PTC Therapeutics cut the ribbon yesterday on its new gene therapy manufacturing facility in Hopewell Township. The global biopharmaceutical company, with headquarters in South Plainfield, moved into approximately 225,000 square feet of space at the campus location, which was formerly occupied by Bristol Myers Squibb.
According to PTC CEO Stuart Peltz, the life sciences firm began moving into and upgrading the facility in July of 2020 and has created 140 new jobs at the site since that time. He said that BMS, in a move to Massachusetts, had left state-of-the-art biotech manufacturing equipment at the location, which PTC is using. However, PTC has also invested more than $20 million at the facility.
According to Tim Sullivan, CEO of the New Jersey Economic Development Authority (NJEDA), companies like BMS are going to make decisions that the state does not like. “However, we want to see more growth-oriented companies come in to fill those spaces because these corporate campuses are not likely going to be filled by one large user. They will be filled by smaller firms that bring in more activity, more dynamism, and more jobs. So, we are excited to see this kind of investment here.”
He said the NJEDA helped PTC in its early days when the company took advantage of the authority’s Net Operating Loss (NOL) and early-stage investment programs.
PTC’s ribbon cutting ceremony occurred the same day that ground was broken for The Hub in New Brunswick. That project is a $665 million, 550,000-square-foot development that is expected to become a center of innovation, research and development, and medical education.
Debbie Hart, president and CEO of BioNJ, said of the PTC and Hub events: “This is an auspicious day in the New Jersey life sciences ecosystem. We witnessed landscape-altering history in the making when ground was broken on The Hub this morning … and here we are at PTC Therapeutics to celebrate an important milestone in the life of this flagship New Jersey company.
“PTC Therapeutics and BioNJ grew up together,” Hart added. “We watched as PTC went through the roller coaster ride that is biotech for so many years, and we are here now to mark the opening of its very own gene manufacturing facility.”
According to Dean Paranicas, president and CEO of the Healthcare Institute of New Jersey (HINJ), PTC’s choice of Hopewell rather than choosing an out-of-state location “demonstrates a continued commitment of the life sciences to New Jersey. When companies have choices, you want to be able to have them realize what the state has to offer.”
Peltz said PTC was using outside companies for gene therapy manufacturing, but he soon realized that in this type of manufacturing, “you have to control your own destiny because there are so many companies trying to get in line [for outsourced manufacturing services] that there is sometimes an 18-month wait. So, we said, OK lets [open our own facility].”
Being that the Hopewell site can run 24/7, Peltz said he is looking to offer gene therapy manufacturing services to other life science companies.
Overall, he said that gene therapy holds tremendous promise to treat intractable rare genetic disorders. “We have built our capabilities to both perform gene therapy research and to manufacture these biological products,” he said. “We are proud to have such a talented team and state-of-the-art manufacturing facility here in Hopewell that will help expedite bringing these therapies to patients.”
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