Rhodia had put up a for sale sign on its Cranbury campus last summer, and on March 15 it announced it had found a buyer — Preferred Real Estate Investments Inc., the Pennsylvania-based developer that is rehabilitating American Metro Center, the former factory next to the Hamilton train station. Rhodia has owned this 83-acre site for 15 years; it has 14 buildings with 350,000 square feet, and just under 500 people work there now.
Nevertheless, Rhodia, the American subsidiary of the French chemical company, does not plan to vacate the area, and it might even stay put for a while. “We have not yet decided what our new location will be,” says David Klucsik, spokesperson. One option is to stay at that campus until the new buyers serve the eviction notice. Written into the sale agreement is the clause that Rhodia may lease the Cranbury campus at least through the end of this year.
Because its workforce is equally divided between those who come from the north, south, east, and west, the company does not want to make a radical location change. “We are smack in the middle now, and we are trying cause as little disruption as possible,” says Klucsik. He says Rhodia has ruled out the possibility of moving to the Technology Center of New Jersey because North Brunswick is too far north, but Bucks County is still a possibility.
“We are occupying various percentages of all of the buildings at the moment, and we feel we could probably use one third of the space,” says Klucsik. He notes that three of the 14 buildings have laboratory space, and the ratio of space to employees is greater for labs than for offices.
About 460 people, plus some contractors, work there now. “The Cranbury campus served our needs very well for 15 years,” says Richard V. Kennedy Jr., who succeeded Myron Galuskin as president. “As we’ve re-shaped our company over the past year, our facilities needs have changed, too. Now we’ll focus on securing accommodations more suited to our future requirements.”
Kennedy is a chemical engineer from the University of Maine, Class of 1968, and has an MBA from Wright State. He joined this company in 1988, when it was called Rhone Poulenc, working his way up to be president of the phosphorus, phosphates, and food enterprise division. Since September, 2004, he has had the title of President, North America Zone.
The Rhodia campus is just south of Exit 8A; it is on Prospect Plains Road, adjacent to the Rossmoor retirement community, and fronting the northbound lanes of the New Jersey Turnpike. Tadd Wisinski and Frank Foldetta of Equis represented the sellers and Frank O’Neill, Larry Doyle, and Matt Malatich represented the buyers.
“We’re excited about the land — we could keep and lease the large buildings, or we could go for the big fish,” says Malatich. “We see this as an incredibly good corporate headquarters or hospital site, because it is next to the senior citizen communities and, with 2,000 feet of frontage on the turnpike, it is visible to more than 160,000 vehicles per day.”
Equis (based in Chicago, with offices in Iselin and Philadelphia) is helping Rhodia find a new space, and a decision is expected by June. Location, space requirements, and price will play a bigger role in the choice than tax incentives, says Klucsik.
Based in France, Rhodia has 20,000 global employees; it makes surfactants, fine organics, food ingredients, water soluble polymers, and latex and specialty polymers. It was spun off from the century-old Rhone Poulenc in 1998. Rhone Poulenc’s pharmaceutical division, known as Sanofy Aventis, is located in Bridgewater, and its agricultural division is Bayer Crop Science in North Carolina.
In June Rhodia sold its specialty phosphates business to Bain Capital for $550 million, but the senior management team remains in place and the company, now known as Innophos, has not moved. With 1,076 people worldwide, Innophos produces phosphoric acid and phosphates for such industrial applications as food, pharmaceuticals, water and metal treatment, horticulture, textiles, and detergents.
Rhodia Inc. (RHA), 259 Prospect Plains Road, CN 7500, Cranbury 08512-7500. Richard V. Kennedy, president. 609-860-4000; fax, 609-860-0074. Home page: www.us.rhodia.com
Innophos Inc., Prospect Plains Road, Box 8000, Cranbury 08512-8000. Randy Gress, CEO. 609-495-2495; fax, 609-860-0138. Home page: www.innophos.com
Mercer Human Resource Consulting (MMC), 212 Carnegie Center, Suite 400, Princeton 08543-5323. 609-520-2500; fax, 609-520-2295. Home page: www.mercer.com
A sexual harassment lawsuit, filed in Superior Court against William M. Mercer Inc., is being tried in Superior Court. Jane Serrino, 43, and Beth Brown, 29, are suing the company and two former employees, William Bevilacqua and Richard DeFrehn. They were fired after the lawsuit was filed.
This company, formerly known as William M. Mercer Inc., began in 1937 as an employee benefits department for Marsh & McLennan, an insurance firm. Now it is a national resource and consulting office that does employee benefits consulting.
