May 26, 2010
3 minute read
CCIT TEAMS UP WITH BERGEN COUNTY ACADEMIES TO OFFER STUDENTS REAL-WORLD VIEW OF ENTREPRENEURSHIP
Event Marks Second Year of Innovative Collaboration
TRENTON, N.J. (May 19, 2010) – Students from Bergen County Academies (BCA) visited the Commercialization Center for Innovative Technologies (CCIT) in North Brunswick today as part of the school’s Entrepreneurial Science program. The collaboration between the New Jersey Economic Development Authority’s (EDA’s) business incubator and the magnet high school was launched last year and involves students presenting their virtual biotechnology business to a panel of Chief Executive Officers from New Jersey biotechnology companies.
Approximately 25 sophomores and juniors participated in BCA’s program this year, which is centered on the continued development of Provita Pharmaceuticals, the student-run company that forms the core of the program. The company, based on a product for the control of bleeding in hemophilia, was initially created by students in last year’s cohort. As part of BCA’s program, students approach the development of this product from the standpoint of design, manufacturing, marketing and finance. Presenting to the CEO panel at CCIT is the culmination of the project, although development activity will continue through the summer and into the next academic year. According to BCA, while projects of this type have been performed at the school previously, last year was the first to use biotechnology/pharma as a model. As a result, students are able to learn about FDA regulations, GMP manufacturing and clinical trial design and performance. The program has grown since its launch last year and has generated interest from more students, as well as research entities in the State. The technology advanced by the students is also creating a buzz. A cancer center in New Jersey has agreed to assist in procuring IP protection and has also set up a Scientific Advisory Board comprised of its senior researchers to provide guidance.
“The Entrepreneurial Program allows science students to collaborate with business students to learn the issues and challenges of both disciplines,” said Dr. Robert Pergolizzi of BCA. “To be competitive in the global marketplace, students need to understand not just science, but how to commercialize discoveries. The program’s real-world approach is only enhanced by its partnership with CCIT.”
As part of the collaboration, CCIT provides a venue and the CEO panel for the class presentations. CCIT manager Donald Shatinsky also helps to arrange guest lecturers and provides input on course development and direction. According to Shatinsky, the program is viewed as a long term investment in helping to have entrepreneurship introduced to science students at an early age, during their career decision years.
Many CCIT tenants participated in this year’s CEO panel, including Dr. Marc Burell of Orthobond; Dr. Kiran Madura of CellXplore; Dr. Tage Honore of Aestus Therapeutics; Dr. Sri Srivastava of Clintech Research and Dr. Greg Mario of Taxis Pharmaceuticals. Also participating was Mr. James Golubieski of the Foundation Venture Capital Group.
“We consider this program to be unique in the United States, one that encourages entrepreneurship and enables the many assets of our business incubator here at the Technology Centre of New Jersey to be utilized in a different kind of way,” said EDA CEO Caren Franzini, who addressed the students prior to the panel. “It is our hope that the ideas, concepts and skills that students are learning here will one day help some of them become future founders and leaders of New Jersey life sciences companies.”
Located along the U.S. Route 1 research and development corridor, the Technology Centre of New Jersey has evolved into a world-class facility. Developed in 1996, the complex sits on more than 50 acres in North Brunswick and is home to CCIT, which is one of the most recognized incubators of its kind in the world. CCIT originally opened in 2002 with 20,000 square feet and was expanded in 2005 to 46,000 square feet with the addition of 10 lab units, business accelerator office space and flexible conference facilities. CCIT’s unique corporate technology transfer initiative was established to spur collaboration and business opportunities by linking small life sciences and biotechnology startup businesses with major corporations in the state. The initiative encourages a more rapid transfer of discoveries from the laboratory to the marketplace, and fosters collaborations with public research and medical research. CCIT is one of only 16 business incubation programs in the world that have earned the Soft Landings International Incubator designation from the National Business Incubation Association. The designation recognizes an incubator’s focus on welcoming non-domestic firms into its domestic market with translation services, help cutting through governmental red tape, access to capital, domestic market research, and other programs.