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Johnson & Johnson to Open Health Tech Center in Rhode Island

Healthcare Giant is Recruiting High-Skilled Information Technology Workers
J&J headquarters
Johnson & Johnson's Worldwide headquarters will remain in the Hub City, but the company continues to branch out. Dave Schatz

PROVIDENCE, RI–Hub City-based Johnson & Johnson plans to hire as many as 75 people for a new health technology center in Providence, Rhode Island.

The pharma giant plans to launch its new analytics and health center by the spring of this year, and will be able to take advantage of a deal providing temporary space at no cost to the company while the building in question is remodeled.

Dozens of high-skilled information technology workers will develop software and analyze datasets, among other tasks, at the new office.

And the healthcare giant hopes this work will benefit patients and improve many individual case outcomes, too.

It's "part of a deal" with the state that could save the healthcare giant some "$5 million in tax credits," according to WPRI Eyewitness News reporter Steph Machado.

As we reported in November, J&J is also planning to open a new "global services center" in Tampa, Florida. 

The healthcare company has been based in New Brunswick since it was founded more than 125 years ago, and it famously built a massive worldwide headquarters in the city's downtown area during the early 1980's.

Company executives joined Rhode Island Governor Gina Raimondo, as well as university presidents, and nonprofit leaders for the announcement that the pharma giant, enticed by new tax incentives in the Ocean state, will make its mark there.

Rhode Island is also spending about $1 million to modernize the building for J&J's new center, according to WPRI.

But J&J will set up shop temporarily at One Ship Street, I-195 land -- rent free.

"Secretary [of Commerce, Rhode Island] Stefan Pryor, says at first J&J will not be paying rent, that's part of the deal they made with the state," said Machado.

"It's a big deal," Raimondo told WPRI in an interview, boasting of her state's strength.

J&J is a "big, brand-name company that quite literally could have chosen anywhere they wanted -- everyone would want Johnson & Johnson to put a center of excellence in their hometown, and they picked [Rhode Island]," she told WPRI.

Providence is the capital of Rhode Island, the country's smallest state, and it is also home to Brown University, an Ivy League institution.

Steve Wrenn, a J&J global Vice President who previously worked for CVS, told the TV station: "I can't say enough about what we call a knowledge society today, and so if you think about access to the Brown's and the Princeton's... That's always number one -- if you don't have the people to draw from to get the creativity you can't be creative."

Wrenn also noted that J&J was enticed "by the new tax incentives created in recent years," in Rhode Island, according to the report.

Aside from offering handy economic development tools, J&J points to the states university resources as a competitive wedge in the rapidly evolving digital health space.

Health technology, also known as "digital health," uses various modes of technology to improve general care and service.