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Middlesex County Biotechnology Company Touts State Support at BIO International Convention

TRENTON (June 18, 2015) - TAXIS Pharmaceuticals President and CEO Greg Mario joined with high-level representatives from three other EDA-supported companies at the BIO International Convention in Philadelphia on Tuesday to highlight programs and resources available to New Jersey’s biotechnology companies.  Convention attendees heard how the State supports technology businesses at all stages, helping them start, grow and thrive.
 
During the “Partnering with New Jersey” panel discussion, Mario, whose company seeks to discover and develop pharmaceuticals targeting multidrug-resistant (MDR) bacterial infections, spoke about his experience growing TAXIS Pharmaceuticals in New Jersey.  The company has spent the last five years as a tenant at the Commercialization Center for Innovative Technologies (CCIT), the New Jersey Economic Development Authority’s (EDA) life sciences incubator located in North Brunswick. 
 
Home to more than two-dozen life sciences startup companies, CCIT is located in New Jersey’s Route 1 research and development corridor between Rutgers and Princeton universities.  In addition to affordable lab and office space, CCIT offers a variety of business development resources including educational and support programs, mentoring and advice from high-level life sciences executives and access to purchasing discount programs.
 
Mario, who co-founded TAXIS in 2009, also discussed his experience tapping into New Jersey’s innovative ecosystem by spinning technology out of Rutgers University.  TAXIS entered into an exclusive licensing agreement with Rutgers and the former University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey for worldwide rights to develop and commercialize a novel antimicrobial technology addressing MDR infections.  The technology was discovered at the universities by Mario’s co-founders, Professors Daniel S. Pilch, PhD and Edmond J. LaVoie, PhD. 
 
“The Office of Technology Commercialization (OTC) at Rutgers behaves like a true partner with its licensees. OTC's commitment to incubating technologies discovered by Rutgers faculty was critical to our success in building TAXIS,” Mario said during the panel discussion.
 
@NJEDATech spoke with Mario about his experience in New Jersey and its plans for the future.
 
Why did you choose to grow your company in New Jersey?
Growing our company in New Jersey enables us to connect with access to human capital, proximity to Rutgers, the TAXIS licensor and the favorable environment the State affords start-up life sciences companies.

Can you talk about your experience spinning your company out from Rutgers University and share some best practices for other companies considering spinning out from universities?
Early stage ventures, like TAXIS, require support and flexibility of many sponsors, and none are as important as the licensor. Business is an iterative process and cannot be definitively defined at inception.  Rutgers is a large, structured organization while the OTC is an innovative branch that very effectively facilitates and nurtures a productive relationship between our two very disparate organizations.
 
How has Taxis benefitted from locating its business at CCIT?
CCIT is an effective incubator of early stage life sciences ventures in providing access to business and technology resources that would otherwise be out of our reach.  
 
What is Taxis’ biggest success to date?
TAXIS is making progress towards our goal of providing life-saving anti-infective drugs to market.  To date our greatest success is manifested in our current lead oral antibiotic drug candidate, TXA709.  Within a year we should be moving this anti-MRSA agent into human clinical trials.
 
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