A new science and technology center for the Route 1 corridor is close to becoming a reality. David Knights of Princeton Forrestal Center, the real estate development arm of Princeton University, says that it expects to sign a contract with a developer within two weeks. The development, to be built on spec, is expected to contain 700,000 square feet of space for offices and laboratories spread over 90 acres fronting Route 1 in South Brunswick.
Knights says that the developer, who cannot be named until the contracts are signed, has experience in building this type of project in central New Jersey.
Reports in daily newspapers have stated that two hotels would be part of the new center, but Knights says that is not the case. While it is not impossible that hotels could be sited on the 150 acres that Princeton-Forrestal owns at some point in the future, they are not part of this plan. “The developer is just proposing science,” he says.
Knights adds that published reports that the science and technology center would comprise 1 million square feet of space are also incorrect.
Princeton Forrestal obtained its land when it purchased what was once part of Princeton Nurseries, a 488-acre parcel south of Kingston. The university donated 214 acres of the site to South Brunswick in exchange for development rights on 150 acres, says Knights.
Princeton-Forrestal has been working with South Brunswick for five years on a plan for the development, says Knights. There have been environmental studies, traffic studies, and extensive public hearings. The lion’s share of the details have been worked out. “I’m meeting soon to tweak two retention basins,” he says.
As part of the deal, Princeton is building a new jughandle interchange at Independence Way. A new road to accommodate additional traffic will “come out at Forrestal Village and the Windrows,” says Knights. He says that traffic will be less than the amount for which Princeton-Forrestal obtained approvals because, he points out, science is a low-density business.
Groundbreaking is expected to take place in late 2008 or early 2009. “Science is what Einstein Alley is all about,” says Knights. “We’re very excited.”
Richard LePage has replaced Tab Borden as consul and trade commissioner for the Canadian Government Trade Office. The sixth consul in this post, he has an office and home on Skyfield Drive. He provides assistance for New Jersey companies wishing to do business with Canadian companies — sourcing, technology transfer, partnering, and investments.
LePage (rhymes with entourage) grew up in Montreal, where his British mother and French father presided over a household of eight children, six boys and two girls. LePage, the second oldest, attributes his interest in economics and international affairs to his father. “He was a city manager who had served in the military, and was a huge history buff,” says LePage. “The world was in our house in different languages. We were very much interested in current events.”
He graduated in 1976 from Queens University in Kingston, Ontario, and earned a master’s degree in economics at McGill University in Montreal. Until 2003 he worked on a government investment team in Los Angeles, and most recently he was posted to Ottawa. His wife, Cheryl, a former nurse, is looking for a job here as a clinical research associate. They have two preschool children who attend the Ecole Franciase. “We were delighted to find a French school here in Princeton,” he says.
He will work closely to promote collaborations with life science and bio science firms. “Pipelines are shrinking here, and pharmaceutical firms are looking for earlier stage technology to fill the pipeline gap,” says LePage. “We want them to look at the array of technologies starting to percolate in Canada.”
Stem cell research will be on top of his list. In contrast to piece-meal funding for stem cell research in this country, all funding comes through one channel in Canada. “It’s a good single portal to work through, with 144 companies and organizations that belong to Canadian Stem Cell Network. Last year we had 14 stem cell researchers in Montreal, and they were very keen on what they saw at McGill.” Neurological work, on spine injuries, is being done in both places, and by combining efforts, scientists from both countries may be able to speed up getting their projects to the commercial stage.
“They don’t see it as a turf war,” says LePage. “Just not that many countries are doing it. In the United States there are 10 very active states, and New Jersey may be the second most active after California.” Though disappointed by the November 6 vote against monies for stem cell research, he thinks it was based on fiscal concerns: “I don’t think we have seen the final card played in this hand. I think the governor’s office will take a look at repackaging the proposal. If this were a cost neutral venture, I believe the voters would be totally in support of it. This was not a ‘No’ to stem cell research.”
Canadian Government Trade Office, 10 Skyfield Drive, Princeton 08540-7403; 609-333-9940; fax, 609-333-9943. Richard LePage, consul and trade commissioner. www.newyork.gc.ca.
Ascendia Brands (ASB), 100 American Metro Boulevard, Suite 108, Hamilton 08619; 609-219-0930; fax, 609-219-1238. Stephen R. Scheyer, president & CEO. www.ascendiabrands.com.
