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biotech imageCelgene Corporation on Monday announced the selection of PhageNova Bio, Inc. as the first client in the Thomas O. Daniel Research Incubator and Collaboration Center, which offers state-of-the-art lab space, resources and support for promising scientists and companies to accelerate medical discoveries and innovations.

PhageNova Bio, Inc. is an early stage biotechnology company developing a unique approach to systemically administered targeted gene delivery.  The technology is licensed from the MD Anderson Cancer Center and is based on the pioneering work of PhageNova’s founders, Renata Pasqualini, Ph.D.  and Wadih Arap, M.D., Ph.D., now both professors of Rutgers Cancer Institute of New Jersey.  PhageNova’s lead program relies on a hybrid virus vector, developed by combining the targeting capability of engineered bacteriophage and the sustained gene expression of adeno-associated virus genetic elements.

“After extensive preclinical research and a successful early round of financing, the company has created a therapeutically active ligand-directed version of the vector that has been shown to selectively address multiple tumor types in a pre-clinical setting,” said Dr. Pasqualini, who is also chief scientific officer of PhageNova.

The company is actively pursuing pre-IND enabling studies and manufacturing in order to carry out a Phase 1 clinical study.

“The selection of PhageNova as the first client and anchor tenant is a proud moment for the Incubator and its mission to create a global epicenter for biotechnology by hosting promising innovation in life sciences,” said Rupert Vessey, MA, BM BCh, FRCP, DPhil, executive vice president and president, Research and Early Development for Celgene.  “The work undertaken by organizations in the Incubator mirrors our own deep commitment to developing potentially transformative science in the interest of patients around the world.”

“Our inclusion in the Incubator is a unique opportunity to further evaluate and accelerate our advanced gene delivery programs within a cutting-edge research space here in New Jersey,” said Jason Rifkin, JD, MB, PhageNova’s CEO. “We are honored to have been selected and look forward to beginning work at the facility soon.”

The Incubator houses 16,000 square feet of shared and fully equipped lab facilities located on the Celgene Summit West Research campus in Summit. This facility has the potential to bolster the entrepreneurial ecosystem in New Jersey, which itself is global center of innovation in life sciences. The state is home to a majority of the world’s top 20 research-based biopharmaceutical companies and nearly 3,300 life sciences establishments. In addition, 13 teaching hospitals and five medical schools are located in New Jersey.

“We are proud to welcome PhageNova and are honored to support the cutting-edge development it is leading in the area of cancer research,” said Debbie Hart, founding president and CEO of BioNJ and member of the Incubator Advisory Board. “We now look forward to evaluating, identifying and welcoming other entrepreneurial organizations as we build a world-class facility for supporting innovation.”

Applications are currently being accepted from innovative researchers, entrepreneurs and startup companies. To apply, please visit

 About Celgene

Celgene Corporation, headquartered in Summit, New Jersey, is an integrated global biopharmaceutical company engaged primarily in the discovery, development and commercialization of innovative therapies for the treatment of cancer and inflammatory diseases through next-generation solutions in protein homeostasis, immuno-oncology, epigenetics, immunology and neuro-inflammation. For more information, please visit

About PhageNova Bio

PhageNova Bio, Inc. is an early stage biotechnology company developing a unique approach to systemically administered targeted gene delivery. The core technology relies on a hybrid vector platform developed by combining the targeting capability of phage and the sustained gene expression of an adeno-associated virus.  The company is actively pursuing pre-IND enabling studies in order to carry out a Phase 1 clinical study in solid tumors.  More information can be found at

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