Telephone conversation overheard in April by a reporter at a nursing home: “Your mother isn’t there? But the ambulance took her to the emergency room at XYZ medical center. No, I don’t know where they took her if she is not at XYZ. I’ll find out and call you back.” At this point the nurse spent the next 30 minutes on the phone, calling hospital emergency rooms to locate the patient.

One misplaced patient at one nursing home on one day — multiply that hundreds of times to get an idea of the confusion that could result in a natural or man-made emergency.

Semandex Networks, a company that has incubated in the Sarnoff Corporation on Route 1, has been providing its super-speedy data retrieval product to the military, and now it has funding to develop a similar product for the Medical Emergency Disaster Response Network (MEDRN).

MEDRN helps emergency agencies and public health officials respond faster and more effectively to natural or man-made emergencies such as a pandemic, a terrorist attack, or a natural disaster, according to a press release.

The Phase II Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) grant from the National Institutes of Health and National Library of Medicine (NIH/NLM) will pay for a pilot program. Semandex software codes the various pieces of information (such as availability of hospital beds and location of ambulance units) with semantic tags that identify items in a more intelligent way than simple word labels.

Instead of using Google-type searches that are based on particular terms and that retrieve cached information, the Semandex software creates a “semantic web.” It can conduct content-based searches over databases that are not compatible with each other.

“MEDRN gives everyone at every agency access to the data they need to accomplish their tasks and stay on top of an emergency situation,” says CEO Daniel Reininger. “Since they’re getting better information, they can make better decisions. Because they all have the same information, they can work as a team instead of at cross purposes.”

Agencies can share data on, for instance:

Patient treatment resources (number and availability of hospital beds, types of facilities present, emergency personnel on call);

Dispatch system information (dispatch memos, location of EMS units);

Logistical resources in the possession of first responder groups (blankets, respirators);

Medical data from local labs.

The network does not require a central database, and it integrates various information systems, so different communities will be able to share their emergency information in an “information mutual aid network.” Team members can access this data anywhere they can find an IP connection.

Reininger says the firm also has angel investment and has been profitable since 2002.

Reininger grew up in Uruguay, where his family, of Austrian heritage, had retail businesses, and he came to the United States in 1982. A 1991 graduate of the Illinois Institute of Technology, he has a PhD from Rutgers, and has lived in Princeton before, when he worked for Sarnoff — in the same building where he now rents space. At NEC he had been working on broadband wireless, wireless ATM machines, and mobile multimedia. He returned to Princeton in 2000, the same year that he started Semandex. Semandex already had a contract worth $10 million from the Department of Defense to help Marines in Iraq find and distribute crucial battlespace information several times faster.

Following its foray into health care, the company has said it wants to move into the financial services industry.

Semandex Networks Inc., 201 Washington Road, c/o Sarnoff, Princeton 08540; 609-720-4932; fax, 609-514-4061. Daniel Reininger.

CRO Expansions

Covance Inc. (CVD), 206 Carnegie Center, Princeton 08540-6681; 609-452-8550; fax, 609-452-9375. Joe Herring, chairman and CEO. Home page:

Covance, a clinical research organization with 660 employees at the Carnegie Center, bought a division of Radiant Research, based in Bellevue, Washington, for about $65 million. The buy includes eight early-phase clinical research sites, which brings Covance’s capacity for Phase I and IIA clinical trials up to 500 beds, globally. The eight new sites (in Texas, Idaho, Florida, Hawaii, Oregon and California) bring in about $25 million per year.

“Early-phase clinical trials continue to be one of the biggest bottlenecks in the development of new medicines,” said Joe Herring, CEO of Covance in a press release. “These eight sites will expand Covance’s early clinical service offering.”

Radpharm, 103 Carnegie Center, Suite 200 A, Princeton 08540; 609-936-2600; fax, 609-936-2602. Ronald Berg, CEO. Home page:

Having raised $8 million in equity financing, Radpharm is expanding from 18,000 square feet at the Carnegie Center to 43,500 square feet at Princeton Overlook. For clinical trials Radpharm provides medical-imaging collection and interpretation services. It is a sister company to Princeton Radiology Associates.

