This is Life Sciences Week in New Jersey.

(Flickr photo via Eric C Bryan)

During a Life Sciences Conference in Princeton, biotechnology companies came together with representatives of Big Pharma firms, research institutions and service providers to network and compare notes.

"The Life Sciences industry employs over 121,000 people in New Jersey, and it contributes over $58 billion to our economy," says State Labor Commissioner Hal Wirths.

He says his department is helping to connect highly trained Life Sciences employees with companies looking for specific skills.

"We want to make sure we don't lose any jobs, and we actually grow jobs in this industry, bringing the academics, bringing the experts together like BioNJ and bringing the agencies together."

"Our intention is to drive home the fact that New Jersey is the medicine chest of the world," says the President and CEO of BioNJ, Debbie Hart.

She stresses the Life Sciences industry play a crucial role in the stat economy, and save lives around the world.

"I think the most important thing people need to realize is the amount of time and effort and money that it does take to bring a drug to market - over a billion dollars, 10 to 15 years, and lots of hurdles along the way."