Republican Drug CEO to Vie for Menendez's N.J. Senate Seat

(Bloomberg) -- Bob Hugin, the former chief executive and chairman of drug giant Celgene Corp., plans to announce his run for Senate Tuesday in the company’s home state of New Jersey.

Republican Drug CEO to Vie for Menendez's N.J. Senate Seat

Hugin will run as a Republican and seeks to challenge Democrat Robert Menendez. Menendez is seeking a third term months after federal prosecutors dropped a bribery case against him.

Hugin will announce his candidacy during events in Springfield and Delran, according to an advisory sent to reporters. To challenge Menendez, he’ll first have to win the state’s Republican primary scheduled for June 5.

The race could set up a complex dynamic between the Republican hopeful and President Donald Trump’s administration, which has been a frequent critic of the high cost of prescription drugs.

Celgene has frequently raised the prices of some of its best-selling drugs, and embraced some of the aggressive legal and regulatory tactics that health officials in the Trump administration have tried to combat.

Drugmakers are major employers in New Jersey. The biopharmaceutical and life sciences industry employed 117,260 people in the state in 2016, according to a report by the state’s Department of Labor and Workforce Development.

Hugin would be entering a contest in a Democratic-leaning state in a year when Democrats are looking at the prospect of making gains in congressional elections.

In a statewide election last November, Democrat Phil Murphy won as expected in the state’s governor’s race, and Democrats picked up two seats previously held by Republicans in the state Legislature.

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