TRENTON (August 4, 2016) – In addition to the dozens of New Jersey entrepreneurs who have used the New Jersey Economic Development Authority's (EDA) Commercialization Center for Innovative Technologies (CCIT) over the last decade and a half as a springboard to grow their companies, several international companies have found the life sciences incubator an ideal location to establish their United States presence.
Of the nearly two-dozen current CCIT tenants, four, including China-based Crystal Pharmatech, are US entities of larger international companies. The additional international companies include FLUIDDA from Belgium, Shionogi from Japan, and Aucta Pharmaceuticals from China.
“The types of resources that make New Jersey and CCIT perfect for the State's emerging biotechnology companies are the same assets that attract international companies to the Garden State and our life sciences incubator,” EDA Chief utive Officer Melissa Orsen said.
CCIT offers tenant companies affordable lab and office space, 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 entrepreneurs also have access to educational and support programs such as a Lunch and Learn series, during which local entrepreneurs speak about best practices in their areas of expertise.
Crystal Pharmatech, a contract research organization (CRO) that aims to help clients reduce research and development costs and deliver medicine to treat unmet needs, opened its doors at CCIT in March 2014. Crystal Pharmatech is one of four current CCIT tenants that are US entities of larger international companies. The CRO, which currently has seven employees at CCIT, has benefited immensely from establishing itself in New Jersey, and specifically at CCIT.
“Over the last two and a half years, we have grown tremendously thanks, in large part, to the resources provided by CCIT,” Crystal Pharmatech Vice President of Business Development Robert Wenslow said. “From the walk-in ready lab space to the excellent and accessible staff, CCIT has met all of our needs as we've grown.”
Wenslow also noted that the state's proximity to pharmaceutical giants played a factor in the company's decision to locate in New Jersey. Fourteen of the world's leading biopharmaceutical companies have locations in the Garden State.
During its time at CCIT, Crystal Pharmatech has grown its client base to include more than 150 global pharmaceutical companies. The company partners with these clients to ensure comprehensive solutions for their needs in solid-state research, crystallization process development and pre-formulation studies. It also guides them through the optimal solid phase for drug development, using all aspects of pre-formulation studies, including regulatory support and intellectual property protection.
Wenslow is familiar with New Jersey's biopharmaceutical community, having worked at Merck in Rahway prior to joining Crystal Pharmatech. Several other individuals on the CRO's utive team have strong ties to New Jersey and its pharmaceutical ecosystem; its co-founders CEO Alex Chen and Chief Scientific Officer Yanfeng Zhang received their education at Rutgers and Princeton Universities respectively and worked at Merck in Rahway prior to starting Crystal Pharmatech. Ann Newman, the company's vice president of scientific development, worked for Bristol-Myers Squibb in Princeton before arriving at Crystal Pharmatech.
@NJEDATech spoke with Wenslow about Crystal Pharmatech's experience at CCIT and its plans for the future:
Why did you choose to grow your company in New Jersey?
We found New Jersey to be a central hub for both our clients and New Jersey’s talented employee-pool. Locating in an area so densely populated with pharmaceutical companies has been beneficial to our company.
What do you consider Crystal Pharmatech’s biggest success to date?
We would consider our New Jersey expansion efforts our biggest success to date! We started out being a “China lab” company. We had doubts that our competitive advantage would lead to a successful lab in the US. But in our business, it’s all about the science. Hire good people, perform good science, and the business will come!
What’s on the horizon for Crystal Pharmatech?
We are looking to expand lab space and capabilities. We are realizing that focused early formulation development research is lacking in the CRO world. We're going to try and fill that gap.
What advice would you give to entrepreneurs just starting out?
Know your client base well and your competition better. Find your competitive advantage and focus like a laser beam.