Virtual ribbon cutting and tour featured remarks from New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy, FDA’s Peter Marks, as well as panel discussions with industry leaders from ARM, NIIMBL, Century Therapeutics, BioNJ, NJEDA, NJIT and NJII on the rise of Cell & Gene Therapy in New Jersey
October 29, 2020 – Newark, NJ – The New Jersey Innovation Institute (NJII) and Choose New Jersey hosted a virtual ribbon cutting, tour and panel discussions to mark the opening of BioCentriq™, NJII’s cutting-edge cell and gene therapy development and clinical manufacturing center located on the campus of the New Jersey Institute of Technology (NJIT) in Newark, New Jersey.
“This facility will join New Jersey’s rich history of innovation,” said Governor Phil Murphy. “The advances taking place right now throughout our state and the people and businesses that make up our robust innovation economy, are all critical to guiding our economy into a post-pandemic world and the developments in cell and gene therapy are among the most exciting and revolutionary. I look forward to all that will come out of this incredible facility.”
President of New Jersey Institute of Technology Dr. Joel Bloom reinforced the governor’s message by stating “There is a massive need for what BioCentriq can provide, and our ability to fill that gap will translate into results that literally save and improve the quality of countless lives. We have the capacity to help companies develop processes, conduct clinical production trials, and train employees.”
Jose Lozano, president and CEO of Choose New Jersey hosted the event. “New Jersey is a top hub for cell and gene therapy,” said Lozano. “We are home to groundbreaking cell and gene therapy companies that are leading the way in next-generation therapeutics. Today’s ribbon cutting at BioCentriq is another exciting chapter for New Jersey’s innovation economy. We look forward to seeing how BioCentriq will advance the industry in years to come.”
Opening remarks were made by Joel Bloom, Ed.D. and president of NJIT, Governor Phil Murphy, Robert Cohen, president digital, robotics, and enabling technology at Stryker and Simon Nynens, CEO of NJII.
Pall Biotech, The National Institute for Innovation in Manufacturing Biopharmaceuticals, BMS, Cytiva, Panasonic Healthcare and Novartis were recognized, along with the 12 industry leaders who make up the biopharma advisory council, for their contributions of equipment, funding and expertise.
Dr. Peter Marks, MD., Ph.D., director of the center for biologics evaluation and research (CBER) at the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) spoke about the importance of cell and gene therapies and the role of the FDA in streamlining, removing hurdles and providing support to improve the availability of these therapies. He also talked about the importance of collaborative efforts like BioCentriq to help accelerate advancements and innovation.
Haro Hartounian, Ph.D. and SVP and GM of the Biopharma Division, and senior vice-president and general manager of BioCentriq, gave a detailed view of the new center and the work being done by the Biopharma division at NJII. Dr. Hartounian also premiered a video tour of the facility. In addition, he led a panel discussion on the future of cell and gene therapy manufacturing with Kelvin H. Lee, Ph.D. director of the National Institute for Innovation in Manufacturing (NIIMBL), Janet Lynch Lambert, CEO of the Alliance for Regenerative Medicine and Greg Russotti, Ph.D., chief technology officer of Century Therapeutics, LLC.
“BioCentriq’s mission is to bring together industry, technology developers, academia and regulatory agencies to help advance the development and manufacturing of cell and gene therapies,” said Dr. Hartounian. “We are thrilled to open the doors to our center at a time when demand for process development and clinical manufacturing of cell and gene therapies exceeds capacity available from existing contract development and manufacturing organizations. Our goal is to provide a collaborative space where innovative approaches and technologies can be utilized to help make emerging therapeutics available to the patients that so desperately need them.”
The event concluded with a panel discussion that featured local leaders who described the resources New Jersey offers to companies who bring their cell and gene therapy projects and businesses to the state. Panelists included Debbie Hart, president & CEO of BioNJ; Jose Lozano; Kathleen Coviello, executive vice president for Technology, Life Sciences & Entrepreneurship at the New Jersey Economic Development Authority (NJEDA); and Kevin D. Belfield, Ph.D. and dean, College of Science & Liberal Arts, NJIT.
To learn more and view the recorded event please visit: https://www.choosenj.com/webinar/first-look-at-biocentriq/.
Shown in BioCentriq Ribbon Cutting at NJIT Life Sciences & Engineering Center Building in Newark, NJ photo from left to right are Robert Cohen, president, digital, robotics, and enabling technology, Stryker, Simon Nynens, CEO, New Jersey Innovation Institute (NJII), Joel Bloom, Ed.D., president, New Jersey Institute of Technology (NJIT), Dan Wessner, director of sales, Pall Biotech, Haro Hartounian, Ph.D., SVP and general manager, NJII, Fadi P. Deek, Ph.D., provost and senior executive vice president, NJIT and Jose Lozano, president & CEO, Choose New Jersey.