Forget food, go with pharma. Rick Granato had been delivering point-of-sale video commercials to supermarkets for In-Store Broadcasting Network. Now as senior vice president of sales and marketing for MediVista Media, he is bringing similar services — point-of-care service — to doctors’ offices. He retains the same office space on Chambers Street.
In-Store Broadcasting (U.S. 1, March 15, 2006), Granato says, is doing “okay, but not great.” He feels that MediVista Media offers “a huge opportunity to get back into the point-of-care marketing business.”
“Companies that want to advertise are looking for a new venue,” says Granato. With TIVO screening out television ads and increasing use of the Internet, he says, “we are identifying an environment where they can reach a targeted audience where healthcare decisions are being made.” He has also recruited Andy Friedheim, who worked with him at In-Store, as VP of sales and marketing.
MediVista Media is the parent company that will be offering a series of television networks in doctors’ offices through Everwell Heart Health. With a focus on specialist practices in cardiology, endocrinology, and oncology, the waiting-room television network is, says Granato, a tool for physicians to communicate key practice information to patients while they wait.
A cardiology office, for example, would run an hour-long program loop with information on heart-health content, including diet and exercise, meal tips, and interviews with patients who have suffered a cardiac event. The loop would also include advertising messages from pharmaceuticals and package-goods companies with products like health cereals. Finally, the loop would include practice-specific information like office hours or insurance issues.
For patients who watch the loop, which is intended to be entertaining as well as educational, says Granato, “it makes the perceived wait time seem less.” The content is shuffled every hour, changing the order of the segments, and it is refreshed monthly.
The company formed six months ago, and Granato was brought on to build a sales and marketing team in Princeton, because of its concentration of healthcare companies. He is working with the brands that area companies want to promote in the physician-office venue via advertising and both sponsorship and in-office sampling programs.
Similar services are in place in hospitals, and the largest point-of-care healthcare supplier, AccentHealth (based in Tampa, Florida) delivers original programming from CNN to nearly 11,000 medical waiting rooms nationwide.
MediVista Media has developed a library of original content on 15 different editorial topics, including meal makeovers, where dietitians offer more helpful ways to make meals; stump the doc; and quizzes, with its own crew of programmers, writers, and editors. The network is preparing to go live in 25 pilot sites in central New Jersey and Atlanta, Georgia, where the company is headquartered. It plans to roll out nationally to several thousand sites over the next 18 to 24 months.
MediVista Media has substantial funding from some private venture capitalists who at present wish to remain anonymous.
MediVista Media, 34 Chambers Street, Suite 206, Princeton 08540; 609-924-9030; fax, 609-924-1012. Rick Granato, senior vice president, sales and marketing. Home page: www.medivistamedia.com.
For Family Ties
Looking Back DVD Productions, 12 Hulse Street, Robbinsville 08691; 732-358-6885. Dianna David, owner. Home page: www.lookingbackdvd.com.
Dianna and Steve David aim to preserve memories by creating DVD slideshows or hardcover photo albums from photos, slides, and negatives. They opened their firm, Looking Back DVD Productions, in May.
Dianna, who grew up in Vernon, wanted to open a business where she could “exercise my creative side and at the same time make people feel good.” With a 1993 degree from the College of New Jersey in early childhood education and English, she had been a teacher of pre-kindergarten and kindergarten classes at Bright Horizons Family Solutions and was eventually promoted to director of a new center. She was able to bring her daughter with her to work, but after she had her son, she decided she wanted to stay at home.
She and her husband eventually decided to develop a home business built on her avocational work creating family scrapbooks and movies. “I’ve always made scrapbooks of trips and family events,” she says. “It has snowballed into being able to share that talent with other people.”
Her DVD slide shows and scrapbooks use family photos from her customers, which she cleans up on the computer. For the covers, she enhances a photo selected by the customer with stickers, ribbons, and other embellishments as well as paper of different textures. What she includes on the back cover of a DVD depends on the reason behind it. For a birthday, for example, she might include trivia about what happened historically on the date.
