Through word of mouth from industry leaders, Treff learned the many benefits offered by the New Jersey Economic Development Authority’s (EDA’s) Commercialization Center for Innovative Technologies (CCIT) and decided to set down his company’s roots at the life sciences incubator.
“CCIT is widely known as a hub of activity within the State’s biotechnology industry and is brimming with companies impacting the global marketplace,” EDA Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Melissa Orsen said.
CCIT, which is considered to be one of the most significant incubation facilities in the nation dedicated to life sciences and biotechnology, is strategically located in the heart of the State’s research corridor between Rutgers and Princeton universities and offers the most wet labs of any incubator in New Jersey.
At CCIT, Genomic Prediction will have access to affordable “plug and play” ready lab and office space, educational programs, and a wealth of supporting resources.
The company’s founders will have many opportunities to network with other entrepreneurs at the life sciences incubator. Additionally, CCIT’s advisory board includes representation from pharmaceutical and biotechnology businesses and academia to coach companies into the future.
Genomic Prediction, which began leasing a small lab and an office at CCIT in June, provides services for advanced genetic testing for In Vitro Fertilization (IVF).
The company, which intends to make its CCIT lab the core of its national and international activities, develops a variation of a current test known as pre-implantation genomic screening (PGS), which screens embryos before implantation into the mother.
PGS assesses embryos fertilized in a lab and determines from their DNA which embryos are normal and healthy, screening out diseases and improving newborn health by identifying which embryos are genetically normal.
Genomic Prediction’s proprietary ePGT allows testing of an expanded set of genetic variants compared to standard PGS, including a wider variety of chromosomal conditions, single and polygenic gene diseases and other abnormalities, while providing a report for the doctor. The company is also developing educational software for doctors to use in creating and reviewing laboratory reports.
Along with Dr. Treff, who serves as Genomic Prediction’s Chief Science Officer, the company was co-founded by Dr. Laurent Christian Asker Melchior Tellier, the company’s Chief Executive and Technology Officer and Dr. Stephen Hsu, Chairman of the Board. All three have an extensive background teaching genomics in universities around the world and each brings a unique background in genetics, obstetrics and IVF to their respective positions within Genomic Prediction.
@NJEDATech asked Dr. Treff about his plans to grow Genomic Prediction in New Jersey:
Why did Genomic Prediction choose to grow here in New Jersey?
Some of our key personnel have developed relationships in New Jersey, including Rutgers University; that made the decision to reside in New Jersey very practical. The CCIT is located in a hotspot for genomic research and as a result it has been very easy to find highly talented individuals in our field.
What CCIT resources do you plan to use as you expand your company?
CCIT has already provided us with amazing support for developing our laboratory and business, including referrals to financial consultants and top-notch life science vendors. In addition, the plug-and-play laboratory space and administrative support from the program officer and specialist has made the initial setup extremely convenient and smooth.
The NJEDA Venture Officers also brought the New Jersey Angel Investor tax credit program to our attention, giving us an opportunity to significantly improve our investor relations moving forward. Due to this incredible support, we have reached important milestones ahead of schedule.
Finally, many of the existing tenants have given us support during our setup phase and we have begun to establish collaborative efforts that will undoubtedly improve our ability to succeed.
What is Genomic Prediction’s biggest success to date?
Our long-term goal of being the first provider of polygenic disorder preimplantation genetic testing has seen great advancements as our bioinformatics team develops rigorous validation from public and private biorepositories.
For example, we are working on polygenic tests for predicting risk of conditions such as Type I Diabetes. This, in parallel with the development of novel molecular genetic testing strategies has placed us in an exciting position of establishing Genomic Prediction as a pioneer in preimplantation genetic testing.
What’s on the horizon for your company?
We are planning our first exhibit at the American Society for Reproductive Medicine Annual Conference in San Antonio in late October and hope to make a big splash.
Preimplantation genetic testing has seen little innovation in the last several years and we believe the introduction of polygenic trait testing will be seen as such. In the next two months, we plan to launch our official website and begin shipping beta test kits to key collaborators throughout the world.