New Jersey bets big on biopharma and healthcare in economic incentives

54 companies share in a $60-million tax credit fund for FY2014

Just under 60% of the 54 companies that are participating in the Technology Business Tax Certificate Transfer fund are either in biotech or healthcare, including such up-and-coming companies as Amicus Therapeutics, Eagle Pharmaceuticals, Cornerstone Pharmaceuticals and Savient Pharmaceuticals. Each approved applicant will receive the equivalent of $1.1 million in tax credit, up 21% from the previous year. The state’s Economic Development Authority (EDA) says that a total of $770 million has been granted since it began in 1999.

The competitive "NOL" (net operating loss) program is geared toward technology companies with fewer than 225 employees (and other criteria) and enables them to sell New Jersey tax losses or R&D tax credits for at least 80% of their value, as a means of generating cash to finance growth and operations."The NOL program continues to be the most popular and most effective support for these early-stage comnpanies," says Michele Brown, EDA CEO.

The NOL program is one of several initiatives the state has undertaken, having passed a Economic Opportunity Act in September that consolidated several loan, incentive and job-credits programs. It is administered by the state’s Treasury and the New Jersey EDA; the EDA in turn is part of the state Partnership for Action, which includes Choose New Jersey, a privately funded non-profit, and the Business Action Center, a government office within its Dept. of State.