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Tech Hubs Birth Innovation – New Jersey Business Magazine

Tech Hubs Birth Innovation – New Jersey Business Magazine


HELIX New Brunswick is a $2 billion life sciences center consisting of three towers and 1.6 million square feet of space that aims to be a leader in translational research in New Jersey and across the East Coast.

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The seven centers are propelling New Jersey into new discovery territory with several high-tech centers, creating a nurturing environment for entrepreneurs. By Lisa Goulian Twisted June 3, 2024

Nicknamed the “Pill Chest of the World” for its concentration of life sciences companies, New Jersey is quickly earning a second title — “Innovation Hub” — with seven projects that bring together leading education, healthcare, research and technology companies in some of the state's best-located regions.

“We're the birthplace of the pharmaceutical industry, we have great academic institutions, and we have more scientists per square mile than any other state in the U.S.,” says Paul Hoffman, president and CEO of Jersey City's Liberty Science Center, which is part of the new SciTech City hub. “That makes us a great base to try to foster an early-stage culture of startups and innovation.”

In addition to SciTech City, the province's other innovation hubs include New Brunswick's HELIX and the Jack and Cheryl Morris Cancer Centre, the Northeast Science and Technology Centre (NEST) in Kenilworth, ON3 in Nutley, Virtua and Rowan Medical School and Research Labs in Glassboro, and Princeton University's new AI hub — each an integral part of transforming New Brunswick into a technology leader on the East Coast, across the country and even internationally.

Science Tech City

In early 2015, the Jersey City Redevelopment Authority (JCRA) appointed Liberty Science Center as the master developer responsible for transforming 16 acres of adjacent city-owned land into a science and technology hub. Nearly a decade later, we are nearing the opening day of SciTech Scity, a community where tech entrepreneurs, scientists, students, and other forward-thinking people and organizations come together to collaborate and create a better future.

In addition to Liberty Science Center, the 30-acre Innovation Campus includes $450 million in new construction, including Edge Works, an eight-story business creation center that will include laboratories, R&D space, office suites, a technology exhibit gallery and a state-of-the-art conference center, Scholars Village with 500 apartments for tech-oriented families and individuals, Liberty Science Center High School, a new public magnet STEM high school, and the Public Commons, which will include three acres of outdoor space for art installations, food trucks and science festivals.

SciTech City's roughly 100 tenants aren't expected to begin moving in until late 2025 or 2026, but the work toward transformation is already underway, Hoffman said. Ernst & Young (EY), Bristol Myers Squibb and RWJBarnabas Health are partners in SciTech City's Healthcare Innovation Engine, which is bringing medical technology to the home, especially in underserved communities. Another key partner is Israel's Sheba Medical Center, one of the world's top 10 hospitals, which is building a medical simulation center of the future on its campus.

HELIX and the Jack and Cheryl Cancer Center

In December, Nokia Bell Labs (NBL) announced plans to leave its historic headquarters in Murray Hill and relocate to HELIX in New Brunswick within the next five years, a $2 billion life sciences center that aims to become a leader in translational research in New Jersey and across the East Coast. In addition to NBL, HELIX's tenants include Rutgers Robert Wood Johnson Medical School, which is scheduled to begin its first classes at the facility in spring 2026, RWJBarnabas Health, Hackensack Meridian Health, Rutgers University and Princeton University, numerous international organizations, and pharmaceutical giant Johnson & Johnson.

HELIX consists of three towers and 1.6 million square feet of space, including H1 (a 578,000-square-foot building, nearly half of which is advanced lab space), H2 (due for completion in 2028 and will house NBL), and H3 (a 42-storey mixed-use facility with 220 residential units, tentatively scheduled to open in 2030). According to Chris Paladino, president of the New Brunswick Development Corporation (DEVCO), H1 is about 85 per cent filled.

“What I envision at HELIX is an ecosystem of scientists and researchers collaborating across the interplay of disciplines, from quantum computing to medical device development to pharmaceutical research,” Paladino said. “When we look at platforms like this in other parts of the country and the world, we can see how new companies can be founded and jobs can be created.”

About a four-minute walk from HELIX is the Jack and Cheryl Morris Cancer Center, the state's first and only freestanding cancer facility and one of 56 National Cancer Institute-certified comprehensive cancer centers in the nation. Scheduled to open next spring, the $750 million, 510,000-square-foot building will leverage the resources of the Rutgers Cancer Institute of New Jersey and RWJBarnabas Health to integrate research, prevention and clinical care, including advanced diagnostic imaging services, radiation therapy, chemotherapy and surgical procedures. The center also features 10 state-of-the-art laboratories where teams of scientists will develop new treatments with direct clinical application.

