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Murphy announces weeklong September trade mission to India

Gov. Phil Murphy on Monday announced a seven-day trade mission to India in September, aimed at strengthening ties with the state’s second-largest foreign direct investor.

Murphy will visit six cities as part of the trip, including Delhi, Agra, Hyderabad, Mumbai, Ahmedabad and Gandhinagar. The visit will make him the first governor of New Jersey to visit India on official business, the Governor’s Office said.

The focus of the economic mission is to strengthen business ties with India, cultivate international investment opportunities here and deepen cultural and economic ties between the state and nation. Murphy noted in his remarks that New Jersey has the nation’s fourth-largest Indian community, at an estimated 420,000-plus residents — a number that also makes the Indian community the state’s largest ethnic minority group.

“As India’s role as one of our key partners continues to expand, we want to make sure we maximize the potential of our economic relationship,” Murphy said at the event. “I am excited to make the case for New Jersey as a leading investment choice for Indian companies, creating lasting partnerships and good jobs for our residents. We are proud to be home of one of America’s most deeply-rooted Indian American communities, and growing our economic partnership will only strengthen those ties.”

The news of the trip was first reported in April by ROI-NJ, when state Economic Development Authority CEO Tim Sullivan described plans during an Indian Business Association event.

Plans for the trip include meeting with key government and industry leaders, as well as visits to companies and official announcements.

The trade delegation will include Murphy, first lady Tammy Murphy, Choose New Jersey CEO and President Jose Lozano, Sullivan and other officials.

“We are thrilled to be part of Gov. Murphy’s economic mission to India in September,” Lozano said. “New Jersey is a leader in the life sciences, medical technology, clean energy and manufacturing, and we are the best place for international companies to do business. We look forward to strengthening our close cultural and economic ties with our partners in India during this trip, and attracting more businesses to invest in the Garden State.”

Added Sullivan: “In our increasingly interconnected world, driving international trade and investment is critical to making New Jersey a global competitor and building a foundation for long-term, sustainable economic growth. As the country with the third-largest (gross domestic product) in terms of purchasing power, India is already a formidable player in the international economy, and the country’s influence is only continuing to grow. Gov. Murphy’s trip is an important step forward that will pave the way for new business partnerships between New Jersey and India and bring more investment and jobs to the Garden State.”

Murphy announced the trip at an event presented by the Asian Indian Chamber of Commerce held at the Spice Culture restaurant in South Plainfield.

Officials from the Somerset-based chamber — celebrating its 25th anniversary this year — presented Murphy with a “good luck shawl” and plaque at the start of the remarks.

“We are so honored that Gov. Phil Murphy has chosen the Asian Indian Chamber of Commerce to announce his trade mission to India in September of this year,” chamber President Priti Pandya-Patel said in her introduction. “As a community leader, business owner and longtime resident of New Jersey, it is so remarkable that this administration has made extra effort to embrace the value of our Asian Indian Americans for their contributions in New Jersey as well as recognizing the strengths of the companies based in India. On behalf of the board of directors and members of the Asian Indian Chamber of Commerce, we would like to wish Gov. Murphy and his team a safe and successful journey to India.”

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JLL inks sale of 373K sq. ft. office building in Paramus

JLL announced Monday it has closed on the sale of a 373,420-square-foot office building in Paramus.

JLL marketed 650 From Road on behalf of the seller, Mack-Cali Realty Corp. A joint venture between Onyx Equities and Garrison Investment Group purchased the asset.

The five-story property, situated on a 20-acre site, offers tenants a cafeteria, on-site daycare and an atrium lobby. It is located within close access to the Garden State Parkway, routes 17 and 4, and Interstate 80. It is also adjacent to the future development of the 365-bed, 910,000-square-foot Valley Hospital.

The sale also included a one-story, free-standing, 10,000-square-foot building recently leased to a medical tenant.

The JLL Capital Markets team representing the seller included Jose Cruz, Kevin O’Hearn and Andrew Scandalios, senior managing directors; Stephen Simonelli and Michael Oliver, senior directors; and Mark Mahasky, director.

“We are excited to complete the transaction on behalf of Mack-Cali” Cruz said.  “The property location, accessibility and tenant base made this a desirable asset for the investment community.”

Financial terms were not disclosed.

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Craft brewers: Developing right infrastructure to grow

Nearly a decade since craft beer first hit mainstream popularity, the industry continues to grow at steady rates. The national craft beer market now tops $26 billion and key players continue to seek new ways to scale their business to meet this increasing consumer demand.

