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This article by Barbara Fox & Kathleen McGinn Spring was prepared for the October 15, 2003 edition of U.S. 1 Newspaper. All rights reserved.
Life in the Fast Lane
A $70 million redevelopment of the old American Standard
toilet factory near the Hamilton train station is being planned by
a company based in Conshohocken, Pennsylvania.
Erick Kolar, president of Preferred Real Estate Investments Inc.,
will divide the 112-acre Sloan Avenue tract into two parcels and is
naming it the American Metro project. On the 65-acre parcel, using
part of the factory where toilets were made, he will build a 472,458-square-foot
office complex and subdivision. Employing union labor, Kolar plans
to start construction by the end of this year and have the first phase
— 160,765 square feet — occupied by next summer.
In giving final approval for the first phase on Thursday, October
9, the township planning board required Kolar to make traffic improvements.
The office complex could house from 1,600 to 2,000 workers. Nothing
has been decided about what will happen to the remaining 47 acres.
An ultra-tiny motor small enough to travel through a
person’s bloodstream to help repair damaged cells, organs and DNA
— that’s the not-so-impossible task set by three Rutgers engineering
departments — mechanical, biomedical, and biochemical. The three
departments received a four-year $1,050,017 grant from the National
Science Foundation’s Nanoscale Science and Engineering program to
build a prototype of the "Viral Protein Nano Motor."
The term "nano" refers to nanotechnology, or the science of
working with atom- or molecule-sized building blocks. The nano motor
will be so small that 50,000 of them could line up, width-wise, on
a human hair.
Rutgers scientists will use biological molecules derived from virus-based
proteins to build a super tiny motor that can perform a linear opening
and closing motion. It might also be able to spin, stretch, or sense
temperature or position.
The ambitious project of developing these bio-nano motors has been
compared to designing the internal combustion engine, which led to
the automobile and the airplane. "Two years ago, our ideas seemed
very ambitious, like science fiction. Now it’s becoming a reality,"
says Constantinos Mavroidis, Rutgers associate professor of mechanical
and aerospace engineering and principal investigator on the project
Valera Pharmaaceutical’s Hydron Implant technology for
palliative treatment of advanced prostate cancer has just passed Phase
III clinical trials. This flexible implant provides 12 months of controlled
delivery of Histrelin and can be inserted at a physician’s office
with a local anesthetic.
In 1993 the firm, founded in 1972 as Hydro Med Sciences, had 25 people
and $2 million in revenues. Now the firm has no revenues (revenues
are hoped for in 2004) and employs 17 people. When David Tierney replaced
Robert Feinberg as president in 2000 he made some big changes, such
as the name. It represents the Latin root word for "strength"
and is meant to imply that the firm has repositioned itself for long-term
Early in 2002 Tierney led Valera to reacquire the rights to the implant
and accelerate the Phase III development. The next step is get approval
from the Food and Drug Administration. Petr Kuzma remains the chief
science officer and is an expert on hydrogel polymers.
Valera had been a division of the publicly held GP Strategies Corporation.
It is now a closely held private firm, but GP remains a majority shareholder.
Recently the company raised $20 million in two rounds led by an affiliate
of Houston investment bank Sanders Morris Harris, along with Wheatley
Partners, a Manhattan-based venture capital firm. Paladin Labs in
Canada has licensed the Canadian rights for the implant product.
Competitors to the Valera implant are the one-year titanium implant
developed by Alza Pharmaceuticals (now Johnson & Johnson) and licensed
to Bayer of Germany. It has been on the market for two years, but
as Matthew Rue, a Valera spokesperson, points out, "the market
we are entering is $1 billion and Alza’s product has under $100 million
of that." Other products, injections that work for three or four
months, include Lupron, a joint venture between Abbott and Takeda
America that has three-fourths of the market, and Zoladex, by Astra
Corporate Center, Cranbury 08512. David Tierney, president. 609-409-9010;
Mercer County Community College is one of 10 community
colleges that are sharing $800,000 in state monies to upgrade the
skills of psychiatric hospital employees. MCCC’s Center for Training
and Development will use its portion of the grant, $60,000, to provide
training in math, communication and English as a Second Language to
150 employees of Trenton Psychiatric Hospital, Anne Klein Forensic
Hospital and the State of New Jersey’s Office of Education. Training
begins in November.
