FDA Approval

Celator Pharmaceuticals, 303 B College Road East, Princeton 08540; 609-243-0123; fax, 609-243-0202. Andrew Janoff PhD, CEO. Home page: www.celatorpharma.com.

Celator Pharmaceuticals announced that the U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA) has granted orphan drug designation to CPX-351 (Cytarabine:Daunorubicin) Liposome Injection for the treatment of Acute Myeloid Leukemia (AML).

Celator is currently preparing to conduct two randomized Phase 2 studies with CPX-351. Interim Phase 1 data with CPX-351, where complete remissions were obtained in patients with advanced leukemia, were reported in December 2007.

CPX-351 is a liposomal formulation of cytarabine and daunorubicin delivered in a 5:1 molar ratio shown to be strongly synergistic in preclinical studies. CPX-351 was developed using Celator’s proprietary CombiPlex(R) technology platform.

Orphan drug status is granted to treatments for diseases that affect fewer than 200,000 people in the United States and provides the benefits of market exclusivity for seven years, tax credits, and a waiver of FDA user fees.

“The decision by FDA to grant CPX-351 orphan drug designation reinforces the importance of developing novel products for the treatment of rare diseases and represents another milestone for the company,” said Scott Jackson, chief executive officer of Celator Pharmaceuticals. “We are committed to developing products that will benefit patients and look forward to initiating enrollment in our CPX-351 Phase 2 program.”

The National Cancer Institute defines AML as a quickly progressing disease in which too many immature white blood cells (not lymphocytes) are found in the blood and bone marrow. In 2008, the American Cancer Society’s Cancer Facts and Figures estimates that there will be 13,290 new cases of AML and 8,820 deaths caused by AML.

New Initiative

NJ Physicians, 1 AAA Drive, Hamilton 08691; 609-395-1474. Jay Hedden, executive director. Home page: www.njphysicians.com.

Even doctors need to save money on copy paper — as well as the whole array of products and services it takes to run a medical practice. So, squeezed by managed care companies at one end and an economic downturn at the other, New Jersey’s doctors are banding together as small business owners to save money on supplies and services.

NJ Physicians, an association of New Jersey medical doctors that celebrates its first anniversary this month, has just created a purchasing alliance that will give doctors discounts on everything from children’s vaccines to copy paper.

“New Jersey’s physicians are small business owners, and like all small business owners today we are keenly interested in creative cost-saving measures,” Ronald White, president of NJ Physicians, said in a prepared statement.

While group discounts for professional groups are nothing new, the NJ Physicians Buying Alliance was designed to offer a broader range of products and services. This, combined with NJ Physicians’ current membership — 1,100 and growing — make the initiative potentially one of the largest of its kind in the region.

Ordering is done through the group’s website, www.njphysicians.com, and convenience, along with savings, is part of the pitch.

“It’s a one-stop online shopping solution for our members,” Jay Hedden, executive director of the group, said in a prepared statement. “Physicians today simply do not have the time to look for deals or negotiate contracts for every overhead item. Despite decreasing reimbursements, these costs have continued to increase.”

Early vendor-participants in NJ Physicians’s purchasing plan include pharmaceutical companies Sanofi, Merck, and MedImmune, Florida-based Physicians Sales & Service (PSS), one of the nation’s largest distributors of medical supplies, Ikon Office Solutions, a supplier of document management systems and services; Prime Pay, a payroll services company; HSBC Bank; and Staples. Insurance and law firms are also on the vendors list. The plan is only available to members of the organization, who must first call to enroll and activate an account.

Law Firm Merger

After 111 years on its own, the law firm of Synnestvedt and Lechner has merged with Fox-Rothschild.

The merger, made official on September 1, combines the oldest intellectual property law firm in the region with one of the fastest growing. The merger adds eight patent attorneys and two patent agents to Fox Rothschild’s intellectual property department, which was developed about three years ago.

According to Dick Woodbridge, a partner at Synnestvedt and Lechner, the deal was done “because it was just time.” A growing trend in law, Woodbridge says, is the disappearance of “boutique” law firms like Synnestvedt. Larger more varied firms are replacing specialists, making it difficult for boutique firms to thrive. There was a time when partners in law firms generally stayed put for life. Not anymore. In fact, jumping from firm to firm is only accelerating. This happened to Synnestvedt starting last year, when some of the firm’s partners left to join Fox Rothschild, Woodbridge says.

“It’s a little sad when these things happen, but you can’t fight progress,” he says. Still, with a number of former colleagues already at Fox, Woodbridge says, the merger is “somewhat like a reunion.”

Besides progress, Woodbridge says the merger enhances Synnestvedt’s operations by allowing it to tap into Fox’s “back office” capabilities — billing, accounting, and the like. The deal, in return, enhances Fox Rothschild by adding decades of experience to its ranks.

According to Gerard Norton, chair of Fox Rothschild’s IP department Synnestvedt is particularly strong in the life-science fields — biotechnology, pharmaceuticals, and medical devices — and in the chemical and electrical areas.

Joseph Posillico, Gary Hecht, and Woodbridge will become partners at Fox Rothschild. Synnesdtvedt will move into Fox’s site on Lenox Drive “in the next month or so,” according to Woodbridge.

Woodbridge says hewas swayed by Phil Griffin, a partner at Fox, whom he has known for 30 years. After speaking with Griffin, Woodbridge says “it just seemed like a natural fit.”

Fox Rothschild LLP, 997 Lenox Drive, Building Three, Suite 301, Box 5231, Princeton 08543-5231; 609-896-3600; fax, 609-896-1469. James F.X. Rudy, office managing partner. www.foxrothschild.com.

Synnestvedt & Lechner LLP, 112 Nassau Street, Box 592, Princeton 08542-0592; 609-924-3773; fax, 609-924-1811. Richard Woodbridge, managing partner. Home page: www.synnlech.com.

Deaths

David Wittemeier on September 9. He was controller for the U.S. markets for Derma Sciences.

Ronald Wells, 66, on September 8. He was a 34-year employee of Princeton University.

Gordon Mack, 81, on September 8. Retired from the YMCA of the USA, where he implemented the organization’s diversity program, he was the first chairman of Princeton’s Commission on Civil Rights.

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