The firm offers several packages: 40 pictures and a song is $65 plus tax; 40 pictures in an album is $79.99 plus tax and shipping. For both versions, the price is $140.99.
“My goal is to make it fun for people,” says Dianna,” and make a unique gift for someone else or for themselves.” And, of course, she can do it when her children, now six and three, are napping or at night. And luckily her husband is happy being her software engineer. A computer science major at the College of New Jersey from the class of 1994, he has been a software engineer at Johnson and Johnson and Covance.
— Michele Alperin
The owner of a physical therapy clinic, Vital Health Care Services, formerly at 1330 Parkway Avenue in Ewing, was sentenced on June 12 to 54 months in federal prison for Medicare fraud.
Chidi Ikeh, 44, who also owned a clinic in Cherry Hill, admitted that from 2002 to 2006 he fraudulently received $3.79 million from Medicare by submitting false claims.
On his return from his native country, Nigeria, last September, Ikeh was arrested and held without bail. Before U.S. District Judge Garrett E. Brown, he pleaded guilty to one count each of health care fraud and wire fraud.
Sometimes, Ikeh said, he affirmed to Medicare that services were provided by certified therapists (as required by law) when, in fact, they were performed by van drivers, receptionists, and others with no qualifications or certifications in physical therapy. He also said he offered money, food, and raffle prizes to induce patients to return for therapy, and that he failed to have a licensed physician on site at all times that physical therapy was being performed. He also admitted that his records showed that procedures were performed when, in fact, they were not done.
According to U.S. 1’s database, Vital Health Care offered pain management and rehabilitation, home care, and courtesy transportation. It did not respond to an opportunity to be listed in the U.S. 1 Health and Fitness Directory in 2005, and by the spring of 2006 it had closed.
Ikeh has a home in Houston, Texas. Of the $6.7 million he received from Medicare over four years, he is supposed to repay $3.79 million. The federal system does not allow for parole.
The fraud investigators at the state’s largest insurance company, New Jersey Manufacturers Insurance, uncovered sufficient evidence to win a $1 million settlement against an East Orange chiropractor for conducting tests using unauthorized technicians. One of the technicians was a 15-year-old boy.
According to the lawsuit, Sean Nisivoccia’s office conducted fraudulent nerve conduction velocity tests on 60 auto accident victims over a five year period.
Because the tests themselves were illegal, NJM argued, all treatment expenses allegedly justified by the tests were fraudulently billed and should be recovered. Also involved in the lawsuit were one chiropractor and three doctors because they allegedly referred patients for the illegal testing.
“Medical fraud involves more than just money,” said Anthony G. Dickson, NJM’s CEO. “While most medical practitioners have the utmost concern for the well-being of their patients, dishonest doctors may take risks that can endanger their patients. Doctors who are proven to be dishonest should lose their licenses, be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law, and be sent to jail.”
Gary Reba, who has a dental practice at Princeton Meadows in Plainsboro, pleaded guilty to entering the wrong dates on insurance claims but received no jail time. On June 28 Superior Court Judge Frederick P. DeVesa sentenced Reba to three years’ probation and a $75,000 fine.
The charges against Reba were third-degree theft by deception and fourth-degree falsifying records. Reba had said that, if he had entered the correct dates, the patients involved would not have had dental-insurance coverage, or they would have exceeded the limits of their dental insurance for that year.
The investigators were Norma R. Evans, deputy attorney general, along with Scott Naismyth and Gina Lemanowicz. The insurance companies involved included Horizon Blue Cross/Blue Shield of New Jersey, Prudential, MetLife, and Aetna.
The prosecutor, Greta Gooden Brown, noted that anyone concerned about insurance cheating can report it anonymously by calling the toll-free hotline 877-55-FRAUD or going to www.NJInsuranceFraud.org). Those willing to identify themselves are, under state law, eligible to receive a cash award.
Digital Surroundings, 11 Princess Road, Lawrenceville 08648; 609-912-1800; fax, 609-912-1801. R.C. Wakin, president. www.digitalsurroundings.com.