& Development, 1200 Old Trenton Road, Box B, Trenton 08690. Nunzio
Cernero, director. 609-586-4800; fax, 609-890-6338.
Princeton 08540. Sanjiv Kakkar, president and COO. 609-520-9779; fax,
Global Reliance, a company in the business of importing vegetables
from India, is expanding to new markets. The company’s American office,
formerly on Princeton-Hightstown Road and on Wallace Road, has purchased
an office at 12 Roszel Road to provide stability for its key workers.
"The company needs more space for targeted growth to sales of
$27 million," says Jay Sikand, director of marketing.
Global has 300 employees in India, where they freeze and can vegetables.
Shipping costs are high, but low processing costs make the products
competitive with U.S.-produced vegetables. The company’s staple is
mushrooms. There are always shortages of mushrooms in the U.S., says
Sikand, so there is a good market. But, he says, profit margins are
extremely low, which is another reason for adding products.
Global, which sells to the U.S. food market through Mitsui Foods,
one of the largest buyers, is expanding its potato offerings. Gourmet
potatoes present difficulties for U.S. farmers and manufacturers.
For one thing, says Sikand, soil conditions in the U.S. are such that
a lot of moisture gets into the potatoes. For another, picking the
small gourmet potatoes is labor intensive, and therefore, too expensive.
The company does well with the potatoes in India, where labor costs
are low, and is introducing a new product, scoop potatoes. ("Business
is Mushrooming — From Spuds to Software," U.S. 1, April 3,
2002). As Sikand describes the scooped-out, cheddar and bacon filled
potatoes, they sound suspiciously American. He goes on to say that
the company’s researchers are working on stuffing tiny, low-moisture
potatoes with these ingredients. The aim, he says, is to come up with
a filled potato that will fry in under a minute.
That sounds very American, and that turns out to be the point. "This
is the third generation we’re marketing to," says Sikand. "They
were born and brought up here." The first generation, he says,
wanted little to do with new foods. The second generation, parents
to fast-food craving children, find themselves caught in the middle,
trying to preserve their culture, while, at the same time, adapting
to their Americanized children.
Tiny stuffed potatoes are a good fit for these families, Global hopes.
In another, even more ambitious move, Global is importing exotic vegetables,
including lotus root and papri lilva, a bean, and is marketing them
on both coasts of the United States, and in Canada, Germany, and the
United Kingdom. A push into Africa is possible in the future.
These vegetables are being marketed to the largest group of Indian
emigrants, people from Gujarat, the home of Mahatma Gandhi. "Gujarat
has only 5 percent of the population of India," says Sikand, "but
80 percent of the U.S. population from India."
Residents of Gujarat are traders, he says, and have re-settled all
over the world. While he is from the north of India, and Gujarat is
to the west, Sikand is learning all about the vegetables natives from
this state crave.
Global is distributing the vegetables through Raj Bhog, one of the
largest suppliers of ethnic foods. Headquartered in Queens, New York,
the company’s name, he says, means "presentation to the king."
Global had to talk Raj Bhog into selling the vegetables. "They
were known for sweets," says Sikand. Sweets favored by Indians
tend to be quite a bit different from those that appeal to Americans,
The same is true for all kinds of snacks, and Global plans on going
after the snack market soon.
There are now just three key people in Global’s new U.S. office, but
Sikand says growth into new markets will drive employment up to about
15 people. Other companies here include Him Infotech Inc., E-Food
Commerce, and Transatlantic Marketing.
— Kathleen McGinn Spring
08540. Martin Tuchman, chairman and CEO. 609-452-8900; fax, 609-452-8211.
Martin Tuchman, the CEO of Interpool, accepted the resignation
of president and COO Raoul Witteveen on Friday, October 10. The move
was triggered by a preliminary report by Morrison & Foerster, an independent
law firm appointed by the company’s board of directors to investigate
accounting issues. Accounting issues caused Interpool to have to reconfigure
its financial statements for 2000 and 2001. Tuchman will assume Witteveen’s
Tuchman says that the report showed Witteveen authorizing transactions
that would have improperly increased earnings, but that the financial
statements did not contain any misstatement as a result of these transactions.
