New Jersey Incubators Supporting Our Innovation Ecosystem
Innovators recognize that transforming medical discoveries into life-saving drugs can be a challenging process that takes years, if not decades, from discovery to market.
That is why when successful biopharmaceutical companies and prominent research universities support scientists and early-stage companies, they are ultimately supporting an innovation ecosystem that has the potential to accelerate medical breakthroughs that can change patients’ lives. In 2018, two prominent organizations with a long history in our State demonstrated their commitment to bolstering innovation and advancing medical discovery in New Jersey.
In January, Celgene Corporation announced its plans to open the Thomas O. Daniel Research Incubator and Collaboration Center on its West Research campus in Summit and is currently accepting applications. The 16,000-square-foot incubator offers state-of-the-art lab space, resources and support to scientists and companies with potentially transformational technologies. The new incubator is a tribute to Thomas O. Daniel, M.D., who served as Executive Vice President and President of Research and Early Development at Celgene from 2006 to 2016.
On the heels of Celgene’s announcement, Princeton University announced the opening of its new Princeton Innovation Center in April. The 31,000-square-foot incubator at Princeton Forrestal Center in Plainsboro – just minutes from the University’s campus – offers 68 wet- and dry-lab benches and premium scientific equipment for chemical, biological, pharmaceutical and engineering development. The incubator can accommodate more than two dozen science-related start-ups and a STEM workforce of nearly 200.
GROWING SUPPORT FOR DISCOVERY
Celgene and Princeton University join a growing number of New Jersey organizations that are providing space – and funding – to help early-stage companies develop innovative technologies that will impact healthcare in New Jersey and beyond.
Last summer, Hackensack Meridian Health and the New Jersey Innovation Institute at the New Jersey Institute of Technology (NJIT) held a ribbon cutting ceremony to celebrate the opening of its Agile Strategies Lab in Newark. The new incubator provides space and resources for early-stage companies developing disruptive technologies that have the potential to improve the delivery of healthcare, like equipment that lowers surgical risk or wearable medical devices. Hackensack Meridian Health has made a commitment to provide $25 million in funding for companies in the incubator.
NJIT also is home to the Enterprise Development Center incubator, a pioneer in supporting early-stage life sciences and technology companies. Founded in 1988, nearly 90 start-up companies are currently housed at EDC, employing more than 400 scientists and researchers.
A high-profile redevelopment project that promises to be a focal point for New Jersey research and innovation also is being planned in New Brunswick. To be located on a four-acre site in the heart of the city – just minutes from Rutgers, the State University of New Jerseyand Johnson & Johnson – The Hub @ New Brunswick is being imagined as a self-contained ecosystem where academic researchers and corporate innovators can be in close proximity to incubated start-up and early stage companies to foster collaboration.
While early-stage companies require lab space, state-of-the-art equipment and funding to survive during the discovery process, New Jersey’s incubators offer them something equally important: the opportunity to tap into a wealth of knowledge and experience for guidance, support and collaboration on their journey. From Celgene’s renowned scientists to the researchers at our world-class universities to opportunities for collaboration with other entrepreneurs, early-stage companies get the support they need to develop the innovative technologies of tomorrow. They also can tap into our State’s vast pool of talent to fuel their growth. More than 117,600 people work in New Jersey’s life sciences industry.
FROM INCUBATOR TO SUCCESSFUL COMPANY
Given the support they receive, it should come as no surprise that many companies that develop breakthrough technologies in an incubator grow to become leaders in their field. The Commercialization Center for Innovative Technologies (CCIT) at the Technology Centre of New Jersey in North Brunswick is one of the most significant incubators dedicated to life sciences companies in the U.S. and home to more than twenty biotechnology start-ups. Many of its companies graduate and flourish in New Jersey.
For example, CCIT graduate GENEWIZ has become a leading provider of Sanger DNA sequencing services, as well as a partner of choice for gene synthesis, molecular biology and genomic and GLP-compliant regulatory services. The global contract research organization has been serving the life science community for 11 years.
Another CCIT graduate, Advaxis Immunotherapies, develops therapies that enlist the body’s own immune system to fight cancer. To develop and commercialize its cancer immunotherapies for patients around the world, it is embracing strategic collaborations with major biopharmaceutical companies including Bristol-Myers Squibb, Merck, Amgen and AstraZeneca. GENEWICZ and Advaxis are among the dozens of successful companies in New Jersey that started life in an incubator.
SUPPORT FOR COMPANIES AS THEY GROW
Recognizing that companies require lab space and support long after leaving the incubator, New Jersey also is creating the environment and support systems companies need as they grow.
In August, the New Jersey Economic Development Authority (NJEDA) announced the opening of the Biotechnology Development Center (BDC) to accommodate the needs of companies that had outgrown their incubator space.
Located on the same campus as CCIT – the Technology Center of New Jersey research park – the BDC offers intermediate lab and office space from 3,400 to 10,000 square feet to help CCIT graduates and other young, growing and established companies expand their operations in New Jersey. Several successful graduates including Chromocell, Hurel, Orthobond and Ascendia have already found quality lab space, an ideal location on the Route 1 Research Corridor and access to the talent and support they need to grow at the Technology Center of New Jersey.
With more than 8.3 million square feet of laboratory space, as well as additional space being developed to meet the strong demand, New Jersey has the physical resources to accommodate biotech companies at every stage of their growth – from incubators to intermediate and stand-alone space at research parks and hubs. But New Jersey’s innovators can count on something more: the support of our vast innovation ecosystem to help them transform their medical discoveries into life-changing therapies that benefit patients everywhere.