Digital Surroundings recently expanded into a 5,000-square-foot space on Princess Road. Its design and integration professionals implement home systems in both new and existing homes.
The firm originated in Princeton and then opened a second office in White Sulphur Springs, West Virginia, at the Greenbrier resort, where it has installed systems in a residential vacation home development project.
Noting that typical projects are “in the six-figure range,” president Chris Wakin says that people have the wrong idea when they think about his industry. They either think about home theater or about a “geek squad” helping to install a computer and network.
But the focus of Digital Surroundings is much wider. It includes not just bringing together audio, video, communications, phone, and data, but also controls for lights, heating and air conditioning, motorized window treatments, and surveillance cameras and even enabling the remote selection of music. “We also do hidden installations where you push a button and things magically come out of ceilings and walls,” he says.
Serving customers who are primarily residential, with some commercial, multi-dwelling units, and high-end condos, the firm does some remote jobs in locations as far as Florida and California.
Better Homes NJ, 1340 Route 206, Skillman 08558. 609-514-5143; fax, 609-514-5147. Darius Rotaru, broker manager. Home page: www.betterhomesnj.com.
A real estate agency, Better Homes NJ, just moved from shared space at 5 Independence Way in Princeton to Route 206. It is based in Hazlet.
Washington Group International (WGII), 510 Carnegie Center, Princeton 08540-5287; 609-720-2000; fax, 609-720-2050. Louis E. Pardi, president, power business unit. Home page: www.wgint.com.
Washington Group International announced a contract to help FutureGen, an initiative to build a first-of-its-kind, coal-fueled, near-zero emissions electric power plant. Up to 20 of the 830 employees at the Carnegie Center will work on architectural, design, and engineering support services for the $1 billion 275-megawatt plant, slated for Texas or Illinois.
The FutureGen project is sponsored by the federal government and a consortium of coal and gas companies. Its prototype will be the world’s first integrated carbon sequestration and hydrogen gas production research power plant.
This plant will generate electricity while capturing and permanently storing carbon dioxide, a greenhouse gas, deep underground. It is also supposed to convert coal to hydrogen gas. However both the stored carbon dioxide and the hydrogen can be used. The CO2 can be used to produce more oil, and the hydrogen can generate power.
Washington Group International has 25,000 employees globally and more than $3 billion in annual revenue. The Princeton engineers have until next March to select the technologies for coal gasification and for gas and power generation, and then do the design and engineering work.
Carbozyme Inc., 1 Deer Park Drive, Princeton Corporate Plaza, Suite H-3, Monmouth Junction 08852; 732-274-0657; fax, 866-332-3005. Michael C. Trachtenberg, CEO. Home page: www.cz-na.com.
On Deer Park Drive, Carbozyme has a DOE contract for a different technology — post combustion cleanup. The 16-year-old firm has using more than $7.2 million from the DOE to develop near zero emission PC power plants focusing on CO2 capture.
Carbozyme is working on new carbon dioxide capture technologies. It has a high efficiency, low energy, liquid membrane system designed to capture and separate carbon dioxide from various gas streams.
EPV (Energy Photovoltaics Inc.), 276 Bakers Basin Road, Box 7456, Princeton 08543-7456; 609-587-3000; fax, 609-587-5355. Scott T. Massie, CEO. Home page: www.epv.net.
Energy Photovoltaics has raised $77.5 million to increase its capacity to manufacture photovoltaic solar-energy module machinery. The funds are in senior secured notes that are convertible into common stock.
“This capital will allow us to take our solar technology and proprietary manufacturing process and transition EPV into a high-volume, low-cost producer of world class thin-film solar modules and products,” said CEO Scott T. Massie in a prepared statement. “EPV’s 15-year experience in developing its own manufacturing equipment means that we can expand our manufacturing capacity quickly and on a highly competitive cost basis.”
The 16-year-old firm plans to complete up to 25 mega-watts of expansion in New Jersey by the second quarter of next year. Overall, it wants to increase more than 85 mega-watts every year, and it is considering new locations in the United States and Europe. It already has joint ventures in Portugal and Taiwan.
