New Members of BioNJ Board of Trustees Illustrate State’s Vibrant Innovation Ecosystem
TRENTON (March 3, 2016) – Showcasing the synergy and collaboration that has become a hallmark of New Jersey’s vibrant innovation economy, BioNJ’s newest Board members lead companies that have graduated from the New Jersey Economic Development Authority’s (EDA’s) Commercialization Center for Innovative Technologies (CCIT). Bradley L. Campbell of Amicus Therapeutics and Daniel J. O’Connor of Advaxis join executives from several other EDA-supported companies that already serve on the Board of BioNJ, the trade association for the State’s life sciences industry.
“New Jersey’s innovation ecosystem fosters collaboration,” EDA Chief Executive Officer Melissa Orsen said. “BioNJ has been at the forefront of advocating for New Jersey’s biotechnology companies, and to see so many EDA-supported companies actively involved at this level in the industry confirms the value of our industry-focused programs.”
BioNJ is a network of 400 member companies whose mission is to propel New Jersey’s robust life sciences ecosystem forward to accelerate the discovery, development and commercialization of therapies and cures for the patients who need them. BioNJ’s distinguished Board of Trustees leads and supports this critical mission. Campbell, who serves as President and Chief Operating Officer of Amicus Therapeutics, and O’Connor, President and Chief Executive Officer of Advaxis, were elected to the BioNJ Board last month. Both Amicus and Advaxis graduated from CCIT.
Nestled in the heart of the state's "Research Corridor" in North Brunswick, CCIT is advantageously located near world-renowned universities such as Princeton and Rutgers, and a host of pharmaceutical and biotech companies located in the region. Currently home to nearly two-dozen seed stage life sciences companies, CCIT offers its tenants affordable lab and office space, plus a wealth of resources. These include assistance with identifying funding sources, including state incentives, help making matches to private sector support, and access to small business development resources and administrative support. CCIT also offers discounted rent for the first year for university spinouts.
Under Campbell’s direction, Amicus Therapeutics focuses on developing novel, oral therapeutics for the treatment of a range of human genetic diseases. Amicus became CCIT’s first graduate in 2005 when it moved from the incubator to its current facility in Cranbury to accommodate its growing workforce. That same year, the company closed on $55 million worth of Series C financing, which included investment from the Garden State Life Sciences Venture Fund, supported by a $10 million investment from the EDA.
After graduating from CCIT in 2011, Advaxis moved to Princeton to continue its mission of developing immunotherapies to combat various forms of cancer, including human papillomavirus (HPV)-associated cancers, prostate cancer and certain aggressive types of cancerous solid tumors. Led by O’Connor, the company was awarded the Farrah Fawcett Foundation's inaugural "Medical Visionary Angel Award" last year in recognition of its commitment to innovative research.
In addition, CCIT graduate Chromocell Corporation’s Chief Executive Officer Christian Kopfli, Esq. was reelected to his position as Secretary of the BioNJ Board. Founded in 2002, Chromocell has grown from a small biotech company into an innovative life sciences company that now employees over 120 people. The company is focused on discovering new drugs to manage patients’ pain and develops and commercializes novel technologies beneficial to the average consumer – including new flavors, nutritional ingredients and therapeutics.
“CCIT plays a vital role in fostering entrepreneurship and innovation, which is critical to the growth of New Jersey’s life sciences ecosystem,” said BioNJ President and CEO Debbie Hart. “CCIT graduates, such as Amicus Therapeutics, Advaxis and Chromocell, are making a significant impact on the industry and BioNJ is grateful and honored to have their leaders as part of our Board of Trustees.”
Several re-elected BioNJ Board members come from companies that have participated in the State's Technology Business Tax Certificate Transfer (NOL) Program. Administered by the EDA and the New Jersey Department of Treasury's Division of Taxation, this competitive program enables eligible technology and biotechnology companies to sell New Jersey tax losses and/or research and development tax credits to raise cash to finance their growth and operations.
These include PTC Therapeutics CEO Stuart Peltz, Ph.D., BioNJ’s Chairman of the Board; Drais Pharmaceuticals President and CEO Donna Tempel, Vice chair of the Board; Elusys Therapeutics President and CEO Elizabeth Posillico, Treasurer of the Board; Emisphere Technologies President and CEO Alan L. Rubino; Agile Therapeutics President and CEO Al Altomari; Celldex Therapeutics, Inc. Founder, President, CEO and Director Anthony S. Marrucci; and Soligenix President and CEO Christopher Schaber. Amicus and Advaxis have also benefitted from the NOL program.