Craft beer popularity has grown in part due to its availability in a wide range of venues — from pop-up beer gardens to fine dining restaurants. Locally, New Jersey is home to over 100 breweries, and according to a study by the research company C + R, New Jersey has seen a 43% growth in the craft beer industry since 2015.

Many breweries across the state are expanding to meet the demand. In 2012, the state allowed breweries to starting selling beer on-site, but some restaurant and bars claimed it hurt their businesses. Recently, New Jersey’s Division of Alcohol Beverage Control announced new regulations for breweries with a craft brewery license; no breweries can sell food, they are required to give guests a tour, and breweries can only host 52 private events per year and 25 public advertised events.

For local brewers seeking to improve production and distribution, and use the new legislation to their advantage, here are some best practices on expanding your craft beer network.

Local, regional and national brewers

Craft beer companies typically fit into three categories based on size: the small, local brewpub; the regional brewer; and the national production brewery. Each has unique needs when it comes to production and distribution.

The local brewpub typically sells most of its beer on premise or at the brewer’s restaurant. This reduces the need for distribution and allows the brewpub to recognize profits quickly. A regional brewer, on the other hand, typically requires more equipment, such as tanks, as well as a larger amount of real estate to produce and store inventory. A regional brewer, on the other hand, might be selling out of a tasting room from one or multiple breweries, but most of their revenue and growth comes through selling its brews into other retail accounts, both on- and off-premise. Between 2016 and 2017, regional craft breweries grew by 5%, to reach 70.6% of overall craft beer industry production volume. At a much larger scale, a national production brewery may have several operations and requires a more sophisticated and robust distribution system.

To grow or not to grow

In today’s market, expansion is a matter of choice rather than survival. Each category of brewery has its advantages and drawbacks, and each has the ability to be profitable. It’s important for investors and owners of breweries to align on objectives when it comes to growth targets and appetite for expansion. Once brewers and investors agree on business objectives, they can set priorities for investment and determine the amount of capital they’ll need to build their infrastructure. If a brewer aims to slowly expand a brewpub, for example, he may not need to purchase a new warehouse to store beer right away; instead, he can gradually scale up distribution. As part of this evaluation process, brewers will also want to consider operational needs to maintain equipment, including maintenance and upgrades.

Assessing where (and how) to expand

Brewers also need to evaluate where to expand. Craft-centric regions, including Philadelphia, San Diego, Colorado and the Pacific Northwest, as well as the newer craft hubs of Austin, Texas, Atlanta, Chicago and Asheville, North Carolina, have turned into highly sought-after destinations for craft beer tourism. This equates to a high demand for craft beer in these areas, but it doesn’t come without fierce competition from brewers seeking to reach the same customer base.

A key partnership for craft brewers are beer wholesalers, who support, sell and distribute their product. As the craft beer industry has continued to grow over the last decade, wholesalers have adjusted their business models from supporting a few key suppliers (such as Anheuser-Busch InBev or MillerCoors) to now having more than 30 breweries to support, sell and distribute. Wholesalers have also increased the training and size of staff, often deploying craft-only sales teams. Today, brewers have the opportunity to work with large distributors as well as craft-only distributors. Craft beer’s continued growth will be in part due to the commitment and support of these innovative beer wholesalers.

What works best for your craft beer?

Ultimately, the value for a particular brewer is case dependent. Key factors to consider include quantitative elements (growth rate and profitability), intangible factors (brand awareness), competition (assessing if similar products are in the market) and, finally, succession planning based on the end goal (for example, an initial public offering or selling to a larger brewer).

Brewers must assess if the distribution strategies implemented would support their growth and closely align their financial strategies with their long-term goals. The craft beer industry has already climbed to nearly one-quarter of the U.S. beer market, and continues to become more competitive for the next generation of entrepreneurial brewers. Though craft brewers face fierce competition and a unique set of industry challenges, their ability to secure capital and the future of the craft brewing industry has never been better.

Cathleen Callahan is a senior vice president and market executive for Bank of America.

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Life Time Bridgewater ready for grand opening (SLIDESHOW)

Life Time is opening its new Bridgewater health and wellness club Monday, it announced this week, capping a $50 million-plus project that has created 400 jobs in Somerset County.

The property, the company’s sixth athletic resort in New Jersey, had a ribbon-cutting Thursday and is opening to “founding members” over the weekend before its official opening slated for Monday.

General Manager Ashley Sikora speaks at the ribbon-cutting event.

The 130,000-square-foot property features a 40,000-square-foot outdoor pool area, plus dedicated fitness studios, more than 400 pieces of exercise equipment, space for athletic performance and recovery, two full-size basketball courts, an aquatic center, “Kids Academy,” café, spa and more.

