December 29, 2014
3 minute read


Nestled among commercial real estate up and down the Rt. 1 corridor in North Brunswick, the Economic Development Authority’s 46,000-square-foot Commercialization Center for Innovative Technologies (CCIT) is New Jersey’s leading life sciences incubator.  Home to more than two dozen seed-stage life sciences companies, CCIT offers its tenants not only affordable lab and office space, but also a wealth of resources, such as assistance with identifying funding sources, including state incentives and help making matches to private sector support, discounted rent for the first year for university spinouts, access to small business development resources and administrative support.

Over the summer, CCIT Program Manager Anne-Marie Maman started a free guest speaker series “to connect small NJ life sciences companies – both those in CCIT and those elsewhere in the state – with local resources to help them grow.”

In August, approximately a dozen people participated in an interactive lecture presented by Monica Tarver, the president of Molyta Consulting.  The lecture centered on creating business plans for early-stage biotech and pharmaceutical companies.  In November, Anne-Marie brought in scientist-turned-entrepreneur Yaniv Sneor to discuss Angel funding practices for life sciences companies.

Earlier this month, representatives from 10 companies attended CCIT’s “How to find a great college intern” discussion, during which experts from Princeton and Rutgers Universities spoke on a variety of topics ranging from how long interns can stay to what to pay them to what types of projects are realistic.       

Start-up company Ascendia Pharmaceuticals’ Founder & CEO Jingjun “Jim” Huang attended this December 12 program.  Ascendia currently rents both lab and office space at CCIT and is developing specialty pharmaceutical products and novel formulations for poorly water soluble molecules.  In other words, Ascendia makes drugs more easily dissolvable in the body. How do they do that?  The company utilizes its drug delivery technologies – nano-emulsions, nano-particles, and amorphous solid dispersions – to screen formulation approaches and develop an optimized formulation suitable for clinical testing.

The EDA caught up with Dr. Huang to learn more about how the company benefits from CCIT.

Q&A with Ascendia Founder & CEO Jingjun “Jim” Huang, Ph.D.

How has CCIT helped Ascendia to grow its business?

CCIT was very helpful to Ascendia when we were starting up our business.  They provided very useful business resources and guideline information for setting up a company in NJ.  In addition to the lab facility, they also have a helpful staff.  As a scientist by training, I highly appreciate this kind of help.

What was the best advice that you learned at the “How to find a great college intern” program?

After the program, I now know how to better attract a good candidate. Some examples of what I learned are:  to use more specific terms in the job description, to identify the job objective, to offer reasonable pay and to match the school schedule timing.

What is Ascendia’s biggest success to date?

Ascendia has achieved many big successes to date.  We have established a new, patented technology platform and we have developed a pipeline of innovative products with large potential market value.  This has allowed us to achieve strong business growth and to build fully-equipped labs.  And, importantly, it has also allowed us to grow a team with broad expertise that ensures the company’s ongoing growth.

What’s in store for Ascendia in the near future?

We have big plans for the future.  We will be bringing our lead product, currently named ASD-002, to the FDA to request authorization for use in humans.  This product is a reconfiguration of a very successful compound for Acute Coronary Syndrome – we have reformulated the drug into an injectable form.  Currently this medication is only available in oral form, which is not convenient for patients in emergency situations.  In addition, we plan to establish both Good Manufacturing Practice and Good Laboratory Practice capabilities.   We also have plans to achieve further business growth through formulation collaborations.

Life science startup companies interested in finding out more about CCIT should contact Anne-Marie Maman at or at CCIT’s main phone number (732) 839-1880.