The check is not yet in the mail, but last week the officers of NeoStrata ordered a big cake to celebrate their win over cosmetic giant Mary Kay in a bitter patent battle. Mary Kay was ordered on March 10 to pay $26.4 million plus interest to the 58-person company on College Road East.
NeoStrata, founded in Princeton in 1988, says it owns the worldwide rights to a fountain of youth treatment, alpha-hydroxyacid therapy, and so far it has been able to defend those rights successfully. One by one the cosmetic companies have capitulated — Avon, L’Oreal, Elizabeth Arden, Johnson & Johnson, and Chanel — but Mary Kay was one of the last holdouts.
The 17th largest biotech firm in New Jersey, NeoStrata licenses its technology to 40 companies, and it also markets its own products in 60 countries under the brands NeoStrata, Exuviance, Exuviance Professional, and CoverBlend. The company remains privately owned.
“TTI remains committed to the vigorous enforcement of its intellectual property, such as in this instance where Mary Kay sold skin care products using the patented AHA technology without a license,” said Richard H. Wildnauer, president, in a press release.
Privately, Wildnauer says that he has not yet received the money. “But we did celebrate with a company luncheon and a cake with Dr. Van Scott and Dr. Yu.” Ruey J. Yu and Eugene J. Van Scott are the scientists who recognized the commercial properties of alpha-hydroxyacid skin care technology.
TriStrata Technology is the subsidiary of NeoStrata that is pursuing the patent suits. A jury in the United States District Court in Wilmington, Delaware found that 14 claims of the three patents were infringed. TTI was represented by Minneapolis-based Robins, Kaplan, Miller & Ciresi and by McGovern & Associates of New York and Greenwich, Connecticut. Mary Kay plans to appeal.
NeoStrata Company Inc., 307 College Road East, Princeton 08540.
Richard H. Wildnauer, president. 609-520-0715; fax, 609-520-0849. Home page: www.NeoStrata.com
Trellis Network Services), 20 Sheffield Drive, Columbus NJ 08022. Jack Atwell, president. 609-860-1700; fax, 800-745-0602. Home page: www.trellisnet.com
Trellis Network Services moved from Cedar Brook Drive to Columbus earlier this month. Founded in 1987, it was an early integrator of Lotus Notes in the mid 1990s, when it had offices on College Road. It does network design, integration, system management, and consulting services.
Jack Atwell, the son of a New York City patrolman, graduated from the New York State Maritime Academy and worked for two decades for the National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration. Atwell and another co-founder, Howard Conrad, pioneered in campus wide networks, including the one for the Commerce Department and one for the World Bank. Trellis’ most high-profile job was wiring the Foxwood Bingo and Casino operation in Connecticut.
WOW Entertainment, 5 Shirley Avenue, Somerset 08873. Joe Parnett, owner. 732-846-8300; fax, 732-846-8326. Home page: www.wowincevents.com
Joe Parnett has tripled his space with a move from 947 State Road to 4,300 square feet in Somerset, where he employs six people daily and up to 40 people on the weekends. The company offers interactive attractions for special events. “Part of our growth is that we offer authentic casino tables and decorations, so we can stage corporate casino events,” he says. Soon he will able to provide up to 80 tables, most procured and refurbished from casinos in Las Vegas. In February he did an event in Virginia with six tables for Texas Hold ‘Em (the
poker game made popular on television), and he also has roulette tables with all-wooden wheels.
Optio Research Inc., 2700 Horizon Drive, King of Prussia PA, 19406. F. Thomas Balzer. 609-720-9600. Home page: www.hmsonline.com
F. Thomas Balzer sold Optio Research to Health Market Science and on February 15 three of the four people working at Princeton Forrestal Village moved to King of Prussia, home to 70 employees.
The new parent company, HMS, provides reference databases on doctors, healthcare providers, and organizations — which doctors are affiliated with what hospitals, healthcare plans, and group practices. “Other companies have their own internal capabilities to track that,” says Balzer, “but HMS focuses on that and has pushed that technology, so that it has an ability to refresh the information quickly from thousands of data sources into a single database. We added the analytics capability that they needed.”
Earlier in his career, Balzer was the lead analyst for conventional war-gaming for the Joint Chiefs of Staff at the Pentagon, and this experience led him to fashion simulation models for the pharmaceutical industry (U.S. 1, March 24, 2004).
