CCIT Graduate Hurel Corporation Flourishes at New Location on EDA’s Technology Centre of New Jersey Campus
Under the leadership CEO Robert Freedman (far right), Hurel Corporation is thriving at its location on the Technology Centre of New Jersey.
NORTH BRUNSWICK, N.J. (May 17, 2017) – When Hurel Corporation outgrew its wet lab at the New Jersey Economic Development Authority’s (EDA’s) Commercialization Center for Innovative Technologies (CCIT) last year, it took advantage of intermediate space also offered on the Technology Centre of New Jersey’s 75-acre campus in North Brunswick.
In February 2016, the biotechnology company entered into a lease with the EDA for just over 5,000 square feet of wet lab space at the Biotechnology Development Center II (BDC) on the Technology Centre. Considered in-between space, the BDC is ideal for companies that have outgrown an incubator but are not ready to move into a much larger facility.
“Hurel’s transition from CCIT to the larger graduate space illustrates how the concept of wet labs was designed to work,” said EDA Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Melissa Orsen. “With the availability of incubator, intermediate, and larger stand-alone space, the Technology Centre campus can support the facility needs of companies at all stages of growth, helping to ensure we are able to keep these innovative companies in New Jersey.”
Intermediate space on the Technology Centre offers growing businesses an abundance of resources, including customizable laboratory and production facilities at affordable rates, a prime location between Princeton and Rutgers universities, and easy access to both New York City and Philadelphia. As a whole, the Technology Centre offers 325,000 square feet of lab, production and office space, as well as approximately 560,000 square feet of build-to-suit sites. Stand-alone facilities from 5,000 to 60,000 square feet can accommodate state-of-the-art clean rooms and wet labs.
Hurel, which develops assays (testing) platforms and provides advanced artificial tissue constructs for scientists worldwide, moved to its new location after spending nearly five years growing at CCIT. During its time at CCIT, Hurel grew from one to two laboratories and had access to affordable “plug and play” ready lab and office space, educational programs, and a wealth of supporting resources. At CCIT, the company also found a synergetic environment ripe for networking and collaborating. Additionally, CCIT’s advisory board includes representation from pharmaceutical and biotechnology businesses and academia to coach companies into the future. Hurel is one of more than 40 companies to graduate CCIT since the incubator opened in 2002. High-profile graduates include Advaxis, Chromocell and Amicus Therapeutics.
“We’ve been fortunate to have had access to a variety of EDA resources as we’ve grown into a global leader of microfluidic and microliver assay platforms,” said Hurel CEO Robert Freedman. “From affordable lab space to networking opportunities and the collaborative culture at both the Technology Centre and CCIT, Hurel has experienced incredible support here in New Jersey.”
Since its expansion into BDC II, Hurel has continued its mission to provide the national and international pharmaceutical and biotechnology industry with high-functioning, long-enduring in vitro liver models and microfluidic assay platforms that improve the predictive reliability of pre-clinical drug development and help reduce costly late-stage attrition in drug-makers' pipelines.
In October 2016, Hurel announced the launch of HurelfluxTM, an assay the company ships to laboratories throughout the world. The product includes Hurel’s patented microliver models, combined with the various proprietary media needed to perform the assay. HurelfluxTM is the latest in the company’s line of assays that will help Hurel’s customers streamline the workflow and reduce the costs of their transporter studies.
Taking advantage of another EDA resource, Hurel Corporation participated in the State’s Technology Business Tax Certificate Transfer (NOL) Program for the first time in 2016. Administered by the EDA and the New Jersey Department of the Treasury's Division of Taxation, the NOL Program allows eligible technology and life sciences companies to sell unused New Jersey net operating losses and research and development tax credits to unrelated profitable corporations. To date, more than 500 businesses have shared over $905 million through the NOL Program. The EDA launched the 2017 NOL application earlier this month. Eligible companies are encouraged to apply online at www.njeda.com/nol.
@NJEDATech spoke with Freedman about his company’s experience and its plans for the future:
Why did you choose to grow Hurel here in New Jersey?
Hurel was funded and physically incubated by pharmaceutical giant Schering-Plough in Kenilworth from 2007 to 2010. We also benefited from the academic resources at Rutgers.
What did Hurel find most useful about the NOL Program?
We are grateful for the ability to monetize tax resources, which has been very valuable to Hurel.
What is Hurel’s biggest success to date?
We have created the world’s best advanced liver tissue construct, with “best” defined in terms of cellular functionality, stability and endurance over time combined with laboratory practicality and convenience (including the ability to air-ship our primary co-cultures “warm” anywhere in the world, so that they arrive ready for immediate use.
What’s on the horizon for Hurel?
Among other initiatives, we are now focusing our efforts on creating a Hepatitis B virus (HBV) “disease model” co-culture that will enable researchers to measure the impact of potential HBV drugs directly on viral DNA. Proof-of-concept studies, undertaken in collaboration with Princeton, have demonstrated stable, high levels of HBV infection for 40 days and longer.