Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

Rutgers Revamp Could Save Some Roche Jobs

Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

Rutgers Revamp Could Save Some Roche Jobs

Article excerpt

Could Rutgers University's medical higher-education shake-up help keep Roche in New Jersey?

The timing of a state push to integrate medical higher-education facilities at three state schools has coincided with pharmaceutical giant Roche's announced closure of its Nutley plant, costing 1,000 jobs.

But Roche also says it is planning a new 200-staff clinical research center, and state officials are aggressively lobbying the company to put it within reach of a newly expanded Rutgers.

"It was one of the pitches we made," Lt. Gov. Kim Guadagno said in an interview on Thursday. "We are in there, fighting for those jobs."

Competing with New York

In a sign that the university, now bolstered in New Brunswick by the addition of the Robert Wood Johnson teaching hospital, could attract life-science businesses away from tech-incubator hubs in neighboring states, Guadagno said Roche executives met last month with Rutgers representatives to hear that pitch.

"I personally have been involved, and Rutgers has personally been involved," said Guadagno, who leads economic development efforts for the Christie administration. "There isn't a day that goes by that I don't get a report on what's going on."

Roche, which leaves Nutley next year, is seeking a campus to conduct early clinical trials. It is considering four sites, according to a spokeswoman, Darien Wilson.

"Two are in New York, two are in New Jersey," Wilson said. She refused to confirm or deny that Rutgers in New Brunswick was on the short list.

"We want to be in a really solid environment where there's a lot of innovation, a critical mass of scientific talent, academia, biotech. We really want to be infused and in the midst of atmospheres like that," Wilson added.

She said a decision is likely this month.

Other sources familiar with discussions said Roche was also looking at the future medical/tech campus planned for New York City's Roosevelt Island. …

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