With its stock trading at record lows of less than 30 cents a share, Ascendia Brands, an owner of health and beauty care product brands, announced on November 9 that it is looking for ways to raise capital and reduce expenditures to meet current and future liquidity needs. Toward that end, it has retained New York City-based Carl Marks Advisory Group (www.carlmarks.com) to provide financial, operating, and restructuring advisory services.
Carl Marks will assist Ascendia to examine ways to restructure its business operations, reduce costs, increase operating income and margins, rationalize production and distribution, and generate increased cash flow.
On October 17 the company’s CFO, John Wille, left the company, and Jack Wissman, who has served as managing director of Carl Marks, took his place.
Ascendia hired a new COO, Robert Bailey, in August. Bailey had previously been president of Newell Rubbermaid’s Amerock division, a manufacturer of cabinet hardware.
Ascendia was formed fairly recently, but its origins reach back to 1920 when its corporate ancestor, the Lander Company, was founded. In 2005 Lander merged with Cenuco Inc., a company that was involved in developing wireless and Internet based live streaming video and other targeted content.
In November 2005, Lander acquired a number of brands from Playtex. They include Baby Magic, Mr. Bubble, and Binaca, Ogilvie, Tussy, and Chubs.
In 2006 Lander changed its corporate name to Ascendia Brands Inc. Earlier this year, the wireless business was dropped, and Ascendia acquired more beauty product brands, from Coty.
Ascendia, which has approximately 33 employees in Hamilton, has manufacturing facilities in Binghamton, New York, and in Toronto.
Tyco International Ltd. (TYC), 9 Roszel Road, Princeton Commons, Princeton 08540; 609-720-4200; fax, 609-720-4208. Edward Breen, CEO and chairman. Home page: www.tyco.com.
Tyco International, which recently spun off its heath care division as Covidien and electronics division as Tyco Electronics, has reported that its fiscal fourth-quarter earnings fell 85 percent, hurt by restructuring and separation costs and a higher tax rate.
Tyco has its nominal headquarters in Bermuda, but its executive offices are at 9 Roszel Road.
Net income dropped to $181 million, or 36 cents per share, from $1.25 billion, or $2.45 per share, a year ago. Earnings from continuing operations excluding restructuring costs and other one-time items totaled $285 million, or 57 cents per share, up 20 percent from $238 million, or 47 cents per share, in the prior-year period.
Revenue rose 9 percent to $5.03 billion from $4.62 billion a year ago.
The results topped estimates of analysts surveyed by Thomson Financial, who predicted profit of 55 cents per share on revenue of $4.97 billion.
Immediately after reporting the news, on Thursday, November 15, Tyco’s shares fell $1.43, or 3.6 percent, to $37.88, a new 52-week low. But by Monday, November 19, the stock had rebounded, and was trading at $40 a share.
The same day that the new, restructured Tyco reported its fourth quarter results, a New York state appeals court in Manhattan unanimously upheld the convictions of L. Dennis Kozlowski and Mark Swartz, the former Tyco International Ltd. executives.
Tyco International is composed of the fire, security, and engineered products units of the former conglomerate of the same name.
All five of Tyco’s business segments recorded quarterly and annual sales growth. The largest quarterly gain, 23 percent, came in flow control, which makes industrial valves, pipes and fittings on revenue of $1.07 billion.
Quarterly revenue at Tyco’s largest segment, ADT Worldwide, which designs, installs and monitors security systems for homes, businesses and government, rose 6 percent to $1.99 billion.
For the fiscal year that ended in September, Tyco sustained a loss of $1.74 billion, or $3.52 a share, compared with a profit of $3.6 billion, or $6.95 a share, for the prior year.
Annual revenue rose 8 percent to $18.78 billion from $17.34 billion.
Amicus Therapeutics (Nasdaq:FOLD), 5 Cedar Brook Drive, Cedar Brook Corporate Center, Cranbury 08512; 609-662-2000; fax, 609-662-2001. John F. Crowley, CEO. Home page: www.amicustherapeutics.com.
Amicus Therapeutics, which is developing drugs for rare genetic disorders, has granted British drugmaker Shire Plc marketing rights outside the United States to three drugs developed by Amicus.
Under the agreement, Amicus, a small biotechnology company based in Cranbury, New Jersey, will receive $50 million in cash and up to $150 million more if certain milestones are met. If commercialized, Amicus will receive up to $240 million in sales milestone payments. And it will receive double-digit royalties. The company estimates that the agreement will bring it some $440 million.
