Biotech firm plans move to former Roche site in Nutley

This article was originally posted on NorthJersey.com.

Modern Meadow is relocating its headquarters from Brooklyn to Nutley, the bio-fabrication firm announced Monday. 

Modern Meadow was quickly outgrowing its BioBat location in Sunset Park, a company release stated.

By offering Grow NJ tax credits up to $32 million, the New Jersey Economic Development Authority helped sway Modern Meadow to bring a laboratory and pilot manufacturing site to ON3, the former Hoffmann-La Roche campus, according to the company. It will join Seton Hall University and Hackensack Meridian Health's planned medical school, and potentially other life science firms, on the property. 

"On the behalf of the Board of Commissioners, we're pleased to welcome Modern Meadow to Nutley," the township's mayor, Joseph Scarpelli, told The Record. "Not only does it fill a vacant building, but the cutting-edge company plans to expand and offer employment opportunities to our residents."

"Coupled with the medical school, this is great start to rebranding the former Roche campus," the mayor noted.

As previously reported by NorthJersey.com, Modern Meadow, founded in 2011, uses design, biology and engineering for sustainable manufacturing. For example, it currently bio-fabricates leather materials using "blocks of nature," such as collagen protein.

The material made from living cells improves strength and weight ratio, compared to traditional leather made from animal skin, the firm claims.

“We are excited to be part of the growing New Jersey biotech community," Modern Meadow CEO Andras Forgacs said in a statement. "With this move, Modern Meadow is committed to expanding its biofabrication platform and continuing to build next-generation materials for the consumers of the future."

"We are thrilled to be in close proximity to a scientific talent pool and look forward to growing with Nutley,” he added.

“We are thrilled to welcome Modern Meadow to the ON3 campus and look forward to expanding this site with more innovators across tech, entrepreneurship, medical education and retail,” Gene Diaz, a principal partner with ON3 owner Prism Capital Partners, stated in the release. Prism Capital is based in Bloomfield.

With $53.5 million total funding to date, and 72,900 square feet to expand, Modern Meadow is hiring and intends to add 200 employees by 2020, according to the firm.

In addition to the New Jersey EDA, the company noted real estate brokers Cushman & Wakefield and real estate attorneys at Windels Marx, which helped make the case for expansion into New Jersey.

Modern Meadow, however, states it will retain a connection to the design and innovation ecosystem of New York. Continuing its affiliation with START-UP NY, the company is "growing a design and applied research studio in Brooklyn, as part of the advanced manufacturing community at New Lab in the Navy Yard.”

Prism Capital Partners of Bloomfield bought the 116-acre former Roche campus in October 2016. Seton Hall University and Hackensack Meridian Health are planning a medical school for the site, and Prism is marketing the property as ON3, incorporating living, working and playing at the Route 3 site.

The “mini-metropolis in the suburbs” could create a synergy among like-minded life science businesses, Prism Principal Eugene Diaz recently told The Record.

According to the EDA proposal, Modern Meadow intends to complete its New Jersey development by the end of 2019. 

Meryl Natow