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Three Industry Leaders Join Distinguished CCIT Advisory Board

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From left: Vicky Gaddy, Michael Wiley and Jorge Ramirez each bring a unique perspective to their positions on the CCIT's Advisory Board.


TRENTON (December 1, 2016) – Adding to the esteemed list of industry leaders mentoring life sciences tenants at its Commercialization Center for Innovative Technologies (CCIT), the New Jersey Economic Development Authority (EDA) today announced the addition of three new members to the CCIT Advisory Board.

Strategically located at the 75-acre campus of the Technology Centre of New Jersey in the heart of the State’s research corridor between Rutgers and Princeton universities, CCIT offers both small and large labs, including the most wet labs of any incubator in New Jersey. Currently home to nearly two dozen life sciences companies, the incubator also provides tenant companies with educational programs and a host of supporting resources. These include helping to identify funding sources and providing access to small business development resources and networking opportunities, as well as an active Advisory Board that routinely interacts with tenants to provide guidance as they grow and thrive in New Jersey.

BioNJ’s Vicki Gaddy, Foundation Venture Capital Group’s Michael Wiley, and H.I.G. Capital BioHealth Partners’ Jorge Ramirez join 17 other members on the CCIT Advisory Board. The Board is comprised of professionals from the many types of organizations that are involved with growing companies, such as the ones housed at CCIT. Accountants, investors, lawyers, trade organizations, senior executives, educators, consultants, hospital administrators, and CCIT graduates all have seats on the Board. A complete list of advisory board members can be found here.

“Each of our CCIT Advisory Board members brings a unique perspective,” EDA Chief Executive Officer Melissa Orsen said. “Collectively, the Board offers a wide spectrum of expertise from which our tenant companies can draw when they need guidance growing their companies and commercializing their products here in New Jersey.”

Gaddy, of Long Branch, brings a heavy human-resources background to her position on the CCIT Advisory Board. As the vice president of BioNJ’s Talent Services for the past seven years, Gaddy has a pulse on New Jersey’s highly-talented workforce and connects emerging biotechnology companies with suitable potential employees. Throughout her career, Gaddy has served in a variety of human resources leadership roles for biotechnology companies.  

Foundation Venture Capital Group Vice President, Michael Wiley, of Hightstown, provides CCIT tenants with insight into what investors look for in early stage investment opportunities. Foundation Venture Capital Group, located in New Brunswick, routinely invests pre-seed funding in New Jersey early-stage life sciences companies, including a $500,000 investment earlier this year in CCIT tenant Visikol, Inc. Wiley worked for the EDA for six years, during which time he focused on various business development initiatives and financing innovative companies across healthcare, high-tech and clean tech business start-ups.

Ramirez, of Mountain Lakes, is a Vice President at H.I.G. BioHealth Partners, the life sciences investment affiliate of H.I.G. Capital, where he focuses on development stage and growth investments in the healthcare sector. Prior to joining H.I.G. BioHealth Partners, he was with ProQuest Investments, a Princeton-based healthcare-focused private equity firm. Ramirez has been an observer or board member of numerous life sciences companies, including Nutrinia, which recently opened an office in Morris County, and Eagle Pharmaceuticals, located in Bergen County. With a background in both investing and management, Ramirez is available to help CCIT tenants develop fundraising and clinical development strategies as well as answers entrepreneurs’ questions about running businesses.

@NJEDATech asked the new members about the CCIT Advisory Board and their vision for its future:

Why did you decide to join the CCIT Advisory Board?
Gaddy: It’s an honor for me to serve as the BioNJ representative to support the work of such a highly successful incubator in New Jersey and provide whatever insight may be beneficial to the evolving companies there. I grew up in a household where my father built and owned his own highly successful businesses, so I was exposed to, and bitten by, the entrepreneur bug very early in life. Additionally, through my work overseeing the various talent services we provide at BioNJ, I have had the benefit of interacting with the leadership and companies at CCIT as we helped to build supportive programs there, linking industry expertise with the emerging businesses.

Wiley: CCIT has provided such great support to life science companies, entrepreneurs, and the broader ecosystem for so many years in New Jersey. I appreciate and value having CCIT as a resource in the state and so when I was asked to join the advisory board, it was an easy decision to say “yes” to lending assistance to CCIT and its tenant companies.

Ramirez:  CCIT has become a model incubator for life sciences and technology companies.  From my perspective, CCIT’s approach is unique:  the entire organization is committed to helping and encouraging entrepreneurs to create sustainable businesses.  The Center offers relevant programing for companies at different stages of development and is proactive about partnering with other industry organizations from the region.  My goal is to contribute meaningfully to CCIT’s mission of supporting the life sciences ecosystem in New Jersey.   

Where do you see CCIT five years from now?
Gaddy: CCIT has a history of launching companies to success in our region, and I would love to see it continue on this path and leverage that good work by enabling even greater visibility for New Jersey as a key region for innovative and successful new businesses. 
 
Wiley: I see CCIT continuing to support leading life science companies in the region. With this in mind, I hope to see CCIT building upon its success by further developing its value-added programming, integrating learnings and mentorship from successful CCIT graduates and entrepreneurs in New Jersey, and continuing to make a positive impact within New Jersey’s life sciences ecosystem.
 
Ramirez: Over the next five years, I hope to see growth in the number of life sciences companies based in and around CCIT. There is a powerful network effect when companies and entrepreneurs are co-located and I expect CCIT to be in the middle of it all.
 
To learn more about resources available to New Jersey’s emerging technology and life sciences companies, visithttp://www.njeda.com/tls and follow @NJEDATech on Twitter and LinkedIn.
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