Arbinet-thexchange Inc. (ARBX), 120 Albany Street, Tower II, Suite 450, New Brunswick 08901; 732-509-9100; fax, 732-509-9101. Roger H. Moore, interim CEO. Home page: www.arbinet.com.
In an effort to improve shareholder return, an online marketplace for bandwidth, Arbinet, has decided to repurchase up to $15 million of its common stock. It also replaced its CEO, J. Curt Hockemier, with Roger H. Moore as interim CEO and Robert C. Atkinson as chairman. Moore had been CEO of Illuminet Holdings until his retirement six years ago.
Arbinet bills itself as having the world’s largest electronic marketplace for communications trading. It wanted to go public in 2000 but pulled back at the last minute. When it had its IPO in 2004, it was priced at $17.50, but the stock has been trading for below $7 since last year.
Arbinet’s online trading platform serves 808 fixed and mobile service providers as they buy, sell, deliver and settle more than 12 billion minutes per year. Its clients also include more than 200 ISPs and content sites and more than 75 global broadband networks. Its peering community has 78 providers that provide call by call routing to 269 million customers. It also has a platform for licensing and distributing digital content from such services as iTunes, Rhapsody, Napster and Beatport.
Arbinet’s board had been under attack from a class-action lawsuit that claimed the company traded ahead of its IPO. Arbinet denies this claim, but last year Arbinet’s chief financial officer, John Roberts, left the firm. The board had been thinking of selling the company but decided, instead, on the stock repurchase plan.
The new CEO, Moore, has a bachelor of science in general science from Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University. He has been president of AT&T Canada and Nortel Japan. He successfully sold Illuminet Holdings, which provides intelligent network and signaling services to communications carriers, to VeriSign.
New in Town
L-3 Communications Titan Corporation, 15 Roszel Road, Suite 102, Box 2229, Princeton 08543; 609-452-2950; fax, 609-452-2856. Larry Harper. Home page: www.titan.com.
Early this spring a 10-person office of L-3 Communications, the ARAP Group, moved from Washington Road to Roszel Road. According to a spokesperson, the scientists and analysts develop and apply numerical models and relevant software to predict atmospheric transit of hazardous materials.
The parent company, L-3, is a New York-based holding company that acquired some parts of the Titan company. Nine of the 10 employees here are scientists.
NexMed (USA) Inc. (NEXM), 89 Twin Rivers Drive, East Windsor 08520; 609-371-8123; fax, 609-426-9116. Vivian Liu, CEO. Home page: www.nexmed.com.
Vivian Liu is the new CEO of NexMed Inc., replacing Richard Berman who is now board chairman. NexMed develops new transdermal products based on its proprietary NexACT drug delivery technology.
Liu has a BA from the University of California at Berkeley and an MPA in international finance from the University of Southern California. She was an economic attache at the Delegation du Quebec in Los Angeles and, in 1994, joined Nexmed, where she has been chief financial officer, executive vice president and, as of last June, chief operating officer.
One of the company’s strategies is to persuade drug companies to use NexAct’s transdermal delivery to extend the patent lifespans of their current drugs. Among its own products are Alprox-TD and Femprox creams for ED and female sexual arousal disorder, respectively. It has also licensed its delivery system to Novartis International Pharmaceutical to commercialize a nail lacquer treatment for nail fungus.
Manufacturing Automation Corporation, Box 644, Princeton 08542; 908-369-3161; fax, 908-369-1262. Ray Sickinger, CEO. Home page: www.mfgauto.com.
A five-day water quality test used by drug makers can be drastically shortened, says Ray Sickinger, CEO of Manufacturing Automation Corporation (MAC). Luminultra Technologies Ltd., a high technology water testing firm, will partner with MAC to provide such services as water treatment verification and biological process control. MAC is a Hillsborough engineering firm, with a mailing address on Palmer Square, that focuses on clients regulated by the Food and Drug Administration — not just pharmaceuticals and biotechs, but also manufacturers of foods, cosmetics, and neutraceuticals.
