Father of PEGylation to Receive Dr. Sol J. Barer Award at Gateway Gala, BioNJ’s 22st Annual Dinner Meeting, Networking Event and Innovation Celebration

TRENTON, N.J.–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Abraham Abuchowski, Ph.D., considered the father of PEGylation, the most widely used protein drug delivery system in the world which has helped save and improve thousands of lives, including many with “Bubble Boy Disease,” will be honored with the 2015 Dr. Sol J. Barer Award for Vision, Innovation and Leadership, at the Gateway Gala, BioNJ’s 22nd Annual Dinner Meeting, Networking Event and Innovation Celebration on Feb. 5 at the Hilton, East Brunswick, NJ. Dr. Barer will present the award.

“As our founding Chairman, Abe’s vision set a direction and tone for this organization that is still having an impact today”

PEGylation defines the modification of a protein, peptide or non-peptide molecule by the linking of one or more polyethylene glycol (PEG) chains. Medicines developed with a PEGylation delivery system have several advantages, including a prolonged residence in body, a decreased degradation by metabolic enzymes and a reduction or elimination of protein immunogenicity. Thanks to these favorable properties, PEGylation plays an important role in drug delivery, enhancing the potentials of peptides and proteins as therapeutic agents.

“Dr. Abuchowski has had a long and lasting impact on biotechnology in New Jersey and beyond,” said Sol J. Barer, Ph.D, the former chairman and CEO of Celgene Corporation for whom the award is named. “Based on the innovative technology of PEGylation that he helped pioneer, Abe founded one of the first successful biotech companies in the state. His vision for the industry helped drive the formation of BioNJ as its founding Chairman and through his leadership he continues to foster research into areas that have the potential to benefit millions of patients around the world.”

Dr. Abuchowski is currently the CEO and CSO of Prolong Pharmaceuticals. Research at Prolong is concentrated on finding treatments for anemias, cancers and their debilitating comorbidities. A portfolio of hematology and oncology products that use PEGylation technology is in development. Located in South Plainfield, the company announced in December 2014 that it was doubling its manufacturing operations to 24,000 square feet and relocating to a new 12,000 square-foot headquarters.

The development of PEGylation was part of his 1981 Doctoral thesis at Rutgers University, which earned him the moniker, “the Father of PEGylation”. In 1983, Dr. Abuchowski left Rutgers to develop PEGylation commercially by founding Enzon, Inc. as a spinout from the University. Enzon was the first biotechnology company in New Jersey to obtain FDA approval of a product.

Enzon’s first milestone drug was ADAGEN, the uses of which included the treatment of severe combined immunodeficiency (SCID), a rare genetic disease of metabolism that is also known as “Bubble Boy Disease.”

A Public Advocate for the Growth of Biotechnology in New Jersey

In addition to his groundbreaking work with PEGylation, Dr. Abuchowski played a pivotal role in the creation and development of BioNJ, which was formerly known as the Biotechnology Council of New Jersey (BCNJ).

Dr. Abuchowski was among a group of New Jersey life science executives who recognized the need for an advocacy organization to help the then emerging biotechnology industry realize its potential to discover and develop new medicines and contribute to the economy. He was elected as the organization’s first Chairman in 1994.

“As our founding Chairman, Abe’s vision set a direction and tone for this organization that is still having an impact today,” said Debbie Hart, President and CEO of BioNJ. “I was fortunate to have been involved with Dr. Abuchowski and his colleagues in the founding of BioNJ and it has been an honor and pleasure from this vantage point to have the opportunity to learn from and work with him and to watch as he continues to help patients and advance the life sciences industry in New Jersey and around the world.”

About the Dr. Sol J. Barer Award

The Dr. Sol J. Barer Award for Vision, Innovation, and Leadership was established by the BioNJ Board of Trustees in March 2008 in an effort to recognize the outstanding research and business leaders who have made and continue to make significant contributions to the growth of the biosciences in New Jersey and around the world. The honoree is voted on by the BioNJ Board of Trustees from a recommendation based on nominations received by the Nominating Committee. The award is named for Sol J. Barer, Ph.D., who founded the biotechnology group at Celanese that was subsequently spun out to form Celgene, one of the world’s largest biotechnology companies.

Past award recipients since 2008 have included Dr. Barer; Dr. Lisa Drakeman, former President and CEO of Genmab; John H. Johnson, then President of Global Oncology and Senior Vice President of Eli Lilly and Company; John Crowley, Chairman and CEO of Amicus Therapeutics; Paul G. Thomas, Founder and CEO of Roka Bioscience; Francois Nader, M.D., President and CEO of NPS Pharma; and Stuart W. Peltz, Ph.D, CEO of PTC Therapeutics.

For a picture of Dr. Abuchowski, please go to: http://bionj.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/01/Abe-Abuckowski.jpg

About BioNJ’s Annual Meeting

BioNJ’s Annual Meeting brings together executives of biotechnology and pharmaceutical companies, professional service providers, government officials, academic leaders and others for an evening of networking, business discussions and award presentations. Nearly 700 people attended the 2014 Annual Meeting.

For more information, please go to http://bionj.org/event/22nd-annual-dinner-meeting-networking-event.

About Prolong Pharmaceuticals

Headquartered in South Plainfield, New Jersey, Prolong Pharmaceuticals LLC is developing products to treat several diseases and their debilitating comorbidities which cause reduced quality of life, increased medical cost and significant mortality. The company’s lead product, SANGUINATE™, is in clinical testing, focused on treating the comorbidities of sickle cell disease and other disorders where oxygen deprivation due to hemolysis and/or ischemia occurs. The company’s senior management team includes inventors of the most successful drug delivery technology in pharmaceutical history, PEGylation, now responsible for more than $30 billion in drug sales worldwide. For more information, visit: www.prolongpharma.com.

About BioNJ

BioNJ is The Gateway to Health, a powerful network of 400 Member Investors representing research-based life sciences companies and other contributors to a vibrant ecosystem where Science is Supported, Companies are Created, Drugs are Developed and Patients are Paramount. Because Patients Can’t Wait, BioNJ is dedicated to propelling this rich, innovation hub forward in New Jersey and beyond to help stimulate the discovery, development and commercialization of therapies and cures to save and improve lives and lessen the burden of illness and disease to society. As the industry’s voice in New Jersey, BioNJ fulfills its mission to help companies help patients by driving capital formation and fostering entrepreneurship, advocating for public policies that advance medical innovation, providing access to talent and education, and offering a cost-saving array of critical commercial resources.

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