“We are excited to provide Somerset County with our first Life Time location and showcase this unique health and wellness resort experience to our new members and the Bridgewater area,” General Manager Ashley Sikora said in a prepared statement. “Life Time is passionate about inspiring others to live well-rounded, happy, health lives, and with our diverse offerings for our littlest members to most seasoned adults, we can’t wait to see the impact we’ll have on creating a healthier community.”

The facility has more than 400 full-time, part-time and season employees, the most of any club at opening, the company said.

Life Time’s other New Jersey facilities are in Bergen County, Berkeley Heights, Florham Park, Mount Laurel and Princeton.

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Atlantic Health, Kindred Healthcare: New hospital in Madison nears completion

A joint venture between Atlantic Health System and Kindred Healthcare announced on Tuesday the completion of Atlantic Rehabilitation Institute, a new, inpatient rehabilitation hospital located in Madison.

The $24 million, two-story, 38-bed hospital is the first standalone hospital to be built from the ground-up by Atlantic Health, it said. The hospital is expected to begin accepting patients “in a few weeks” following regulatory approvals, the joint venture said.

The joint venture said the hospital will be located off Route 124 on a 40-acre parcel of Giralda Farms land owned by Atlantic Health. The 46,000-square-foot area will be developed into a campus for health services, they said.

“Joining forces with a nationally recognized leader allows us to expand access to extraordinary rehabilitation services in our communities” said Amy Perry, senior vice president, Integrated Care Delivery, and CEO of Atlantic Health System’s hospital division. “We are proud to partner with Kindred to provide top-caliber patient care in the exceptional healing environment that has been created at Giralda Farms.”

The hospital will have a number of additions and amenities, including a therapeutic courtyard; bionic, assisted moving systems for patients; a gym with ceiling lifts and new equipment; a simulated home space; an ADL Suite; bariatric rooms; a brain injury unit with dedicated gym; private rooms; meeting spaces for families; a putting green; basketball court; and more.

“We are pleased to work with the premier healthcare provider in New Jersey as we address the growing need for inpatient rehabilitation services in the New Jersey and New York area,” Russ Bailey, chief operating officer of Kindred Hospital Rehabilitation Services-IRF, said. “Atlantic Health System has been a great partner and we look forward to continuing to work with them on this high-quality rehabilitation hospital that will greatly benefit the community.”

“This new hospital gives our team all the tools they need to care better for our patients, and gives patients the setting they need to prepare them to return to their lives,” Joseph Rempson, medical director for the new hospital, said.

The groundbreaking for the facility was held on May 22.

“Mayor Conley and the Madison Borough Council are looking forward to the opening of the new Atlantic Health Rehabilitation Institute,” Carmela Vitale, Madison Borough councilwoman, said. “This state of the art facility will be a tremendous asset to Madison and the greater area community, serving those in need of rehabilitative care.”

The building was designed by Earl Swensson Associates and constructed by Holt Construction.

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N.J. ranks among Top 10 worst states to retire

New Jersey has been ranked the 9th-worst state to retire, according to a Bankrate.com report.

Bankrate.com determined the rankings by examining 11 public and private datasets related to the life of someone who is retired, broken down into five categories: affordability (40%), wellness (25%), weather (15%), culture (15%) and crime (5%).

New Jersey, which was ranked No. 42 overall,  fared well in crime (No. 5), but was ranked No. 48 in affordability, the study’s most important metric. The Garden State wound up in middle of the pack in the rest of the categories — No. 16 in culture, No. 22 in weather and No. 23 in wellness.

“There are many factors to consider when deciding where to retire,” Adrian Garcia, data analyst for Bankrate.com, said. “Some people may choose to stay close to family, while others prefer to seek out warm weather or affordable living. It comes down to very personal preferences, so it’s important to weigh all factors and determine what is most important for your happiness.”

The Top 5 states to retire, according to Bankrate.com, include:

  1. Nebraska;
  2. Iowa;
  3. Missouri;
  4. South Dakota;
  5. Florida.

The Top 5 worst states to retire include:

  1. Maryland;
  2. New York;
  3. Alaska;
  4. Illinois;
  5. Washington.

To see the full rankings and methodology, click here.

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Time warp: When a company works around the globe, like Certara, the clock is always ticking

The clock tells her it’s the workday’s end, but Ellen Leinfuss knows better.

That’s because, as she commutes home from her company’s Princeton base in the evening, Australia is just hitting its stride.

Leinfuss is chief corporate affairs officer at Certara, which is a leader in an industry that calls for this sort of global timekeeping: pharmaceutical drug development.

And it’s becoming more and more necessary to keep a watch on what’s going on as far off as Australia as each day passes.

