Governor Jon Corzine signed groundbreaking legislation to fund construction of a major stem cell research facility at NJIT as well as complementary facilities in New Brunswick, Camden, Allendale, and Belleville. The legislation, which had been previously approved by the New Jersey State Senate and Assembly last week, allocates $50 million for construction of the NJIT facility in Newark.
The bill will advance NJIT leadership in creating the Newark Institute for Regenerative Medicine, dedicated to creating technologies to translate basic research in stem cell science into practical and deliverable therapies for patients. The Institute’s program is designed to take stem cell science and provide the foundations for creating a stem cell industry, integrating efforts across the state, nation, and globe to accelerate the translation of basic research into cures.
These activities are expected to be a be a powerful catalyst for the development of new medical equipment, control systems, information technology, and support industries, resulting in the creation of a new stem cell economy of great benefit to New Jersey’s economy, already strongly linked to the pharmaceutical, medical device, and life sciences industries.
“Taking stem cells from the petri dish to clinical practice requires process technology that doesn’t yet exist. Filling that void creates the opportunity for New Jersey to define the industry and reap the benefit of growth in jobs and the corporate tax base,” said Donald H. Sebastian, senior vice president for research and development at NJIT. The Newark facility will be scaled to support the production needs of early-stage stem cell companies, drawing them and their related suppliers to take up residency in University Heights Science Park, where the new building will be located.
Effort to secure a stem cell research facility in Newark and participate in the State’s plans to be a leader in stem cell research began over a year ago. The facilities bill just signed by the Governor is expected to be complemented by additional State funding to support and conduct basic and applied research, and bills that would provide such funding are currently under consideration.
“This stem cell research facility and proposed research funding for which we may compete will enhance our research effort in the life sciences and in biomedical engineering and pave the way for development of stem cell therapy delivery products and processes here in Newark,” said NJIT President Robert A. Altenkirch.
In addition, Altenkirch acknowledged members of the NJIT community who were instrumental in securing the facilities funding, particularly the efforts of Donald Sebastian and Treena Arinzeh; and he expressed his appreciation for the efforts of the sponsors and co-sponsors of the stem cell bill, especially the leadership of Senate President Richard J. Codey, Senator Paul Sarlo, and Assemblyman Neil M. Cohen.