The companies will split the cost of developing and bringing the drugs to the market on a 50-50 basis, and Amicus will retain rights to the lucrative U.S. market.
Amicus is headed by John F. Crowley, who began his career as a biotechnology executive in 1998 after two of his children were diagnosed with Pompe, a rare fatal neuromuscular disease caused by a genetic enzyme deficiency. Amicus has a drug for Pompe in Phase I trials.
Geeta Anand, a Wall Street Journal science writer, wrote about Crowley in “The Cure: How a Father Raised $100 million — and Bucked the Medical Establishment — in a Quest to Save His Children.” The book is being made into a movie starring Harrison Ford.
In addition to a treatment for Pompe, Amicus is developing small molecule, orally-administered pharmacological chaperones to treat a range of other human genetic diseases. The company is currently conducting multiple Phase 2 studies of its lead product, AT1001, for Fabry disease, and Phase 2 studies of AT2101 for Gaucher disease. Spring, 2007.
While these are all rare diseases, Amicus is leveraging its core pharmacological chaperone platform to actively pursue therapies in other, more common genetic diseases, including Parkinson’s disease.
New in Town
IC Infotech Inc., 5 Independence Way, Suite 300, Princeton 08540; 609-514-5174; fax, 609-452-8464. Rajesh Rao, director. Home page: www.icinfotech.com.
IC Infotech, which was incorporated in California in 2005, has opened a beach head office in South Brunswick. IC is a subsidiary of Coromandel Infotech India, which is part of company that sells software to companies in the cement industry.
This office is headed by Rajesh Rao, vice president of business development.
PVML Photovoltaics, 947 State Road, Suite 204, Princeton 08540; 609-945-4930; fax, 609-945-1489. Constantine Gkikas, CEO. www.pvmlphotovoltaics.com.
PVML, a solar energy company headed by Constantine Gkikas, has opened an office on State Road. It consults on the design, manufacture, and installation of solar panels, emphasizing process automation.
Partnering with solar panel manufacturers, it aims to help clients to make use of solar energy in a cost efficent way by cutting cost per megawatt through decreasing production costs, increasing efficiency, and improving product consistency.
The company designs and oversees solar projects from the wafer through production of solar cells to the assembly of solar modules.
CHP Communicatons, 844 Lower Ferry Road, Ewing 08628; 908-797-5839; Nathan Hirshberg. www.chpcommunications.com.
Nathan Hirshberg, a recent graduate of the College of New Jersey, has opened a new office of marketing firm CHP Communications, for which he had worked while he was in school.
The firm specializes in work for small companies with limited advertising budgets, says Hirshberg. Clients include restaurants, golf courses, retirement homes, an insurance company, and a wilderness survival school.
Coastal Insulation Corporation, 100 Lake Drive, East Windsor 08520; 800-535-0028; fax, 866-405-2791. Bret Schwartz, owner.
Coastal Insulation Corporation, a 32-year-old company, has moved its headquarters from Spotswood to Twin Rivers. The 50-person firm, headed by Bret Schwartz, is occupying 42,900 square feet of space, most of it used as offices.
Coastal specializes in the application of fiberglass insulation in commercial and residential construction. Its market extends along the East Coast, from Connecticut to Maryland.
In locating in East Windsor, the company provided an easement to the Township for the Etra Lake Pathway, currently near completion, which extends along the southern edge of its new property and will connect with the cul-de-sac at the end of Lake Drive.
EQ Architecture LLC, 57 Hamilton Avenue, Suite 301, Hopewell; 609-466-0700; fax, 609-466-0708. Scott V. Prisco, CEO. Home page: www.eqarchitecture.com.
EQ Architecture, a firm specializing in educational architecture, opened its doors in July.
Scott Prisco, the firm’s chief executive officer, also headed the Prisco Group, which was involved in architecture, planning, technology, telecommunications, interior design, mechanical, electrical, plumbing, and fire protection engineering; waterproofing; and roofing consulting services.
The Prisco Group also had its offices at 57 Hamilton Avenue, but Prisco emphasizes that there is no link between the two firms. The Prisco Group closed in June.
EQ Architecture has a second principal, Maiya Entcheba.
The firm has done school projects in Pennsylvania, New York, and New Jersey, and is working on a $75 million project to renovate two schools in Liverpool, England.
