When they read the reports of ricin found in the motel room in Las Vegas, careful readers of U.S. 1 might have recalled a central New Jersey connection to that toxic chemical. Did anyone else notice that DORBiopharma, a firm located at 850 Bear Tavern Road, was working on a vaccine for exposure to ricin?
As reported by Michele Alperin in our January 16 edition, "DOR BioPharma's biodefense division has responded to post-9/11 concerns by developing vaccines to treat ricin toxin and botulism toxin. "We believe we are ahead of everyone else on in the development of a ricin vaccine," says Christopher Schaber, the CEO. DOR has treated humans with the vaccine, showing it can generate antibodies without bad side effects. The vaccine has also been able to protect animals from high doses of toxins that otherwise would have killed them.
"This biodefense work is funded entirely by government grants of approximately $5 million between the two toxin programs. Most of DOR's work so far has been with ricin toxin, and the company was recently awarded a million dollar drug grant to do additional work in humans. For the botulism toxin, DOR is doing formulation and early animal work."
Yes, others did notice DORBiopharma. Within a day of the Las Vegas headlines we saw a Bloomberg News report citing the company's research.
Noting that ricin is derived from castor beans, the source of castor oil, and that some 1 million tons a year are produced worldwide, mostly in India and South America, Bloomberg News quoted the chief scientific officer at DORBiopharma, Robert Brey: "Given the beans' abundance, it wouldn't be that difficult to obtain relatively pure ricin, and it wouldn't take a lot of sophisticated biochemical equipment."
This is one instance when we hope that a U.S. 1 area company does not make any additional national news.
Promise & Peril
If the DORBiopharma story showed the promise of the Information Age, a little item we did last week on a software firm with an Exit 8A address shows the perils.
On February 27 we reported that Levare Software had moved from Iselin to 12 Stults Road in Dayton and had expanded its operations. That information might have been accurate back in November, 2006, when we first reported it. But in fact it appears now that Levare, which has had as many as 25 employees, has left town. No one at its offices is answering phones or responding to faxes, although the company's website - www.levare.com - is still up.
The peril for us in the information processing business is that data so easily attached to a form can easily remain attached to that form. That's what happened in the case of Levare - the old information was stuck in place while we were fishing around trying to determine the new information.
There is a lesson for us and maybe even one for you: If your company recently received a listing form for our annual U.S. 1 Business Directory we hope you will read it carefully and update any old information. We welcome all your changes.