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Orthobond exec sees value to N.J.'s incubators

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New Jersey EDA CEO Michele Brown (left) visits Orthobond for a firsthand look at the company's expansion.
New Jersey EDA CEO Michele Brown (left) visits Orthobond for a firsthand look at the company's expansion.

Marc Burel was an executive with Orthocon Inc., a medical device maker, when he first saw the advantages of being in a state-owned incubator like the Commercialization Center for Innovative Technologies.

That paved the way for his return to the North Brunswick facility with Orthobond Corp., which is now reaping many of those same benefits.

The 10-year-old biotechnology firm has grown from two to four laboratories and expanded its staff from three to 11 since moving to the facility in 2009, thanks in part to assistance from the state Economic Development Authority. Aside from being the largest tenant at the 46,000-square-foot center, also known as CCIT, Orthobond is one of 65 firms sharing in the most recent round of the state's Technology Business Tax Certificate transfer program.

Burel, Orthobond's chief operating officer, said "there's always a broad spectrum of very talented people that work here in other facilities." The CCIT currently houses more than 20 other tenants, and he said the benefits are as simple as comingling in eating spaces or hallways, where "people gather all the time and talk about technologies."

"You start to learn about what other people are capable of doing, and what their expertise is — and I don't think people hesitate to come and try to help one another out," he said.
"None of us are really competing, but we are all trying to reach the next step in the development of our companies."

EDA CEO Michele Brown took a firsthand look at the company's expansion on Thursday afternoon during a visit to Orthobond, which develops "surface modification technology" for medical devices. She touted recent efforts by Gov. Chris Christie's administration to increase its support for the biotech industry, with new measures like the Angel Investor Tax Credit Program and an increase in the state's Research & Development Tax Credit.

"A thriving technology industry remains an essential part of New Jersey's economy, and Orthobond illustrates perfectly how the state can help emerging companies maintain and strengthen their business," Brown said in a statement.

Also this week, Christie announced the EDA is looking for a private partner to operate a new accelerator program aimed at the life sciences and health care technology industries. This EDA said the initiative builds on the success of the state's first technology accelerator, TechLaunch, which was rolled out last year.

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