The United States, and the so-called Medicine Chest the company is based in, may still headline drug development efforts, but it’s not the only story today.

A provider of solutions that assist drug development from discovery through clinical stages, Certara has spread its services and products to about 1,700 companies, academic institutions and regulatory agencies in 60 different countries.

About 60% of its work is in the U.S., 30% lies in Europe and 10 percent (and quickly rising) is in Asia-Pacific.

“The U.S. is the largest market,” she said. “The second-largest would be (Europe), if you combined all of Europe into one. And then the third, in terms of developed markets, is actually Japan. China is also starting to come on strong. So, our business follows that same cycle.”

We like to recruit the top talent to our organization regardless of where they’re located. That’s how we’ve grown globally and how we’ll continue to.” — Ellen Leinfuss

There’s a head-spinning amount of agencies (and acronyms) that make the rules and decide whether new drugs pass muster. The three big ones are the U.S. FDA (Food & Drug Administration), the EMA (the European Medicines Agency) and the PMDA (Japan’s Pharmaceuticals and Medical Devices Agency).

“They all learn from each other,” Leinfuss said. “Even if the FDA sets the standard, the rest aren’t required to follow. They collaborate.”

What these agencies all have in common, she added, is that they’ve all embraced the benefits of model-informed drug development. Simply put, this is the application of a wide range of models in drug development that lead the decision?making process and ultimately secure one of these agency’s approvals of a new medicine.

Leinfuss explained that, in the past five years, model-informed drug development “has migrated from more of an academic nicety to a regulatory necessity.” Now, almost every approved drug has leveraged it in some way, she added.

Certara offers guidance on this process, as well as related software for those with drug candidates. More than 90% of FDA-approved novel drugs over the past four years were supported by the company in some way.

Besides consultative services, Certara has distributes a line of software products to emerging markets for drug development such as Korea, Israel and Australia, which Leinfuss said have built sophisticated local pharmaceutical industries.

The company has a pool of about 850 employees, but they’re scattered throughout at least 15 countries due to the industry’s global proliferation. Many of those employees communicate with teams based in other countries remotely.

So that means they, like Leinfuss, often know what time it is on the other side of the world.

“We like to recruit the top talent to our organization regardless of where they’re located,” she said. “That’s how we’ve grown globally and how we’ll continue to.”

Conversation Starter

Reach Certara at: certara.com or 609-716-7900.

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N.J.’s new medical marijuana applications enhance market for patients, providers

File photo

John D. Fanburg of Brach Eichler.

The most recent request for proposals by the New Jersey Department of Health‘s Division of Medicinal Marijuana portends not only an enhanced marketplace for both patients and providers, it exhibits the sophistication of Gov. Phil Murphy’s administration fulfilling its mission of creating a mature marijuana market in New Jersey.

The 25 new licenses are also the best opportunity yet for New Jersey entrepreneurs to gain an equal footing with their out-of-state peers in creating successful business plans under the program. The Murphy administration also left itself in a position to control the quality of participants in the program by offering only 25 new licenses, as opposed to the previously discussed 108. If there is a great depth of demand from patients and a population of qualified prospective providers, the administration can always continue to expand the market.

It’s good for business

The last round, which attracted nearly 150 applications for six licenses, definitively eliminated companies without substantial prior experience, which left New Jersey-based applicants out of the running. Now that the largest companies already received licenses, the more than 144 unsuccessful applications from the last round have a head start on this cycle of licensure.

The existing 12 licensed entities required vertically integrated businesses, which disadvantaged local or smaller companies that frequently formed collaborative entities out of necessity to fulfill all the application requirements in previous rounds. This new application process offers 21 opportunities for entrepreneurs to apply for a specialized license, allowing the previous 144 unsuccessful applicants, and many more who were discouraged by the expansiveness of the previous cycle, to apply based on their expertise.

It’s good for consumers

The state will continue to select locations based on serving population centers. With 31 providers (19 new providers in addition to the current 12) throughout the state, anyone with a prescription should be within a half-hour drive, and many people within 10 minutes, increasing access to the estimated 300,000 New Jersey residents who need medical marijuana for chronic issues.

Dispensaries, like coffee shops, have innovative retail concepts and product differentiation. Under the expansion, the marketplace will bloom beyond the cigarette or pipe, which are often less popular options to edibles, vape, edible oils and THC pill form.

More suppliers will lead to more specific strains and better treatment options, as well as, presumably, more advantageous pricing.

How many applications for +/- 40 municipalities?

We expect that the New Jersey Department of Health’s request for applications for the next 25 licenses, due Aug. 22, will generate hundreds of applications.