For years, it's been common to hear that patients with complex illnesses often have to cross bridges or go through tunnels to get to New York or Pennsylvania, but now the opposite is happening, says Steven Libutti, MD, FACS, director of the Rutgers Cancer Institute of New Jersey, which has 96 private beds that allow patients to seamlessly transition from inpatient to outpatient care and back.


Located in the heart of Kenilworth, the new Northeast Science and Technology Center (NEST) is a 2 million square foot dedicated research and development campus on the former site of Merck's global headquarters. The facility includes 1.4 million square feet of laboratory buildings, 500,000 square feet of specialized office space and 30 redeveloped acres zoned for research, testing and manufacturing facilities.

“We've heard for years that lab and life sciences space is in high demand in New Jersey, judging by the education level of New Jersey's residents and the level of education of the scientists working in the region,” says Matt Flass, senior vice president of asset management for real estate development firm Onyx Equities. “There's a very strong market pool, and our location along the Garden State Parkway and Route 78 gives us a tremendous reach to the employee base.”

Onyx is working to rebrand the campus, making it less Merck-esque, and to increase awareness not only in New Jersey but nationally and internationally. Planned amenities include a cafeteria, helipad, fitness center, conference center and green space, but Frass said prospective tenants are most excited about the lab services and equipment redundancy and backups that come with moving in. Merck plans to fully vacate the campus by early 2025, and Onyx expects tenants to start moving in soon after.

Frass says his first priority is to secure an agreement with a major R1 research university in New Jersey, then attract everyone from startups, incubators and mid-sized companies to Fortune 500 pharmaceutical and tech giants to the space.

On 3

ON3 at Nutley was formerly the site of Hoffmann-La Roche's North American headquarters and has been repurposed as a mixed-use campus, attracting notable companies from a variety of sectors, including Quest Diagnostics, Ralph Lauren Corporation, Hackensack Meridian School of Medicine, Hackensack Meridian Health Discovery and Innovation Center, Modern Meadow, Y-mAbs Therapeutics, Inc. and Seton Hall University Graduate School of Nursing and Health and Medical Sciences. ON3's tenants currently employ more than 5,500 people in the campus's existing 1.45 million square feet of space, and more than 2 million additional square feet of retail, hospitality and residential space are planned, making it the largest redevelopment planned in New Jersey.

“Location and lifestyle are key in establishing this world-class multi-tenant hub,” said Edwin Cohen, principal partner at Prism Capital Partners, ON3's owner and developer. “ON3's strategic design and location along Route 3, just nine miles from Manhattan, gave us the opportunity to create a competitive property that meets the changing demands of New Jersey's community, residents and businesses.”

The site got a major boost in 2022 when pharmaceutical giant Eisai relocated its North American headquarters to ON3, and construction began last year on an 80,000-square-foot outpatient care center for Hackensack Meridian Health.

Virtual Row One Hub

In 2022, Virtua Health and Rowan University announced they would collaborate on a new academic medical center to further establish Southern New Jersey as a regional hub for innovation, research and clinical discovery. The partnership established Rowan University's Virtua Health College of Medicine & Health Sciences, which includes the School of Osteopathic Medicine, the School of Nursing and Health Professions and the School of Biomedical Research.

The initiative is to bring together leading clinicians and scientists to improve health care delivery, medical innovation and education in New Jersey, with the first three institutes focusing on cardiovascular disease, solid organ transplantation and regenerative medicine, and primary care. Rowan University's new biomedical research facility on its West Campus is expected to be completed by next summer, and a recently released report said the collaboration should generate $2.9 billion in economic impact for the region.

Rowan has rapidly evolved from a regional master's degree university to achieving Carnegie Research II. [classification]and hopefully soon to be Study 1 [institution] “As population and businesses spread out from Philadelphia, it will help drive growth in the region,” said Tony Roman, president and senior vice president for academic affairs at Rowan's University.

Princeton AI Hub

In April, 600 leaders in the artificial intelligence (AI) field gathered at Princeton University for the New Jersey AI Summit. The summit explored AI applications in health, finance, sustainable energy and technology, as well as opportunities to advance AI education and workforce development. Speakers included Governor Phil Murphy and Princeton University President Christopher Eisgruber. In December, the two announced a collaboration with the New Jersey Economic Development Authority (NJEDA) to develop a New Jersey AI Hub in Princeton.

Experts say the AI ​​Hub is a perfect fit for Princeton, which is already working with the community, higher education partners and other New Jersey institutions to advance AI innovation. While the future of AI has yet to be determined, New Jerseyans can be its authors, Murphy said at the summit. He hopes the state will be a catalyst that brings together innovators and leaders to usher in a new century full of hope. They'll tackle everything from discovering new medicines and treatments to developing new personalized education tools to help all students reach their full potential.

For more business news, visit NJB News Now.

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