May 25, 2016
3 minute read

State’s Technology Business Tax Certificate Transfer (NOL) Program Helps Roka Bioscience Commercialize Life-Saving Food Safety Tests


Under the leadership of CEO Paul Thomas, Roka Bioscience was one of 41 companies to share $47.4 million through the State’s NOL Program in Fiscal Year 2016. 

TRENTON, N.J. (May 25, 2016) –Funding provided through the State’s Technology Business Tax Certificate Transfer (NOL) Program has helped Roka Bioscience, Inc. develop and commercialize advanced testing solutions — known as “assays” — for the food safety testing market. The NOL program has enabled hundreds of New Jersey technology and biotechnology companies to raise cash to finance their growth and operations in New Jersey.

Roka Bioscience, a molecular diagnostics company located in Warren that currently employs 85 people, was one of 41 companies approved in 2015 to share a total of $47.4 million through the NOL Program. Administered by the New Jersey Economic Development Authority (EDA) and the New Jersey Department of Treasury's Division of Taxation, the NOL Program allows eligible technology and biotechnology companies to sell unused New Jersey net operating losses and research and development (R&D) tax credits to unrelated profitable corporations. The NOL Program offers non-dilutive funding, meaning that entrepreneurs do not have to relinquish a portion of their company in return for capital. Since the program was established in 1999, more than 500 unique businesses have been approved for awards totaling $860 million.

“Long-seen as a lifeline to startups in need of cash, New Jersey’s NOL Program has been widely upheld as a model of support for technology and biotechnology companies as they grow,” EDA Chief Executive Officer Melissa Orsen said. “We encourage companies in the greater technology sector to explore the NOL Program and other State resources as they expand in New Jersey.”

Roka Bioscience, which has participated in the NOL Program for the last several years, is dedicated to developing rapid, highly accurate molecular assays and instrument systems for the Food Safety Industry. The Atlas® System represents a new tier of molecular rapid pathogen testing, offering automation and technology that bring convenience and workflow advantages to the laboratory. The assay kits enable food processors and contract laboratories to detect the presence of pathogenic Salmonella, Listeria, & E. coli in their environment, ingredients, and products. The Atlas System and its Detection assays are designed to provide customers with accurate and rapid results, with reduced labor costs and improved laboratory efficiencies.

The company announced earlier this month that its Extended On Board Stability feature is now available for the Atlas System, noting that this marks a “significant advance in the flexibility, efficiency, and economics of operating the Atlas System and is designed to deliver the benefits of automation and high-quality molecular technology to mid- and lower-volume food testing laboratories.” The company said that this will lead to less hands-on time and faster results.

New Jersey startup companies like Roka Bioscience have just over one month left to apply to sell their net operating losses and unused R&D tax credits for cash through this year’s NOL Program. The deadline to apply for funding is 11:59 p.m. on June 30. A complete list of NOL Program requirements and program details can be found at

@NJEDATech asked Roka Bioscience Founder and CEO Paul Thomas about his company’s experience in New Jersey and its plans for the future:

Why did you choose to grow your company in New Jersey?
New Jersey’s strong history of technology and life sciences has given us access to a deep talent pool, which has helped us build our organization.

How have you benefited from funding provided through the Technology Business Tax Certificate Transfer (NOL) Program?
The NOL Program has provided a valuable non-dilutive source of financing for Roka Bioscience, as we have sought to establish and grow our business in Food Safety. As a new company that is developing molecular test assays and launching them in nationally, the NOL Program has enabled us to invest in our efforts to improve food safety in the U.S.

What other New Jersey resources have you tapped into to further your company’s growth?
While we have not (yet!) tapped into any other financial resources that the State offers, Roka Bioscience has benefited from networking and educational resources provided through BioNJ. Additionally, I was honored to be awarded BioNJ’s Dr. Sol J. Barer Award for Vision, Innovation and Leadership in 2011.
For more information about resources available to support New Jersey’s technology industry, visit and follow @NJEDATech on Twitter and LinkedIn.