Robert Bloder, Chief Business Officer,

ASCENDIA PHARMACEUTICALS

"We were excited to secure equity investment from Signet Healthcare Partners and have since almost doubled in size in both our capacity and talent pool."

Can you provide an update on Ascendia Pharmaceuticals’ activities over the past year?

2021 was an extremely busy year for Ascendia. We were excited to secure equity investment from Signet Healthcare Partners and have since almost doubled in size in both our capacity and talent pool. We were looking for the right opportunities to take the leap to expand our capabilities, and the partnership with Signet gave us the funds to mitigate significant supply chain disruptions, enabling us to place our orders for equipment and follow through with our delivery promises. We expanded our facility from 27,000 to 60,000 square feet and continue to increase our sterile and non-sterile GMP capabilities.

2021 was record-breaking in terms of revenue, bookings and billings. We continued operations through the pandemic and were fortunate to not shut down for a single day. As such, we could continue to provide important oncological, cardiovascular and CNS-related services, and we are working on expanding our capabilities into commercial within the next year.

What innovative trends in the life sciences is Ascendia currently focused on?

Our technologies are designed for the vaccine space to help reduce injection site reactions, an important aspect when inoculating large populations as reactions can deter people from participating or following up.

Ascendia also encapsulates proteins, peptides, and biologics, allowing for protection from hostile environments in the gut or other areas. We are focused on what our technology can do for product profiles to be more accessible to the entire population, including the elderly and children.

What does the drug clopidogrel demonstrate about the power of nano-emulsion technology?

Clopidogrel is the “gold standard” for the treatment of acute coronary syndrome and is only commercially available as a solid, oral product, so administering it in an emergency situation when a patient is choking or with a compromised airway adds to the patient’s issues that need to be resolved. Additionally, when delivered orally, there is a two to five hour delay in the time required for the medicine to become effective. Through our EMULSOL nano-emulsion technology, Ascendia has formulated the free-base form of clopidogrel into a stable nano-emulsion that has an onset of action in minutes in an injectable delivery.

Can you elaborate on the benefits that Ascendia’s AMORSOL and NANOSOL technologies bring to your clients?

Our AMORSOL technology is used to produce amorphous solid dispersions, greatly improving a drug’s solubility and dissolution kinetics. This technology yields pharmaceutical products with enhanced bioavailability, reduced food-effect, faster onset of action, and controlled release of poorly soluble drugs. With NANOSOL, our nano solutions technology, we can control stability in solutions and droplets for a longer period and significantly increase the surface area available for dissolution. These nano-solutions can be so small that they appear as clear as water, making them more desirable in ophthalmic applications. We are very interested in leveraging this technology in the ocular space.

How would you rate New Jersey as a regional hub for innovation in life sciences?

The life science industry is immensely impactful for the state of New Jersey and extremely influential on its people, particularly the work done by organizations such as BioNJ. While innovation is global and the pandemic has shown us how much can be accomplished in a virtual environment, geographical footing is still critical. In New Jersey there is a wealth of institutional knowledge matched with state-of-the-art resources, allowing for truly impressive innovation where organizations like BioNJ are making great progress in connecting patients and families to ground-breaking accomplishments that can improve the quality of life for many of us who call New Jersey home.

Looking into the future, how will Ascendia grow its operations?

Ascendia will work on maintaining its strong company culture signified by BEST (Brilliant technology, Excellent service, Superior quality, and Trust) while simultaneously scaling its technological capabilities and workforce to meet client needs. Customers who come to us with a problem and leave with a solution often return because of the trust we have built. We aim to grow with our customers, becoming an integral part of their strategic plans by greatly enhancing their product portfolios and pipelines. In terms of our offerings, we will continue to expand our sterile technology for vaccines, proteins, peptides, and biologics.