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International aspirations CEO of SCYNEXIS cites the potential of global business as reason for moving company to New Jersey

Marco Taglietti, CEO and president of SCYNEXIS Inc.-(AARON HOUSTON)

Marco Taglietti didn’t have to cast his thoughts too far back to come up with a reason why his biotech company’s move to Jersey City was the right one.He had just stepped off of a plane coming back from Europe.

“Around here, we can take a direct flight to any city in the world very easily,” he said.

The potential for international business expanding as the clinical-stage SCYNEXIS, Inc. potentially brings a product to the market in several years makes such connectivity crucial.

Taglietti, CEO and president of SCYNEXIS, said North Carolina, the state where the company was based before its New Jersey move in 2015, doesn’t have that. … That’s about as far as Taglietti goes in criticisms of the company’s former headquarters. He has his reasons.

“I don’t want to badmouth the place,” he said. “I don’t want any of my many North Carolina friends coming into my office unhappy.”

But he’s certainly not alone in looking to New Jersey from elsewhere as a good place for biotech.

In fact, earlier this month, the Garden State had what BioNJ called a “banner week” after four life science companies – primarily foreign firms choosing to base U.S. operations in the state – announced they were looking to set up shop in New Jersey. Germany, Spain and Belgium were the countries the companies came from, serving as another indicator of the region’s airports being a major incentive.

“These companies see that – and they see that this is where the talent is as well,” said Debbie Hart, CEO and president of BioNJ. “We have such a great culture of innovation and fantastic academic systems in the region.

“New Jersey really does have all the elements it needs to attract biotech.”

Taglietti said that besides the local travel infrastructure, what sold him on the Jersey City location was its proximity to the investors of SCYNEXIS, a firm that is developing a novel antifungal treatment for life-threatening fungal infections.

“The ability to quickly meet with investors in New York was very key in our choice,” Taglietti said.

Jersey City was caught between Manhattan and Boston in considerations of where SCYNEXIS should relocate when the company, as Taglietti put it, “wanted to change its image with a new location.”

It won out over New York largely due to cost considerations, he admitted.

“(And) Boston seemed more suited for very early development,” he added. “It’s an area that seems more geared toward discovery and not late stages of development or early commercialization.”

When people think life sciences in New Jersey, it’s the exceptionally large pharmaceutical companies the Garden State is home to that likely come to mind.

That’s not necessarily a bad thing for smaller biotech firms.

“We weren’t against being in a pool of bigger, more mature companies,” Taglietti said. “There is, however, a growing number of small biotech companies like ours here. And we all tap the expertise of those larger companies.”

What drives the migration of biotech firms to New Jersey is a myriad of factors; the fact that the local industry leans more toward established biotech companies is not being thought of as a knock against it, Taglietti said.

Hart said that’s because of the mutually beneficial relationships between big pharma and smaller companies that are becoming more and more common.

“We’re glad to have facets of the ecosystem being brought together to see where there are opportunities,” Hart said. “Ultimately, we want to make sure that we’re encouraging innovation.

“It goes back to our tag-line at BioNJ – patients can’t wait.”

Brett Johnson