Everybody agrees that nanotechnology is the wave of the future, and
that New Jersey’s future may depend on investment in it.
Earlier this month the NJCST gave $500,000 for NJ NANO @ RU, a
nanotechnology facility at the Institute for Advanced Materials and
Devices located at Rutgers University in New Brunswick. Rutgers
already has more than $5 million in equipment, and it will buy new
equipment, including the most powerful microscope in New Jersey.
"New Jersey has always been on the forefront of scientific
advancement, and this investment will help expand the state’s current
leadership position to include the promising field of nanotechnology,"
said Donald L. Drakeman, commission chairman and CEO of Medarex, in a
press release issued after NJCST’s May 19 meeting.
"Nanotechnology is not an industry, it is a tool, like accounting,"
says Michele Bitritto, formerly business director at New Jersey
Commission on Science on Technology and now on the leadership team for
New Jersey Institute of Technology’s High Tech Incubator.
"The short-term, profitable applications of nano are in everyday
industries such as cosmetic sunscreens," says Bitritto, who just
released an incisive, detailed, and somewhat alarming report for NJCST
about New Jersey’s current and future prospects for nanotechnology
The nanotech facility at Rutgers will be used by various industries
including petrochemical companies, the pharmaceutical industry, the
biotechnology sector, the microelectronic industry and energy
enterprises. "Small business, corporations, and other universities
will be able to use the equipment, but its focus is for research, not
for making devices," says Bitritto.
With Lucent being sold to Alcatel, another state investment in
nanotechnology could be in jeopardy. Four years ago the state invested
a significant amount in a deal with Lucent so that university
researchers might be able to use the fabled Bell Labs laboratories.
But now no one can predict whether that access will be available, says
Bitritto. She hopes that the resources remain available under Alcatel
ownership, and that they will extend to small businesses.
`The original state investment in Lucent was only for universities,"
says Bitritto. "But access to the Lucent laboratories probably has
more value to small businesses that need a place to make their
At the same meeting NJCST awarded just over $1.3 million to four New
Jersey companies that are partnering with research universities; both
the companies and the universities must provide matching funds and, if
the technology goes to market, they must pay one percent royalty to
the state. Of the 29 proposals for the Entrepreneurial Partnering
Fund, four were selected, and three are from the Princeton area.
Princeton University is partnering with Signum Biosciences of Deer
Park Drive for a $500,000 grant, trying to solve the problem of
Alzheimer’s disease by using agents from natural products (U.S. 1,
August 25, 2004). Princeton University is also working with Princeton
Power Systems, at the Forrestal Campus, on a $330,958 grant for a
grid-tied inverter used in solar power (U.S. 1, November 28, 2001).
ProFACT Proteomics (at the Technology Center of New Jersey on Route 1
South in North Brunswick) will get $182,000 to work with UMDNJ-RWJMS
to build an infrastructure focused on cancer drugs and diagnostics
Both Signum and ProFACT Proteomics also successfully applied for
postdoctoral graduates under an NSCST program that totals $695,000
this year. For Signum Biosciences, the state will pay $75,000 for a
first-year post-doc fellowship and $85,000 for a second year
fellowship. ProFACT Proteomics gets a first year fellow.
Two other companies at the Technology Center of New Jersey received
first year fellowships: Chromocell Corporation and Orthocon Inc. (U.S.
1, October 26, 2005). The first year fellowship recipients include
Pradeep Bhatta, just graduated with a PhD from Princeton University,
who will help Princeton Satellite Systems, based on Witherspoon
Street, to expand its line of aircraft design software tools to
include underwater vehicles (www.psatellite.com, U.S. 1, November 28,
2001). Anamika Patel will have a second year at Energy Photovoltaics
on Bakers Basin Road, helping to develop thin film modules to make
solar energy more economical (www.epv.net).
While Rutgers landed the $500,000 nano center, Princeton University
will get a similar sum from its participation in a multimillion-dollar
engineering research center, funded by the National Science
Foundation, called MIRTHE (Mid-Infrared Technologies for Health and
the Environment). "It is expected to revolutionize sensor technology,
yielding devices that have a unique ability to detect minute amounts
of chemicals found in the atmosphere, emitted from factories or
exhaled in human breath," according to a press release. Princeton
joins five other universities who will share nearly $3 million this
year, and the funding could top $40 million over the next 10 years.
— Barbara Fox
Celator Pharmaceuticals, 303 B College Road East, Princeton 08540;
609-243-0123; fax, 609-243-0202. Andrew Janoff PhD, CEO and chairman.
Home page: www.celatorpharma.com
The headquarters of Celator Pharmaceuticals, a privately held
biopharmaceutical company focusing on cancer therapies, moved from
1,800 square feet at 1 Airport Place to 13,000 square feet at College
Road East; at the same time, the company’s research facility in
Vancouver moved from 5,000 to 14,000 square feet. According to CEO
Andrew Janoff, growth in several key areas was fueled by the $40
million round of financing completed last year.
Janoff reports significant progress "on all fronts." Celator has
completed a Phase 1 study for its lead product, CPX-1, which will be
developed for colorectal cancer, and Celator will be announcing
results in June. Phase 2 studies are expected to open later this year.
The center of Celator’s strategy is its CombiPlex technology platform,
for which a patent application is currently pending in the United
States and Europe. The technology represents a new direction in
developing drug cocktails to fight different cancers. Up until now,
the standard for cocktails has been to include each component at its
maximum tolerated dose.
Celator holds, however, that chemotherapeutic agents can act
synergistically at certain ideal ratios among the component drugs, and
its technology has shown significant success in identifying the
optimal drug ratios and then locking them in drug carriers so that the
ratios can be maintained in patients.
Confident that this approach could represent a significant advance in
patient care for many forms of cancer, Janoff expects Celator’s staff
in Princeton to grow this year from 17 to 22. The company has an
additional 29 people in Vancouver.
"The funding represented conclusions by investors that we have a
technology that is likely to change the standard of care in treating
cancer," says Janoff, adding that early stage trials are showing some
promise for this ratiometric approach. "If we’re right," he continues,
"we have an unlimited pipeline." Initially, the company is targeting
new combination therapies involving chemotherapy agents already
approved and widely used to treat cancer. This approach positions
Celator to pursue promising product opportunities with reduced
Among the investors in the $40,000 funding round were Domain
Associates, venture capitalist at Palmer Square, and the Garden State
Life Sciences Venture Fund, a fund managed by Quaker Bioventures in
which the New Jersey Economic Development Authority is the sole
limited partner. This round of funding was touted as one of the
largest venture capital investments in biotechnology in the North
America for the year (U.S. 1, May 18, 2005).
Celator began in 2000 as a spinoff of the British Columbia Cancer
Agency with a laboratory in Vancouver and moved to Princeton in 2003.
Janoff has been CEO since 2002.
Janoff had been vice president of research and development at Elan
Corporation and, prior to that, vice president and a scientific
founder of the Liposome Company. He majored in biology at American
University, Class of 1971, and has an M.S. and Ph.D. in biophysics
from Michigan State University.
– Michele Alperin
Out of Business
Bylin-Babick Associates LLC, 133 Franklin Corner Road, Lawrenceville.
Bylin-Babick Associates has closed, according to information sent by
the company. It did consulting for the gift industries.
Ellentuck & Springer. James R. Springer, president. www.DRTV.com
After 30 years in business, Ellentuck & Springer has closed, according
to James R. Springer, who sold the company to EMS Direct in Houston,
Texas. The company had eight employees in the 1990s and did direct