Medical school wins NJBIA Award for Nutley redevelopment

NUTLEY, NJ — The Hackensack Meridian School of Medicine has won an award for its redevelopment of the former U.S. headquarters of pharmaceutical giant Hoffmann-La Roche into New Jersey’s newest medical school — a hub of learning for the state’s future doctors.

The school won the New Jersey Business and Industry Association’s New Good Neighbor Award in helping to bring about the rebirth of the pharmaceutical giant’s headquarters in the United States from 1929 until 2009.

The new use marks a remarkable turnaround for the site, where medical history was made before Hoffmann-LaRoche ceased operations in 2012, according to an Aug. 4 press release. Now, nearly 250 medical students are working their way toward a degree at the school.

“We are very proud to have opened the Hackensack Meridian School of Medicine, the first private medical school in New Jersey in 60 years — reviving what was once one of New Jersey’s most impressive centers of science,” Hackensack Meridian Health CEO Robert Garrett said. “With the school and its neighbor, the Hackensack Meridian Center for Discovery and Innovation, our health network has made an extraordinary investment and a major advancement in the health of our state and beyond.”

“The adaptive reuse of this building with such an important pharmaceutical history is a great benefit for the state of New Jersey,” New Jersey Business and Industry Association President and CEO Michele Siekerka said. “This state-of-the-art facility brings greater opportunity to send the next generation of doctors, nurses and practitioners into the workforce. We can take great pride in this building facilitating better health care training and, ultimately, better health outcomes for our residents and people all around the world. We’re proud to recognize the Hackensack Meridian School of Medicine with a 2020 NJBIA New Good Neighbor Award.”

The New Good Neighbors Awards honor “outstanding economic development projects in New Jersey.” Judging was based on projects’ economic benefits, job creation, architectural merit and community involvement.

The Hoffmann-LaRoche headquarters was a leading global medical research hub for decades, had a pivotal role in the development of interferon and Valium, and employed 10,000 workers locally at its peak. Hoffmann-LaRoche departed from Nutley in 2012.

Hackensack Meridian Health’s plans for a medical school started to be realized in 2016, and the school admitted its first class of students in 2018. The medical school shares that building with two Seton Hall University colleges: the School of Nursing and the School of Health and Medical Sciences. The Hackensack Meridian Center for Discovery and Innovation is linked via a “skybridge” to another former Hoffmann-LaRoche building.

“This is a great home for our mission and vision for the future of medical education,” said Bonita Stanton, founding dean of the medical school.

“Our planning has remade the Nutley site into a hub that is a major boost not only for our health network, but also for all of northern New Jersey,” Hackensack Meridian Health CFO Robert Glenning said.