Gamma-Tech To Forrestal Center

Corrections or additions?

These articlse by Barbara Fox were prepared for the March 15, 2006

issue of U.S. 1 Newspaper. All rights reserved.

Life in the Fast Lane

Eleven years and several CEOs later, Orchid Cellmark is still

struggling, at least with Wall Street. Just announced: CEO Paul J.

Kelly will leave, after three years on the job, and Thomas A. Bologna,

who has a reputation on Wall Street for growing and/or selling biotech

firms, starts on the job in early April.

Orchid Cellmark offers identity DNA testing services for the human

identity area (forensic, family relationship, and security

applications) and for agriculture (food safety and selective trait

breeding). Five years ago Orchid had a 33,000 square foot laboratory

and 180 employees in Princeton. Now it has 25 employees at its College

Road headquarters, plus testing facilities in Dayton, Ohio; East

Lansing, Michigan; Dallas, Texas; Nashville, Tennessee; and the United


Founded in 1995 as Orchid Biocomputers, with technology spun out from

the Sarnoff Corporation, the company hoped to use its high throughput

microfluidics platforms for both drug discovery and DNA testing

("Honey, I Shrunk the Lab," U.S. 1, January 29, 1997). By 2000 when

the first CEO, Dale Pfost, took the company public, it had bought

another DNA testing firm and was ramping up that side of the business.

But two years later the stock had plummeted. In 2002 Orchid sold the

life science side of the business, ending Pfost’s dreams of using the

technology for drug discovery, and slashed jobs. (Pfost is now CEO of

Philadelphia-based Acuity Pharmaceuticals.) An executive with a

similar name, George Poste, stayed on as chairman, and then Paul Kelly

came in as CEO in 2003.

Bologna’s reputation might win some confidence from Wall Street. After

seven years as CEO of Gen-Probe, he took it public and successfully

sold it to Chugai Pharmaceuticals in 1989.

Bologna, 57, went to New York University for both his BS and MBA

degrees. He was president of a division at Becton-Dickinson. After

Gen-Probe he headed Scriptgen Pharmaceuticals and then Ostex, which he

sold in 2003 "for a significant market capitalization premium,"

according to a press release.

His most recent job was with Quorex Pharmaceuticals, which had big

potential but was suffering from a bad investment market. Quorex,

based in Carlsbad, California, hoped to use "furanones," derived from

seaweed, to fight infections caused by antibiotic-resistant bacteria

with drugs that would clog the communication system that bacteria use

to "talk" with each other. But these drugs would take at least five

years to get to market.

Bologna was quoted in 2004 as saying that a lot of early-stage drug

discovery companies were having a "tough time." "In the current

biotech cycle, people are looking for products that are in the clinic,

preferably in Phase 2 testing," Bologna told the San Diego Union

Tribune. Bologna came on as CEO of Quorex in September, 2004, laid

nearly everybody off in November, and by December of that year he had

sold the firm to Pfizer.

In addition to a salary of $520,000 Bologna gets a $100,000 signing

bonus and stock incentives, according to filings with the SEC.

Orchid had predicted a $4 million loss for 2005 but now says the loss

will be $8 million. One bright spot is that federal government is

ramping up its use of criminal DNA databases, and Orchid Cellmark is a

leader in this field.

Orchid Cellmark Inc. (ORCH), 4390 Route 1 North, Princeton 08540;

609-750-2200; fax, 609-750-6405. Thomas A. Bologna, CEO. Home page:

Top Of Page
Gamma-Tech To Forrestal Center

Princeton Gamma-Tech Instruments Inc., 303 College Road East,

Princeton 08540; 609-924-7310; fax, 609-924-1729. Christopher Cox,

president. Home page:

Princeton Gamma Tech has moved 45 workers from 36,000 feet on Route

518 in Rocky Hill to 13,000 feet on College Road East. Sab Russo of CB

Richard Ellis represented the tenant in the long-term lease. Thompson

Land bought the Rocky Hill property.

PGT was founded in 1965 by Joseph Baicker and Alden Sayres to produce

semiconductor radiation detectors of lithium-compensated germanium for

nuclear physics research laboratories. Now the firm develops and

manufactures gamma-ray and x-ray detectors and micro-analyzers.

Last year Princeton Gamma-Tech was bought by Princeton Gamma Tech

Instruments, an investment group led by California-based Finn

Partners. The former microanalysis division was bought by Bruker AXS


In 2004 the company settled with the state on its contaminated

groundwater controversy and agreed to pay $21.5 million to remove

trichloroethylene from a municipal well in Rocky Hill and from

groundwater at a Montgomery Township housing development. Princeton

Gamma-Tech did not admit guilt.

Next Story

Corrections or additions?

This page is published by

— the web site for U.S. 1 Newspaper in Princeton, New Jersey.

Facebook Comments