Headwaters Energy Services (HDWR), 200 American Metro Center, Suite 123, Hamilton; 609-807-9308; Dr. Theo Lee, director. www.headwaters.com.
An engineering group of Headwaters Energy Services, a company with headquarters in Provo, Utah, has separated from Headwaters Technology Innovation Company, a 70-person division with offices at 11501 New York Avenue in Lawrence. The engineering group is now located in the American Metro Center.
Thom Lee, director of the engineering group, says that the move was occasioned by the burgeoning growth at the technology innovation company. “They’re hiring every day,” he says. “There was no more room.”
Lee’s division is involved in the design and engineering of Headwaters’ technology, and also in commercializing new energy technology. One of its main projects involves technology for turning coal into a clean burning, efficient, cost effective fuel for cars and other vehicles.
Turning coal into a fuel that can power cars is not really new, says Lee. “It was used in World War II,” he says. “And it was used in South Africa for 40 or 50 years. Oil was embargoed, so they used coal instead.”
The technology on which Lee has been working uses the same principles, but has to do more with coal. Not only does coal have to be turned into a liquid that can be used in vehicles, but it also has to be clean.
“The specs are getting more and more strict,” says Lee, referring to emissions standards imposed by state governments and the federal government here, and also by governments abroad. In addition, the coal to liquid ratio has to be high enough to justify the cost. “We’ve improved the yield,” says Lee.
The technology developed by his group has been licensed to China, which is building a coal-to-liquid fuel plant that is expected to go on line next year, he says.
Lee is confident that the technology will be used more widely. “Oil is now more than $90 a barrel,” he says. Alternatives have to be found.
Lee did his undergraduate work in Taiwan and earned his Ph.D. in chemical engineering from the University of New Brunswick in Canada. He came to the Princeton area in 1992 to take a job with Hydrocarbon Research Inc., which was purchased by Hydrocarbon Technology in 1995. That company, in turn, was sold to Headwaters in 2001.
Hudson City Savings Bank, 3562 State Route 27, Suite 130, Kendall Park 08824-1049; 732-297-0743; fax, 732-297-0783. Tom Palladino, branch manager. Home page: www.hudsoncitysavingsbank.com.
Hudson City Savings Bank opened a branch in Kendall Park in April. The bank, which was founded in 1868 with a single savings bank in Hudson, has 115 branches in New Jersey, New York, and Connecticut.
Tom Palladino, the branch manager, grew up in Staten Island, and went to Wagner College. His wife works for private aviation company, and they have twins, a boy who just graduated from his father’s alma mater and a girl who graduated from Rutgers.
Palladino’s first career, for 20 years, was as a currency trader for foreign banks. He is glad to leave the arena where decisions must often be made second by second and reporters called him in the middle of the night, during crisis times like Desert Storm, to get predictions on dollar strength.
“When technology improved, and the Euro eliminated many of the foreign currencies, the number of jobs decreased — so I moved into retail banking,” says Palladino. “Now I enjoy the customer contact — and I like how Hudson City Bank focuses on customer needs.”
GPC Biotech Inc. (GPCB), 101 College Road East, Princeton 08540; 609-524-1000; fax, 609-524-1050. Bernd Seizinger MD PhD, CEO. www.gpc-biotech.com.
GPC, a biotechnology company with its headquarters in Munich, and its United States’ office on College Road East, has just made its third round of lay-offs this year. Sixty of the lay-offs will take place in Munich and 43 in Princeton, leaving a staff of 114, 58 of whom will work in Princeton. Key executives have been retained.
This latest action follows GPC’s announcement, in late October, that its lead drug, satraplatin, had fared poorly in clinical trials. As late as last August, the company had held out hope that the drug, which treats prostate cancer, would gain approval from the FDA. An advantage of the drug is that it is taken orally, rather than intervenously, meaning that patients could be treated at home. The company had been seeking accelerated approval for the drug, but in Phase III trials it showed no survival benefit.
Bernd R. Seizinger, the company’s CEO, said in a prepared statement that “Our goal of having approximately two years of operating cash on hand at the end of 2007 has sadly necessitated very significant staff reductions on both sides of the Atlantic.”
Seizinger said that GPC is working on implementing a revised strategic plan, which includes focusing internal efforts on a limited number of development-stage oncology projects, significantly increasing licensing efforts, and actively exploring merger and opportunities.