The Securities and Exchange Commission has opened its own informal
investigation. "The fundamentals of our company are sound and
very strong. Revenues and cash flows are growing and our financial
condition is solid," Tuchman said.
Suite 3100, CN 5308, Princeton 08543-5308. Michael Becker, president
and CEO. 609-750-8200; fax, 609-452-2476.
The new stock shares that Cytogen issued nearly three months ago are
now officially registered. On October 6 the SEC cleared the $10 million
in new shares for trading on the Nasdaq market. Cytogen has products
for diagnosing and treating cancer.
Princeton Corporate Plaza, Suite J, Monmouth Junction 08852. Bill
Heilman, COO. 732-438-8001; fax, 732-438-8004.
A three-person sales office of a Hungarian firm, ComGenex,
moved to within Princeton Corporate Plaza, retaining the office space
and allocating the lab space to Ras Labs LLC (see story below).
With 250 employees in Budapest, ComGenex works in the pharmaceutical
and agribusiness fields. It employs combinatorial chemistry and molecular
biology to produce new organic compounds and small organic molecules,
and it also provides laboratory services and software.
Bill Heilman, the chief operating officer, came to this office last
January after 19 years with American Cyanamid. He went to Muskingum
College in Iowa, Class of 1966, has a PhD in medicinal chemistry from
Ohio State, and an MBA from Case Western Reserve.
Comgenix has major collaborations with Merck, Aventis, and Bayer,
and it also sells to small biotech companies, including some of those
in the lab park, such as Morphochem and Nexmed.
Drive, Box 5366, Princeton 08543-5366. Dorell Wood, office manager.
732-631-6051; fax, 732-631-6077.
The credit union that used to be housed at American Cyanamid moved
when that campus closed last year to Princeton Corporate Plaza, where
it has an office in the same building with other refugees from the
Cyanamid campus, the employees from Fort Dodge Animal Health. The
three-person office includes Dorell Wood, Barbara Schelher, and Adele
DiDonato. Including those from other states who do their banking business
on the Internet, this credit union has 1,300 members. Membership is
open to employees of small and medium-sized businesses who have signed
on as business members. This is the credit union’s main and only office.
Princeton Corporate Plaza Suite F, Monmouth Junction 08852. Kenneth
Dallas PhD, director development & research. 732-355-9920; fax, 732-355-9921.
Olivia Scientific has changed its name to Princeton Biomolecular Research.
Kenneth Dallas, director of R&D, has also changed the name of the
website but declines to provide further information. The firm offers
proprietary technology and services in agricultural and pharmaceutical
industries. Services include research, custom synthesis, compounds,
and accurate microplates processing.
Junction 08852. Claire Strupinsky, manager of corporate administration.
732-438-9434; fax, 732-438-9435.
Transave expanded earlier this year with a move within Princeton Corporate
Plaza to just under 11,000 square feet, enough space for 20 fulltime
workers and five part-timers. It has raised $14 million in venture
capital so far. Tom Giannone of Studley represented the tenant. Transave
works on drug delivery for treatment of lung diseases.
Junction 08852. Lenore Rasmussen, scientist and owner. 908-371-0855;
fax, 908-371-0625. E-mail: email@example.com
Lenore Rasmussen thinks artificial arms ought to be
able to work better than they do, and with her one-woman business
she has set that as a goal. Her business card for Ras Labs LLC reads:
"Inventions and Information, intelligent materials for the future
of prosthetics and automation." She has written one patent for
an "electro responsive" smart material, a soft substance that
responds to electric stimuli and can be used in prosthetics, and she
is working on another.
Expanding from her home office in Hillsborough, she has leased laboratory
space at Princeton Corporate Plaza. "The lab is where I go to
do on-my-feet standing-up experiments, but I do my planning and computer
work at home. I’m a night owl — that’s when I get my thinking
Rasmussen’s attention is absorbed by the realization that many current
prosthetic materials are metallic, whereas a soft synthetic material
would be more like real human muscle (she describes muscles as "well-organized
liquids"), in which electrodes could be embedded. "I haven’t
been able to leave this area alone," she says, "so I decided
to take the time and the money and really focus on it."
