By Joshua Burd
State officials have approved tax credits meant to help three pharmaceutical firms grow the industry’s footprint in New Jersey, while also dangling a nearly $40 million incentive to keep a global life sciences giant from pulling its U.S. headquarters out of the state.
At its monthly board meeting, the Economic Development Authority approved incentive packages for Eywa Pharma Inc., Geri-Care Pharmaceuticals Corp. and Aptapharma Inc., which are eying relocations to or expansions in Cranbury, Lakewood and Pennsauken, respectively. The tax credits total $18.4 million over 10 years and are tied to the creation of nearly 200 new jobs and private investment totaling some $20.7 million.
The EDA on Tuesday also approved an incentive for the U.S. subsidiary of Sanofi S.A., one of the state’s longtime and well-known pharmaceutical occupiers. The French company was awarded $39.9 million in tax credits over 10 years as part of a plan to streamline its footprint at its U.S. headquarters in Bridgewater.
Sanofi told state officials it was aiming to reduce occupancy costs and modernize its offices at 55 Corporate Drive, where it occupies four buildings totaling nearly 880,000 square feet. The company is now exploring a plan to vacate one of the buildings and reduce its leased space to 674,325 square feet, which would entail a capital investment of nearly $40 million to renovate the three remaining buildings to accommodate increased densities.
Alternatively, Sanofi has identified a parcel in Framingham, Massachusetts adjacent to an existing operation, where it would construct a new 450,000-square-foot building. In the event that Sanofi does not consolidate in New Jersey, it told the EDA it would move all of the 2,099 existing employees at the Bridgewater facility out of the state.
The decision for the Big Pharma company comes five years after it vacated its 1.2 million-square-foot R&D complex, also in Bridgewater. Advance Realty and CrossHarbor Capital Partners LLC has since acquired the complex and repopulated much of it with other life sciences and biotech firms, with plans to begin a mixed-use development that will usher in a complete repositioning of the site.
The authority approved the incentive under the Grow New Jersey program, the state’s main job creation and retention program administered under the Economic Opportunity Act. The same program is also the source of tax credits for the three other pharmaceutical firms that were offered awards on Tuesday.
The largest among them, Geri-Care Pharmaceuticals, was offered an $11.7 million incentive over 10 years in connection with a potential a relocation from Brooklyn to Ocean County. The EDA said the company, a manufacturer and distributor of liquid and solid-dose over the counter generics and supplements, would lease 50,000 square feet of an existing facility at 1295 Towbin Ave. in Lakewood.
Geri-Care expects to create more than 130 new jobs and invest more than $1.3 million in the expansion of its manufacturing capacity if New Jersey is chosen over a competing location in Gulfport, Mississippi, the EDA said.
“Manufacturers choose to locate in New Jersey for its convenient location and highly skilled labor pool, and the state is home to 13 out of 20 of the world’s largest pharmaceutical companies,” said Melissa Orsen, the EDA’s chief executive. “This ecosystem is a natural fit for these hybrid companies whose sweet spot falls where the two sectors meet.”
Eywa Pharma, a subsidiary of a Singapore-based generic pharmaceutical company founded in 2015, was offered a $2.21 million award to establish its first U.S. operation. The EDA said the company, which is deciding between New Jersey and Wayne, Pennsylvania, would create 34 new jobs and invest more than $14.5 million at an existing 52,626-square-foot facility at 1 Duncan Drive in Cranbury.
In Camden County, Aptapharma is considering expanding and upgrading its existing facility in Pennsauken, rather than relocating its manufacturing facility to Bensalem, Pennsylvania, according to the EDA. The company, which offers oral drug delivery technologies and provides product development services for the pharmaceutical industry, would invest some $4.9 million in the expansion of its current facility at 1533 Union Ave., growing from 29,000 square feet to 43,000 square feet.
The EDA approved a 10-year, $4.52 million tax credit for the firm. Aptapharma’s increased capacity would involve the creation of 35 new positions, while retaining 40 jobs at risk of leaving the state.