On December 5 Bristol-Myers Squibb announced a sweeping re-alignment, including the lay-off of 4,300 employees as the start of a transformation from an “R & D oganization into a next-generation BioPharma model.”

The company gave few details of the lay-offs or of its stated plan to close half of its manufacturing facilities by 2010 and to reduce its portolio of “mature products” by 60 percent. But Bristol-Myers Squibb did single out its ConvaTec division for mention. The wound care and ostomy care company has its global headquarters at Headquarters Park Drive off Route 206 in Skillman.

In a prepared statement, the company said that it “is seeking opportunities to maximize the value of its Health Care Group companies for shareholders. Consistent with this objective, the company plans to divest its Medical Imaging business. Further, the company is currently reviewing a range of strategic alternatives for ConvaTec and Mead Johnson business.”

Pete Paradossi, spokesman for the company’s ConvaTec and Mead Johnson division, said that “strategic alternatives” could mean anything. Yes, the division could be sold, but other options are being explored as well. In any case, Paradossi says that Bristol-Myers Squibb’s new direction should have little effect on the ConvaTec division, no matter who ends up owning it. ConvaTec, he says, “is a robust and growing business.”

“There will be minimal head count reduction,” Paradossi says. But there will be some. “Note that I didn’t say no head count reduction,” he says. “I said ‘minimal’ head count reduction.”

While half of Bristol-Myers’ manufacturing facilities will be closed, none of these will be ConvaTec facilities, says Paradossi. ConvaTec does not do its manufacturing in New Jersey. Its plants are in North Carolina, the Dominican Republic, and the United Kingdom. Employees at the Skillman headquarters are in administration, marketing, R & D, accounting, and related areas.

ConvaTec has between 350 and 400 employees in Skillman, and 3,400 employees worldwide, says Paradossi.

In addition to ConvaTec, Bristol-Myers Squibb has a number of other divisions in and around the greater Princeton area. The company has said in a number of statements that it is not prepared to provide specifics on exactly how these operations will be affected or how many area employees will be laid off. It has said, however, that many of its planned cuts will come from “non-core general and administrative functions,” some of which do take place at the company’s Princeton area facilities, which are also home to a number of R & D functions.

The company has said that it has informed some employees that their jobs will be terminated, and that others will hear the news in the coming year. The lay-offs have begun, and will stretch into 2010.

Paradossi says that most lay-offs will occur in Bristol-Myers’ worldwide medicines business, which makes up 75 to 80 percent of the company’s operations.

ConvaTec, a Bristol-Myers Squibb Company (BMY), 200 Headquarters Park Drive, CN 5254, Princeton 08543-5254; 908-904-2500. Gary Restani, president. Home page: www.convatec.com.

Management Move

Dow Jones & Company (DJ), 4300 Route 1 North at Ridge Road, South Brunswick 08852; 609-520-4000; fax, 609-520-4010. Richard Zannino, CEO. Home page: www.dowjones.com.

Dow Jones & Company announced on December 6 that Richard F. Zannino, chief executive officer, plans to leave the Company after the closing of the acquisition of Dow Jones by Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp, which is expected to take place this month. Zannino had served in that position only since 2006.

Longtime News Corp executive Les Hinton has been named Dow Jones’ new chief executive officer, and Robert Thomson, editor of Murdoch-owned Times of London, will take over as the publisher.

The acquisition of Dow Jones by News Corporation will be voted on by Dow Jones shareholders on Thursday, December 13, and is expected to be completed shortly thereafter.

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 Biotech announced the appointment of Torsten Hombeck to the position of chief financial officer on December 4. Hombeck will assume his duties on January 1, replacing Mirko Scherer, who is resigning from the company, effective immediately, to pursue other interests. Scherer will remain a consultant to GPC Biotech.

In a prepared statement Bernd R. Seizinger, GPC’s chief executive officer, said that Scherer has “worked tirelessly to build and grow GPC Biotech since he helped to found the company ten years ago. Dr. Scherer has played a key role in keeping the Company well financed, which is critically important for a biotech company.”

Hombeck has been with GPC Biotech for more than eight years. His role now, Seizinger said, will be to “move the company forward, including our heightened focus on M&A activities.”

GPC, a biotechnology company with worldwide headquarters in Munich and U.S. headquarters at 101 College Road East, made its third round of lay-offs last month, cutting 44 percent of its workforce, leaving a staff of 114, 58 of them at the College Road office. The lay-offs were made following GPC’s announcement, in late October, that its lead drug, satraplatin, had fared poorly in clinical trials.

Leaving Town

Home Care Association of New Jersey, 14 Washington Road, Princeton Junction; 609-275-6100. www.homecarenj.org.

The Home Care Association of New Jersey has moved out of the area. The private non-profit organization of home care providers had been located at 14 Washington Road. Its new office address is 485 D Route 1 South, Iselin, 08830. The phone number remains the same.

The four-person organization offers educational programs, publications, and services to home care providers.

A spokesperson says that the move was made because there was uncertainty over whether 14 Washington Road would be sold, and because Iselin is more central to its clients, particularly to clients in the northern part of New Jersey.

New in Town

Bytech Inc., 51 Everett Drive, Suite B-10, West Windsor; 609-799-5366; fax, 609-799-5344. www.bytechinc.com.

Bytech Inc. has opened a sales office on Everett Drive. The company, which is based in Taipei City in Taiwan, sells power supplies, small displays, and other items for use at trade shows.

Catalyst Systems Inc., 4365 Route 1 South, Suite 204, Princeton; 609-243-0555. Piya Paulus, founder. www.catalystsystems.us.

Catalyst Systems has established offices at 4365 Route 1 South. The five year old company provides project management, software development, staffing, and other IT services for the financial and pharmaceutical industries.

The company is headed by Piya Paulus, who worked for a number of companies, including SYBASE, Prudential Financial, and UBS, where she was associate director of the private banking division.

Philly Lawyers Move

Blank Rome, one of Philadelphia’s largest law firms, is planning to open an office in Princeton in January. Spokesperson Melissa Volin says that the firm is working on a lease on offices “within the city limits,” but she declines to give an address.

The firm has recruited five partners from Saul Ewing to head up the new office, which, says Volin, will eventually be a “full service office.” The partners are John Pribish, Seth J. Lapidow, Michael J. Conlan, Adrienne C. Rogove, and Virginia G. White. Their specialties include general commercial, environmental, real estate, and civil litigation.

Volin says that the firm was attracted to Princeton because it is a center for technology, healthcare, and venture capital.

Blank Rome (www.blankrome.com) is an international law with more than 500 attorneys.

Deaths

Jill B. Vincent, 71, on December 4. A Princeton resident, she managed Palmer House, the Princeton University guest house, for 30 years. She was also on the board of the North Princeton Developmental Center and was active in the parents association of Princeton Day School.

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