A synthetic polymer chemist, Rasmussen is the daughter of an engineer
and an artist. She majored in biochemistry and chemistry at Virginia
Tech, has a master’s in biophysics from Purdue, and earned a PhD from
Virginia Tech. Her husband, Henrik Rasmussen, is assistant director
at Johnson & Johnson Pharmaceutical Research Development, and they
have two school-aged sons and a toddler boy.
Rasmussen has worked at Johnson & Johnson Corporate Biomaterials Center,
located on the premises of Ethicon in Somerville, to develop materials
for implants. To fund her research, she has taught at Raritan Valley
Community College and done patent and literature searches in engineering
It’s not just the prosthetic market that beckons Rasmussen. Her material
could open up the toy market so that little soldiers and other figures
could move more convincingly. "My second generation goal is to
make a variety of materials that are strong enough to be useful, so
they respond at the battery level," she says. "In prosthetics,
leg movements are pretty good but for arms you see something like
a hook or hands that are not mobile. But if you had material that
responded like a muscle, you could blend the two."
Funding would make her work easier, she admits, but she is not quite
ready to get outside investment: "I want to see if what I think
will work will work. I will probably do some mathematical modeling,
and my next patent will be a very strong one."
Road, Suite A, Lawrence 08648. Nancy W. Kieling, executive director.
609-219-1800; fax, 609-219-1850.
The Princeton Area Community Foundation, in need of more space, has
moved from Tamarack Circle to Princess Road. It took 10 months to
find an office to fit the nonprofit’s budget and space requirements.
"If you want to know anything about commercial real estate, ask
me," quips Nancy Kieling, executive director.
The foundation, formed in 1991, promotes philanthropy, provides giving
expertise to individuals and corporations, and awards grants to area
non-profit organizations. Last year PACF raised a record $12.8 million,
and together with its donor-advisors and partners from 125 separate
funds, granted more than $1.4 million to nonprofit organizations.
Kieling says the foundation’s new offices, at 4,500 square feet, three
times the size of the old offices, are just right because they include
large reception and conference areas, are centrally located, and are
priced within what she calls a "lean" budget. Buzz Woodworth
of Keller Dodds & Woodworth represented the foundation in the negotiations,
and Michael Sargis represented the landlord, First Industrial Realty
33, PMB 252, Hamilton 08690. 609-577-8054.
Natalie M. Coniglio and Michele A. Hollo started a company to ease
the billing and compliance load for healthcare professionals. Each
is a certified coder; Coniglio has a CPC certification and Hollo has
an RCC. With their combined 25 years of billing experience, they believe
they can reduce the risk of compliance problems and get faster reimbursement
for the provider. They can train the staff or remove the coding from
the office to a local office.
Among the coding services offered: outsourced coding on a full-time
basis, back-up coding during workload peaks and staff shortages, coding
compliance risk assessment, and staff training on the coding basics
of specific medical specialties. For billing, the firm can provide
billing operation weakness assessment, workflow analysis and reorganization,
and accounts receivable/insurance denials analysis. Coniglio and Hollo
offer a free initial consultation and analysis.
Road, Suite 218, Princeton 08540. Russell I. Fries, director. 609-520-1155;
After six months the Milestone Club on Forrestal Road has closed,
but owners Russell and Ann Fries are planning to reconfigure the business,
perhaps focusing on the sports specific performance training and the
"We found that we were just not getting the people we needed to
make money," says Ann Fries. "But we are passionate about
the sports training piece, a need that has never really been met.
This was the type of expertise that was really only available in places
like Denver and Ottawa. I think we had a location problem too."
She believes the niche for the high-end testing services is with cyclists,
runners, and other serious athletes. For instance, it costs $120 to
test your aerobic threshold, which tells you how to run at your most
efficient aerobic level.
4. He was a facility engineering manager at Ortho-Clinical Diagnostics,
a Johnson & Johnson Company, and was president of DeKai Enterprises
Inc., a sports and entertainment corporation.
CEO of MarketSource Corporation in Cranbury, he had been named Ernst
& Young Entrepreneur of the Year. He was also the founder of Kindle
a Spark Foundation and former president of College Stores Research
and Education Foundation.
October 18, at 1:30 p.m. in Princeton University Chapel, followed
by a reception at Prospect House. Lemonick, who died June 24, was
a Princeton University physicist who served as dean of the graduate
school and dean of the faculty.
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