“Our ability to do predictive modeling at a therapeutic class level includes patient physician and payer dynamics,” says Balzer. “HMS databases are collecting data on the status of the market right now, whereas Optio’s technology predicts what it will look like five years or 10 years from now, so you can assess the market potential for the various organizations that are providing health care.”
Optio’s syndicated reports on major therapeutic categories are delivered quarterly and cover a rolling 24-month period. It also does client-specific reports on such topics as the estimated willingness of managed care to pay for increased consumption of a particular therapy.
BASF Corporation, Polymers Division (BASF), 1065 Cranbury and South River Road, Jamesburg 08831. 732-521-1600; fax, 732-521-6219.
BASF is closing its 75-person polymers division in Jamesburg and will be moving out by the end of April, according to a source from the firm. Production of Styropor polystyrene rigid foam boards at the 205,000 square-foot plant is moving to Altimira, Mexico. The closing was announced last fall, but the final date was released last week.
Originally built by United Cork Co. in 1946, the site has been owned by BASF since 1964. BASF is based in Ludwigshafen, Germany and, according to company statistics, employs 89,000 people in 170 countries.
A company spokesperson said the decision to close was based, not only on cost, but on volume. The Altimira location is a multiplant site, whereas the South Brunswick location is a stand-alone factory. The foam boards are used for insulation, in roofing, and as protective packaging.
Princetec, 40 West 25th Street, New York 10010. Mohan Reddy, president. 609-799-3800; fax, 212-206-8206. Home page: www.princetec.com
Princetec, a seven-year-old software development and consulting firm, merged with Customers First and moved from Windsor Office Park on Route 571 to New York City on Monday, March 14. Six people moved with this office, but it will still be known as Princetec and keep its website. Princetec CEO Mohan Reddy made the move, as did Raj Sankanjila and Kristin Debiase, an HR manager. Wally Dahya is the CEO of Customers First.
Headwaters Technology and Innovation Group/Hydrocarbon Technologies Inc. (HDWR), 1501 New York Avenue, Lawrenceville 08648. Theo Lee, CEO. 609-394-3102; fax, 609-394-9602. Home page: www.headwaters.com
Headwaters Technology Innovation Group (formerly known as Hydrocarbon Technology) just landed one of the 32 federal contracts that were awarded for clean coal research projects. These contracts are supposed to help develop a coal-fired zero emissions power plant.
The New York Avenue-based company aims to provide a more reliable, economic, and efficient coal-based system for producing high-hydrogen content Fischer-Tropsch liquids that will meet the Department of energy’s hydrogen program goals. Seven partners share this two-year $3 million contract.
Last year the firm was bought by a group in Utah and changed its name. It does process and catalyst research and development, process licensing, custom processing, pilot plant design and construction and specialty organic sample chemicals.
Xenomics Inc. (XNOM), 1 Deer Park Drive, Suite F, Monmouth Junction 08852. Hovsep S. Melkonyan PhD, Vp research. 732-438-8290; fax, 732-438-8299. Home page: www.xenomics.com
On March 17 Xenomics announced that it has been able to detect both tuberculosis DNA and proviral HIV-DNA in the urine of AIDS patients.
Conducted at the Spallanzani Institute in Rome, Italy, the research is based on Xenomic’s patented Trans-renal DNA technology.
“The fact that we detected proviral HIV-DNA in the patient’s urine means it could only have originated from infected T-cells and other HIV-infected cells that died within the body,” says CEO Randy White. He believes his firm may have found a way to measure the amount of HIV-DNA in the body believed to be the source of re-infection in AIDS patients. He hopes this discovery will help doctors to more accurately assess effectiveness of drug cocktail treatments prescribed for AIDs patients.
White also says that his company’s tuberculosis test “can produce a result in a matter of hours compared to days for traditional microbiological methods.” Rapid identification of tuberculosis is important because tuberculosis infections occur opportunistically in immune-compromised AIDS patients. Public health experts worry about the increase of multiple-drug resistant strains of TB.
Palatin Technologies Inc. (PTN), 4C Cedar Brook Drive, Cedar Brook Corporate Center, Cranbury 08512. Carl Spana PhD, president & CEO. 609-495-2200; fax, 609-495-2201. Home page: www.palatin.com
Its latest announcement is of a joint study with King Pharmaceuticals on administering its own intranasal PT-141 therapy and Pfizer’s Viagra therapy for patients with erectile dysfunction. King and Palatin are jointly developing and commercializing PT-141.
PT-141 initiates erections via a central nervous system mechanism of action, and Viagra is a peripheral vasodilator. In three of four comparisons in this study, the co-administration of PT-141 and Viagra increased erectile activity duration, and it did not have significant adverse effects.