Sickinger says the Luminultra luminometer will transform a $125 test that requires a five-day waiting period into an $8 test that takes just 15-minutes. The test measures the “bioburden” (what is in the water — dead or alive) more accurately than competing test kits, he claims. This measurement is necessary for FDA-regulated products. Until now, says Sickinger, his clients have had to send in samples on Monday and get the results on Friday. “They have a five-day time frame where they don’t know the condition of the water.”
Sickinger, 62, grew up in the Manayunk section of Philadelphia, where his father was a mechanical engineer in the steel industry. He went to Temple on the GI Bill and has worked at DuPont, Digital Equipment Corporation, Foxboro Company, and Allen-Bradley Rockwell International. He founded this firm in 1989.
MAC’s clients pay from $100,000 to $200,000 for GMP facility design, construction management, project management, quality oversight specification review, development systems installation, commissioning, startup, and rollout validation. “We help clients design their new facilities,” says Sickinger. “Engineers and architects don’t have any knowledge of federal regulations.” Among his 38 employees are those in offices in San Juan, Puerto Rico, and Hong Kong. He considers his post office box in Princeton an important marketing tool for his company. “The Chinese don’t know New Jersey, but everyone in China knows Princeton,” he says, “because half of them went to Princeton.”
Barrier Therapeutics Inc. BTRX, 600 College Road East, Suite 3200, Princeton 08540; 609-945-1200; fax, 609-945-1212. Geert Cauwenbergh, CEO. www.barriertherapeutics.com.
Zinc oxide ointment need not be the last resort for parents worried about severe diaper rash, diaper dermatitis, the kind that is complicated by a fungal infection known as Candida. Barrier Therapeutics, which licenses dermatological products from Johnson & Johnson.
Barrier has a product called Vusion which contains, not only zinc oxide and white petrolatum ointment, but a minute amount of miconazole nitrate. The firm has just released a new size of Vusion Ointment, says Al Altomari, chief operating officer. It is the only prescription product approved in the U.S. for the treatment of diaper dermatitis.
Also, Barrier has extended its own 60-person sales force by signing up to have a larger firm, Novartis Consumer Health, promote Vusion Ointment.
NRG Energy Inc. (NRG), 211 Carnegie Center, Princeton 08540-6213; 609-524-4500; fax, 609-524-4501. David Crane, president and CEO. www.nrgenergy.com.
NRG is joining global companies such as Ford, IBM, and Intel by joining Chicago Climate Exchange, the world’s first voluntary and legally binding greenhouse gas emissions allowance trading system. NRG is a merchant power generator with 5,540 plants in four countries, 3,800 employees worldwide, including 240 at 211 and 104 Carnegie Center.
“Joining the Chicago Climate Exchange is part of our ongoing program to increase our carbon awareness, track our emissions, and address climate change proactively,” said CEO David Crane, in a statement. “A cap-and-trade system, like CCX’s, will minimize the cost of achieving carbon reductions because it allows the lowest cost emission reductions to be used to help meet reduction targets.”
Emissions trading allows companies to trade or exchange rights to produce greenhouse-gas pollution with other companies that have difficulty meeting emissions standards. CCX is the world’s only global system for emissions trading based on all six greenhouse gases.
Said Richard Sandor, CEO of CCX: “CCX is proud of the contribution NRG will make and we look forward to their collaboration and participation.”
Trade Art and Frame, 45 Stouts Lane, Suite 1, Monmouth Junction 0885.
Trade Art and Frame, a framer of art, photography, pictures, and mirrors, has left town. The phone is disconnected, and no other number is available. The company was founded in 1991 by Michael Yahr (U.S. 1, June 22, 1994).
Norman L. Aronson, 83, on June 15. Former vice president of Esquire magazine, he was editor and publisher of “Q,” Physicians Guide to Quality. He also owned the Kings Court restaurant in Princeton, predecessor to the Alchemist & Barrister.
Lawrence E. McHugh, 57, on July 20. A marketing consultant for the restaurant industry, he was president of M-Zone Consulting on Princeton-Hightstown Road.