The complexity is that each of those applicants will need a commitment from a municipality to welcome medical marijuana enterprises, and that is a shrinking rather than an expanding number. Many towns declined to participate in the last round — and opposition to any cannabis at all was solidified as a result of the politicking of the Adult Use (Recreational) Cannabis bills during this spring.

As a result of the six applicants chosen in the last round, the field is that much narrower. Look for only 25 or so municipalities to put out the welcome mat, and, while some will provide blanket endorsements, many of these will have a filtering process before endorsing specific applicants be cited in a dozen or more applications.

John D. Fanburg is managing member; chair, healthcare law; and co-chair, cannabis law, for Brach Eichler.

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Working together to deliver on promise more than 30 years in the making

Courtesy photo

Camden County Freeholder Jeff Nash.

On a summer day in 1992, I found myself among a large crowd inside the iconic RCA Building in Camden city where the world’s first recordings were set to vinyl. Then-presidential candidate Bill Clinton arrived at an otherwise desolate Camden waterfront for his first stop following his nomination at the Democratic National Convention in New York City. The future president spoke to jubilant supporters about his bold plans for urban renewal and the bright future envisioned for the city he visited that day.

In the almost three decades which followed, there have been many similar promises to rebuild one of the poorest and most dangerous cities in the United States. Most plans were well-intentioned, all very expensive, but, despite all these efforts, Camden remained impoverished with limited opportunities for its residents.

Shortly after the Clinton visit, then-Gov. Jim Florio announced the “Camden Initiative,” only to see the plan abandoned by the incoming administration of Gov. Christie Whitman. Moving forward, it was replaced by a plan to develop the waterfront and clean Admiral Wilson Boulevard, but which essentially ignored the city’s neighborhoods. Gov. Jim McGreevey attempted to correct course by investing $175 million into those neighborhoods, but the investment was spread too thin, given the enormous need. Then the Great Recession handcuffed any economic opportunities explored by the following Gov. Jon Corzine administration.

Ironically, it was a Republican, Gov. Chris Christie, who, with a Democratic Legislature headed by Senate President Steve Sweeney and then-state Sen. Donald Norcross, lifted Camden’s trajectory for the first time in decades. Christie observed that, over the course of his first term, state aid to Camden increased approximately 40% to $350 million annually. He lamented about tax dollars being used to maintain the unacceptable status quo — the most dangerous, poorest city in the nation. He recognized that, either something dramatic was to be done to reverse the trend, or the annual cost to taxpayers would soon reach an astronomical $500 million a year.

Thus, the Economic Opportunity Act of 2013 was born, extending enticing tax incentives to companies willing to invest millions of dollars and certify full-time employment in Camden and four other distressed cities in the state. Specifically, the plan was designed to create new jobs, which, in turn, would generate new state revenue to offset state aid and tax credits.

Around the same time, the Urban Hope Act created new educational opportunities for students, and the city police department was replaced by a larger county-run Metro force.

The revitalization legislation exceeded expectations. Objective observers have hailed the city’s revival as a model for the transformation of a midsize urban center in the United States. The result: a $2 billion private sector business investment; thousands of new job opportunities; training for residents to fill jobs; demolition of dangerous buildings; revitalization of a dilapidated parks system; new market-rate housing; infrastructure repairs; higher educational achievements; and significantly lower crime.

The challenge for Camden today is to sustain that positive momentum in a volatile political environment fueled by Trenton turmoil. However, 30 years of failed efforts should remind us that we finally found a revitalization formula that works. Our focus must not be shifted by misguided politics, but rather remain on job training, education and safety for Camden’s residents and all of South Jersey.

If I had closed my eyes at the RCA Building that summer day in 1992, and reopened them today, I would see a thriving waterfront and improved neighborhoods. I would have to conclude that Clinton’s optimistic vision of Camden’s future came to fruition.

What I see for our future is the next president visiting some impoverished community elsewhere in America and envisioning that it could one day be a city transformed like Camden.

Jeff Nash has served as a Camden County freeholder for 27 years, first elected in 1991. He is also vice chairman of the Delaware River Port Authority, having served under five governors in that appointed position. He is an attorney who moved his law office to Camden city.

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Choose N.J. details Irish business mission trip

Choose New Jersey announced its lineup and itinerary for a business attraction mission to Ireland that is taking place next week.

The group representing New Jersey will consist of 18 individuals, including business leaders from around the state, plus officials from Choose and the state Economic Development Authority.

Stops on the schedule include Dublin, Cork and Galway between July 8 and 10.

The trip includes meetings largely with medical and health companies and institutions, as well as technology and educational groups.

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