UNION, N.J. & MANASSAS, Va.—In its inaugural partnership, the Institute for Life Science Entrepreneurship (ILSE), a non-profit translational science research integrator, accelerator and incubator, is collaborating with ATCC to establish the ATCC Center for Translational Microbiology (CTM) at ILSE. Per the terms of the multiyear, multimillion-dollar partnership, initial funding to ILSE will enable the recruitment of a 10- to 12-person scientific team and the start-up of research operations. Once the new center is established, additional funding will come from follow-on ATCC investment and sought through grants and external research collaborations and partnerships. Though specific details were not disclosed, the deal also includes provisions for sharing product and licensing revenues that result from the CTM’s work.
The Center’s research laboratories and staff will be based at ILSE facilities in the New Jersey Center for Science, Technology & Mathematics (NJCSTM) building at Kean University, which is one of ILSE’s founding members. Dr. Scott Siegel, vice president of business development at ILSE, notes that this location offers access to the academic and consulting networks, as well as the region’s microbiology community. In addition, its presence on the Kean University campus “provides opportunity for student internships and for faculty to interact with the new CTM, and in fact, the first collaborative faculty research project has already been initiated.”
“We are pleased to partner with ILSE in establishing this important new research initiative in microbiology,” Dr. Raymond Cypess, CEO of ATCC, said in a press release. “As the premier biological resource center for life-science research, we see this as an opportunity to expand our footprint into the talent- and resource-rich New Jersey region and develop new research tools and technologies that will enable the execution of 21st-century microbiological R&D. Our scientists and staff are excited to be involved in this new initiative and to work with the ILSE team.”
Siegel says this is ILSE’s first significant deal, and came about largely thanks to Dr. Keith Bostian, founder and interim CEO of ILSE and dean of the NJCSTM program at Kean University. Bostian has worked with ATCC in the past, Siegel tells DDNews, “including prior service as an ATCC trustee representing the American Society for Microbiology.”
Once it’s up and running, the CTM will focus its efforts on current key challenges in translational microbiology, including antimicrobial resistance, synthetic biology, microbial bioinformatics and the microbiome. A joint steering committee consisting of individuals from ATCC and ILSE will oversee the new center and direct its scientific and commercial strategy.
“The NIH defines translational science as ‘the process of turning observations in the laboratory, clinic and community into interventions that improve the health of individuals and the public.’ At its core, translational science has ‘the goal of delivering more treatments to more patients more quickly,’” says Siegel. “This widely embraced concept is particularly relevant in microbiology, where the threat to public health, and also to our food sources, from microbial pathogens is both real and ever-present. There are also important applications for manufacturing and agriculture. The aim of the CTM is to provide new tools and technologies that will facilitate both our own researchers and the broader scientific community to develop new products and processes, as well as to respond to microbial challenges more quickly and effectively and enable the development of novel diagnostic, therapeutic, vaccine and other products.”
“We are excited to be working with such an esteemed organization as ATCC to create this new Center focused on cutting-edge research in microbiology,” said Bostian. “Our aim is to leverage the talent and resources available in New Jersey and the surrounding region to build a world-class research and product development effort. Founded just one year ago as a not-for-profit regional biotechnology hub, we intend to grow ILSE by replicating this model in other therapeutic areas in support of our mission of enabling translational science, entrepreneurship and the advancement of human health.”