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Spotlight on CCIT Executive in Residence: Catherine Abbadie, PhD

The New Jersey Economic Development Authority (EDA) last week unveiled its inaugural Executive-in-Residence appointees. This group of highly-skilled life sciences professionals will mentor and advise emerging companies at EDA’s Commercialization Center for Innovative Technologies (CCIT) in North Brunswick. The Executive-in-Residence program was created in collaboration with BioNJ.

Over the next few weeks, NJEDATech will delve into the back-stories of the six Executives-in-Residence; first up, Catherine Abbadie, PhD, of Princeton.


Catherine Abbadie brings extensive experience to the position of Executive–in-Residence – business development, strategic alliances and partnering. Drawing upon her vast knowledge of initiating, negotiating and managing partnerships with academia, biotech, pharmaceutical and medical device companies, Catherine will be an excellent resource for the emerging companies at CCIT. Nestled in the heart of the state's "Research Corridor" in North Brunswick, CCIT is advantageously positioned for partnering due to its location near world-renowned universities such as Princeton and Rutgers, and a host of pharmaceutical and biotech companies located in the region.

Among her prior positions, Catherine was a Director in the R&D Alliances group at Alcon, a division of Novartis. She was an integral member of the Licensing/Business Development teams at Alcon, where she led project evaluation, due diligence, deal parameters, and negotiation processes for pharmaceuticals and medical devices. Catherine identified, negotiated and closed deals, which brought innovative products and development opportunities to the Alcon/Novartis portfolio. She also led alliance management responsibilities with contract research organizations, pharma, medical device companies and universities. Catherine’s main academic area of expertise is neuroscience, with clinical experiences in pain, ophthalmology, otics, urinary incontinence, and immunology and inflammation.

Catherine holds a PhD in Neuropharmacology from René Descartes University (Paris, France) and was a Research Fellow at the University of California in San Francisco and the Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in New York.

Why did you choose to apply to the Executive-in-Residence program?

I chose to apply to the EIR program so that I could contribute to the success of innovative life sciences companies in New Jersey by drawing from my expertise in building strategic alliances between biotechs, academic institutions and pharma or medical devices companies. I’m looking forward to mentoring and guiding CCIT companies as they successfully develop alliances with larger organizations. I am also looking forward to networking with the New Jersey life sciences community.

What do you hope to get out of this Executive-in-Residence program?

I hope to build new relationships, to gain experience and to learn more about New Jersey’s array of life sciences companies, particularly those housed at CCIT.

Can you provide any insight about trends you’re seeing in the industry with respect to strategic alliances and partnering?

In life sciences today, partnering is key to synergizing companies’ assets and capabilities. In the last 10 years, all players, small and large companies, as well as research institutions, have established strategic alliances. As there is a lot of competition for assets in late stages of development, there is a trend in partnering at earlier stages of R&D.

What’s the best piece of advice you’ve heard over the years that you hope to impart on these emerging life sciences companies?

Emerging life science companies must aim to fundamentally change health care and fill an unmet medical need in order to successfully create value.

We understand you are currently in transition. What is the next challenge you want to undertake in your career?

I would like for my next opportunity to be with a strong innovative company that is positioned to grow their pipeline in the pharma or medical Devices space. My experience leading partnering for large pharma companies through several exciting new emerging technology partnerships has given me the broad experience required to bring value to a NJ company looking to grow their strategic alliances.

To learn more about CCIT’s Executive-in-Residence program, please visit http://www.njeda.com/eir and follow @NJEDATech on Twitter and LinkedIn.

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