Stefan Roehr, head of North America supply chain, distribution and logistics at Sanofi, acknowledges that the company could have moved anywhere when it decided to leave its longtime headquarters in Bridgewater.
But leaving New Jersey, the company’s North American flagship since 1971, was not in the plans, he said.
Roehr, speaking Wednesday at the groundbreaking ceremony for the company’s new building at M Station in Morristown — explained why the town is a great fit for Sanofi (see story here).
He also offered five reasons why New Jersey still is the right fit for Sanofi.
- Sanofi’s history here
Sanofi has been in the state since 1971. And New Jersey has long served as the administrative office for the general medicines business unit. Roehr said keeping that continuity was important.
“We wanted to be in New Jersey because we wanted to maintain the business that we’ve had here,” he said. “We’ve always had a presence in this area.”
- The college connection
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Roehr rattled off Rutgers University and Seton Hall University. He noted the company’s connection to Raritan Valley Community College — and he talked about the potential connections with schools in Morris County, including Fairleigh Dickinson University and County College of Morris, among others.
“I think that when you look at the colleges and universities here, I think there’s a lot of opportunity,” he said.
- The changing face of bio
Roehr discussed how the life science and bio industry is in transition, which makes a state such as New Jersey, with so many small companies and startups, appealing.
“I think that the biggest thing is that, when you look at how the pharmaceutical industry, you can see there’s a lot of changes that are coming — with how we’re looking at mRNA, how we’re looking at AI technology,” he said. “I think it’s moving away from big blockbuster type of products, and there’s going to be more specialized.
“I think there’s a lot of capability — and a lot of opportunities that are being developed — here.”
- The D.C. to Boston corridor
Sanofi said being in the Northeast (and mid-Atlantic) is huge.
“This corridor from Washington to Boston is more relevant than ever,” he said. “(In New Jersey), you’re in the middle of everything. When you look at being in either Boston, here, or even working with legislators in Washington, everything is by train. I think the infrastructure capabilities that the state has are absolutely amazing.”
- The commitment of the state
Roher said the administration is making the right moves.
“Any economist or anybody in business knows there’s possibilities of losing jobs elsewhere because of salary scales and everything else,” he said. “I appreciate everything that the governor is doing to make sure that New Jersey is attractive — whether it’s tax breaks, whether it’s revitalizing areas of the economy or bringing jobs to New Jersey.”
Roher said he is confident that Sanofi can work with state and federal officials during challenging economic times.
“I think this is a great opportunity — and it shows Sanofi’s commitment to where we want to go,” he said.