BioNJ celebrates NJ innovation, growing pharma industry at annual dinner

Anthony Vecchione//February 7, 2020//

BioNJ celebrates NJ innovation, growing pharma industry at annual dinner

Anthony Vecchione//February 7, 2020//

Listen to this article

With the theme of celebrating innovation and recognizing the dominant role New Jersey plays in drug development, BioNJ celebrated its 2020 Annual Dinner Meeting in East Brunswick on Thursday.

“In 2019 there were 54 novel medicines approved by the FDA and more than 50 percent of them came from companies with a footprint in New Jersey,” said BioNJ President and Chief Executive Officer Debbie Hart.

Debbie Hart, president and CEO, BioNJ

“The state of the pharmaceutical industry in the state is growing, getting stronger and doing really important things,” Hart told NJBIZ.

At the event, BioNJ saluted innovators and patients with its Innovator Awards.

The 2020 BioNJ Innovator Award Honorees:
  • ADMA Biologics for Asceniv
  • Amarin Corp. for Vascepa
  • Allergan for Ubrelvy
  • Amgen for Evenity
  • Bayer Healthcare for Nubeqa
  • BeiGene for Brukinsa
  • Bristol-Myers-Squibb for Inrebic and Reblozyl
  • Daiichi Sankyo for Enhertu and Turalio
  • Eisai for Dayvigo
  • Eli Lilly and Co. for Reyvow
  • Galderman for Aklief
  • Janssen for Balversa and Spravato
  • Jazz Pharmaceutical for Sunosi
  • Kyowa Kirin for Nourianz
  • Merck & Co. for Ervebo and Recarbrio
  • Novartis for Adkveo, Beovu, Egaten, Mayzent, Piqray and Zolgensma
  • Novo Nordisk for Esperoct and Rybelsus
  • Pfizer for Vyndaqel
  • Sanofi for Cablivi and Dengvaxia
  • Shinonogi Inc. for Fetroja
  • SK Life Science Inc. for Xcopri

Mary Frances Harmon and Bob “BT” Tufts received the Heart of BioNJ Awards. Harmon is the senior vice president of corporate relations at PTC Therapeutics Inc. She was recognized for helping to create a unified vision for patient and government relations and implementing programs with patient groups.

Tufts, a patient advocate and industry advisor, received the award posthumously.

Merck & Co. Chairman of the board and CEO Ken Frazier was the recipient of the Dr. Sol Barer Award for Vision, Innovation and Leadership.

Kenneth Frazier, chairman and CEO, Merck.

“I am here tonight because of the group that makes Merck successful, our scientists and drug developers. I am in awe of them and all they do for the patients we serve. It is because of their great work that I am able to accept this award … These words embody the value that we bring to our patients and society,” said Frazier.

Senate President Steve Sweeney, D-3rd District, told attendees that New Jersey prides itself on being the medicine chest of the world.

“A few years ago we made an investment in higher education for this industry. We wanted to recreate and restructure our education system at Rutgers University with the medical school, with research we gave Rowan university research designation, Montclair University research designation, we want to work with this industry to grow this industry. We want to demonstrate to this industry that New Jersey is the best place to be. We have the most scientists and professors in the state than anywhere else in the country,” said Sweeney.

Keynote speaker Sean Swarner, a two-time cancer survivor and a patient advocate, highlighted his mission of bringing hope to cancer patients.