecosystem which was responsible for more than 50% of all novel FDA medicine approvals in 2019, reinforcing the fact that New Jersey is the drug development capital of the world,” Debbie Hart, CEO and president, BioNJ, said. “Our Members are helping Patients live longer, better lives while lessening the burden of illness and disease on society. We are pleased to celebrate their important work and dedication in this way.”

The event began with opening remarks from Senate President Steven Sweeney and a video message from Gov. Phil Murphy.

Sixteen year old CAR-T therapy recipient Victoria Lee and 26 year old patient advocate Jonathan Piacentino presented this year’s Innovator Awards to 21 innovator companies for 32 drug approvals. They include:

The program also presented the 13th Annual Dr. Sol J. Barer Award for Vision, Innovation and Leadership to Kenneth C. Frazier, chairman of the board and CEO at Merck & Co. Inc.

The 3rd Annual Heart of BioNJ Awards were presented to Mary Frances Harmon, senior vice president, corporate relations, PTC Therapeutics, and posthumously to patient advocate and industry advisor Bob “BT” Tufts.

“Tonight was awesome,” Will Lewis, chairman and CEO of Insmed, said. “Another flawlessly run Annual Dinner Meeting, with a truly international luminary leader receiving the Dr. Sol J. Barer Award. BioNJ’s connection to Patients makes the evening very rewarding. You moved people tonight.”