“This study is part of our program to evaluate all potential indications for PT-141,” says CEO Carl Spana.
Abeille Pharmaceuticals Inc., 116 Village Boulevard, Princeton Forrestal Village, Suite 200, Princeton 08540. Suresh Borsadia, president and CEO. 609-951-2204; fax, 609-951-2223. Home page: www.abeillepharma.com
Abeille Pharmaceuticals completed $1 million in Series A financing in February. The privately held firm focuses on the development and commercialization of novel dosage forms and unique, proprietary combinations of existing drugs.
“We are pleased by the high caliber of our investors and the confidence exhibited by them in our strategic plan for growth,” says Suresh Borsadia, president and CEO. “This funding will allow us to aggressively advance the development of our lead products, while we continue to enhance our pipeline, and build our management and advisory teams.”
With this company’s oral controlled release or transdermal delivery systems, patients may be able to take lower doses of medication, which would reduce side effects. Compliance would also be improved. The initial focus will be on oncology related discomforts, diabetes and metabolic disorders, and central nervous system disorders.
American United Life Insurance Company, 103 Carnegie Center, Suite 315, Princeton 08540. Michael O’Connell, regional sales director, retirement services. 609-720-1424; fax, 609-720-1427. Home page: www.retirement.aul.com
The four-person pension services office moved from 3 Independence Way to 1,200 square feet at the Carnegie Center. Based in Indianapolis and founded in 1877, it offers pension services marketed through insurance and investment professionals.
Coworx Search Group, 12 Roszel Road, Suite A 204, Princeton 08540. Lance Rosenberg, senior executive recruiter. 609-452-0175; fax, 609-452-0173. Home page: www.coworxstaffing.com
Lance Rosenberg moved his executive search, along with the sister’s company’s staffing service, from Quakerbridge Road, and he has a new phone and fax.
A graduate of the University of Bridgeport, Class of 1968, he has been with this firm since 1978; it was formerly known as Staffing Alternatives. He does executive search in the areas of engineering, scientific, finance, and accounting.
Danka Office Imaging, 1095 Cranbury-South River Road, Suite 22, Jamesburg 08831. Carol Varga, office manager. 609-495-9300; fax, 609-495-9333. Home page: www.danka.com
Danka moved from 103 Carnegie Center to 5,000 square feet in Forsgate Technical Center, where it has 100 employees, three-fourths of whom are “on the road.” It has digital imaging systems — copiers, printers, faxes, multifunction machines — in the Toshiba, Canon, and Kodak brands.
Hogan Leadership Group Inc., 8 Highland Road, Princeton 08540. Bill
Hogan, senior partner. 609-915-9911. Home page: www.hoganlg.com
Bill Hogan moved from 2 Carnegie Road in Lawrenceville to a Princeton address. “I’m busier than I have ever been,” he says, “with two or three national clients, some medium sized, and some small clients, and it is equally divided between sales and management issues.”
Hogan is a 1960 graduate of Montclair State University. He has had a lifelong interest in coaching basketball but has also worked for IBM and owned a franchise in a national executive search firm. Hogan Leadership Group offers sales, marketing, and management strategies.
MKN Associates, 306 West State Street, Suite 3, Trenton 08618. Moses King-Nabi, principal architect. 609-394-3658; fax, 609-394-3657.
King-Nabi moved from Youngs Road to State Street in Trenton earlier this year. A native of Ghana, he came to study architecture at New York Institute of Technology, (Class of 1976), and did a fifth year architecture program at City College of New York in 1977. He has also worked for CUH2A and Johnson & Jones. He does both residential and commercial projects.
Metrica Inc., 139 Wall Street, Research Park, Princeton 08540. Charline Johnson, assistant financial manager. 609-252-1993; fax, 609-252-1970. Home page: www.metricanet.com
Metrica moved from 40 1/2 Nassau Street to 51 Wall Street and plans to move again within Research Park very soon. The new address will be 139 Wall Street. Phone and fax remain the same. The two-person office does economic and scientific consulting and contract research, and the headquarters is in San Antonio, Texas.
Schuler Associates PC, 2279 Route 33, Suite 515, Hamilton 08690. William S. Schuler, certified public accountant. 609-588-8854; fax, 609-588-8856.
William S Schuler is moving his CPA office from Tamarack Circle to Hamilton. He does accounting, management consulting, and financial planning.
George F. Kennan, 101, on March 17. At the State Department, he was the policy planning chief for the Marshall Plan and he devised the department’s cold war policy.