When PTC Therapeutics signed a long-term lease agreement with Bristol-Myers Squibb (BMS) recently for space at the pharmaceutical giant’s Hopewell campus, it represented the latest chapter in the biopharmaceutical company’s 21-year history. In announcing the lease of 185,000 square of space from BMS, PTC Therapeutics officials noted that the biopharmaceutical company will expand its New Jersey presence to enhance and complement its existing global headquarters in South Plainfield.
PTC Therapeutics, which repeatedly turned to the New Jersey Economic Development Authority’s (NJEDA’s) Net Operating Loss (NOL) Program throughout its lifecycle, has grown from a Rutgers University Robert Wood Johnson Medical School spinout to an over 700 employee global enterprise.
Founded by Stuart Peltz, PhD, a former BioNJ Board Chairman, the company focuses on discovering, developing, and commercializing groundbreaking treatments for patients living with rare diseases utilizing its multiple scientific platforms including gene therapy. Gene therapy is the ability to transport normal genes into cells in place of missing or defective ones in order to correct genetic disorders.
NJEDA Chief Executive Officer Tim Sullivan noted that PTC Therapeutics is an example of how New Jersey’s resources, educated workforce, and collaborative ecosystem can help companies grow.
“Together with our ideal location and vast talent pool, New Jersey’s biopharmaceutical landscape is among the Garden State’s biggest assets,” NJEDA Chief Executive Officer Tim Sullivan said. “Companies like PTC Therapeutics understand the value of being close to 13 of the world’s largest pharmaceutical companies and having access to the approximately 27,000 life sciences graduates produced each year by the state’s network of prestigious higher education institutions.”
By expanding into Hopewell, PTC Therapeutics will gain access to an existing state-of-the art biologics production facility and supporting research and operations building. PTC Therapeutics also plans to move its research operations to a newly renovated building on the same campus, which will enable the company to execute its plans to rapidly advance its gene therapy pipeline. The company will bring its gene therapy manufacturing in house and accelerate the speed at which it develops and commercializes products.
“Our story certainly isn’t a linear one. The time to develop a treatment for patients living with rare disorders is long,” Peltz said. “We remain steadfast in our commitment to the patients who need our therapies and are gratified to be able to bring two of the three treatments in the world for patients living with Duchenne muscular dystrophy. We are grateful to the State and the biopharmaceutical industry for believing and investing in us, as well as the opportunity that our newly-expanded space brings.”
New Jersey is fast becoming a hub for cell and gene therapy research and manufacturing. PTC Therapeutics is among nearly a dozen New Jersey companies currently conducting clinical trials in cell and gene therapy. Its overall pipeline of products currently in active clinical trials includes treatments for Aniridia, Relapsed/refractory acute leukemias, Duchenne muscular dystrophy, Limb-girdle muscular dystrophy, Gliomas and other solid tumors, and Spinal Muscular Atrophy.
Dr. Peltz credits NJEDA’s NOL Program as critical to sustaining his company’s viability before it reached profitability. The NOL Program enables eligible technology and life-sciences companies to sell New Jersey net operating losses and unused research and development tax credits to unrelated profitable corporations for cash. The cash can then be used for working capital or to fund research. The NJEDA and the New Jersey Department of Treasury’s Division of Taxation administer the program. PTC Therapeutics is one of nearly 550 companies to benefit from the program since it started in 1999.
Dr. Peltz has long been a vocal champion of New Jersey’s biotechnology community and was a professor at the Rutgers University Robert Wood Johnson Medical School for a dozen years. During his tenure as BioNJ’s Chairman from 2015 to 2017, Dr. Peltz reinforced BioNJ’s mission of helping its members help patients while ensuring that the patient voice is part of the drug development process.
He brings that same mentality to PTC Therapeutics every day.
“It has been exciting to watch PTC Therapeutics grow into what is now a global organization,” said Debbie Hart, President and CEO of BioNJ. “Stuart’s passion for patients and dedication to New Jersey is undeniable. We congratulate PTC on its newly-leased facility and thank Stuart and his team for the incredible work they do on behalf of patients. PTC is leading the way in cell and gene therapy; offering hope to patients and families around the world.”