Before nearly 200 people, Daniel O’ Connor, President and CEO of Advaxis, unveiled Advaxis’ new clean-room manufacturing facility and laboratory on September 9th, at its Princeton College Road East headquarters. In attendance were Governor Chris Christie, Sen. Tom Kean Jr. (R-Westfield), Kari Osmond, District Director for Rep. Bonnie Watson Coleman, Debbie Hart, President and CEO of BioNJ, and Michele Brown, President and CEO of Choose New Jersey.
Advaxis added the 30,000-square-foot expansion to develop and manufacture clinical-grade products in order to support Advaxis’ clinical trials and future commercialization of its immuno-oncology therapeutics.
“I’m proud Advaxis is increasing its footprint and investment in the Garden State and specifically the Princeton corridor, which in the past several years has grown as a beacon for world-renowned biotech and life sciences accomplishments,” Governor Christie said. “For the benefit of New Jerseyans, Advaxis is emerging as a leading innovator in the biotech industry, rapidly developing state-of-the-art cancer treatment for patients in need, creating great private-sector jobs and attracting private investments from global companies who want to be a part of its budding successes.”
Through technology originally developed by Dr. Yvonne Paterson, Associate Professor at the University of Pennsylvania, Advaxis Inc. has taught the immune system how to destroy a variety of tumor cells. Advaxis’ proprietary technique, Lm Technology™, consists of attenuated (harmless) genetically altered bacterial cells (Listeria monocytogenes (Lm)) that activate the immune system and attack cancer cells.
“The Advaxis team believed in this technology and believed that it could help patients in need even when the company was struggling a few years ago, but just this year, the company has reported two complete responses in patients who have received AXAL in clinical trials, meaning the cancer in these two patients has disappeared,” said Ms. Hart during the event. “Advaxis is a true New Jersey success story.”
AXAL, or axalimogene filolisbac, is being tested in a Phase 3 clinical study called AIM2CERV to evaluate safety and efficacy in patients with high-risk, locally advanced cervical cancer. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has granted AXAL orphan drug designation as well as Fast Track designation for adjuvant therapy and a Special Protocol Assessment for the Phase 3 AIM2CERV trial. The trial is set to dose its first patient this year.
“Governor Christie’s administration has worked to help life science companies like Advaxis and many others succeed here in New Jersey, and his leadership in this field has benefited our state with jobs and economic development, and, more importantly, has facilitated Advaxis’ opportunity to develop its immunotherapies with the goal of helping cancer patients around the world for years to come,” said Mr. O’Connor.