RadPharm’s investors include Adams Street Partners of Chicago and Ampersand Investors of Wellesley, Mass.

“We are pleased that RadPharm Inc. chose to relocate within our portfolio and that we were able to meet its expansion requirements,” says Mitchell E. Hersh, CEO of Mack-Cali, the Cranford-based real estate investment trust that owns both buildings.

IT Expansion

Inine Technologies LLC, 3 Independence Way, Suite 117, Princeton 08540; 609-452-5618; fax, 609-452-8464. Prabhuram Ramanathan, CEO. Home page:

Inine Technologies, formerly at 5 Independence Way, opened a new technology development center at 3 Independence Way in March. An information technology services company, it is headquartered in Princeton, with regional operations in Asia and Europe.

The company focuses on the discovery and development of software products to improve information technology for small and medium-sized businesses.



Activities, Event Specialists has downsized to three planners and has altered its business strategy by aligning itself with one of the three top site selection companies in the world, Conference Direct.

Activities president Michael Young closed a small and very similar company, Meeting Dimensions, and became national account and conference manager for Conference Direct, which he describes as “a site selection and complete conference management resource that acts as an extension to our customers’ staff in order to save them time and money.”

Activities plans special events, meetings, sports events, and trade shows. Planners work out of home offices and design, manage, and produce events, outsourcing requirements like catering, equipment rental, lighting, and sound. He describes his team as combining the talents of architects and general contractors with regard to event planning.

Conference Direct, which booked $1.2 million in hotel rooms last year, has associates who represent the company and its services. Started by two former Hilton executives, the company has corporate offices in Los Angeles and Atlanta.

Young comes from a hospitality background; his family owned Don Young’s restaurant for 33 years. He has staged such events as a thank-you luncheon for 7,200 Educational Testing Service employees at a New Jersey convention center, a company picnic for 3,000 Computer Associates employees in Yardville, a Lucent Technologies meeting for 200 people in Key Biscayne, Sarnoff Corporation’s 10th anniversary dinner for 400, a pharmaceutical company’s launch dinner for 500 people in an airplane hangar, and a biotech’s “thank-you” weekend for the families in the Poconos (U.S. 1, January 14, 2004.)

As a preferred vendor for Conference Direct, Activities handles stand-alone events and team building programs for the larger company. Interaction between the companies is in the start-up phase. In the works for Activities is a solicitation to Conference Direct customers. “The association between Activities and Conference Direct was a perfect complement to be able to provide full meeting and event services to customers,” says Young.

Young’s primary interest is to have Activities doing higher-end events, larger and with more people, for example, product launches and shows. “I don’t see us doing a Superbowl halftime show, but I can see us doing other more publicly recognized events,” he says. Because Activities is an independently owned business, he can shape the work to his liking. “I’m looking for more challenging events, requiring more creativity,” he says.

— Michele Alperin

Activities, Event Specialists, 9 Mansion Hill Drive, West Trenton 08628; 609-882-2280; fax, 609-883-0023. Michael D. Young CMP, president. Home page:

Conference Direct, 9 Mansion Hill Drive, West Trenton 08628; 609-538-1007; fax, 609-883-0023. Michael D. Young CMP, national account and conference manager. Home page:

Leaving Town

Degussa Energy Procurement, 379 Princeton-Hightstown Road, Building 3, Suite 5, East Windsor 08520; Home page:

Degussa Energy Procurement has closed its 2-person operation in East Windsor and moved to Parsippany. It focuses on energy procurement — natural gas, electricity.

Equaloan Mortgage Services, 110 Stanhope Street, Princeton Forrestal Village, Princeton 08540. Home page:

The mortgage office for Equaloan, a member of the Honest Mortgage Lenders Network, which moved to Forrestal Village in May 2005, has reported that it is not active at that location.

Out of Business

Donation Exchange, 326 Pennington-Harbourton Road, Pennington. Home page:

Donation Exchange, which had the mission of expanding charitable giving to nonprofit organizations through gifts of real estate, is now out of business, according to its founder, Brad Caswell.

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