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These articles were prepared for the February 28, 2001 edition of
U.S. 1 Newspaper. All rights reserved.
Life in the Fast Lane
Vela Pharmaceuticals, formerly known as Janus
has received $16.3 million in second round financing from Venrock
Associates and New Enterprise Associates and is moving out of
space at Johnston Associates. The 10-person firm plans to move in
early March from 181 Cherry Valley Road to 3131 Princeton Pike. The
company works on drug development opportunities — therapeutic
agents for psychiatric, neurologic, and behavioral disorders —
from a variety of different sources.
The president and CEO, Kevin L. Keim, went to Delaware Valley College
of Science, Class of 1968, and has a master’s degree from Fairleigh
Dickinson and a PhD in neurophysiology from New York University. After
17 years at Hoffman LaRoche he moved to the Princeton area to join
the Ayerst Group, and when worked in Radnor for Wyeth-Ayerst. In 1991
he became one of four partners in International Research Corporation
in San Diego, which joined another clinical research organization
— Quintiles — and went public in 1994.
Following an unusual business model, Vela will derive most of its
revenue not from drug discovery, but rather from acquiring licenses
to drugs that were abandoned by other pharmaceuticals, typically
Phase II or Phase III testing.
"A company may have decided to drop a drug because it had other
priorities," Stefan Antonsson, vice president of corporate
gives as one reason that Vela might "in-license" a drug. Other
reasons, Antonsson says, could include a failed Phase II or Phase
III test. If Vela determines that the drug is promising, but did not
do well because of a flaw in the design of the test, it might pick
up the drug’s license. Mergers also provide opportunities for the
company. "When two companies merge, there is a complete portfolio
review," Antonsson says, "There have to be priorities
Often, he says, the result is that some drugs are removed from the
newly-joined company’s pipeline.
In addition to picking up drugs that are part way through the Federal
Drug Administration’s approval process, Vela plans to in-license drugs
that are in use in other countries, but are not approved in the United
States. It also plans to develop new uses for approved drugs. Once
Vela has obtained a license to a partially-developed drug, it will
outsource further development to a contract research organization.
The company will design the clinical trials and will oversee their
After its drugs are approved, Vela will not market them itself in
most cases. It will seek to license them to pharmaceutical companies.
Exceptions, Antonsson says, could be niche drugs — those for a
disease with a relatively small universe of patients. A drug to treat
anorexia nervosa could be an example, he says, because the number
of physicians who treat the disease is small enough for a company
like Vela, which has limited marketing resources, to reach.
Vela will look for development candidates among drugs targeting
nervous system disorders, Antonsson says. That is where the expertise
of the company’s management lies. Keim is a neurophysiologist. Steven
Leventer, a neurochemist and vice president of clinical research and
development, is a graduate of Loyola University School of Medicine
who initiated research in the creation of animal models for
disease. Sharon L. Rogers, whose training is in clinical pharmacology,
is a graduate of Ohio State University College of Medicine. While
she was at Japanese pharmaceutical company Eisai, she was global
leader for the Alzheimer’s therapeutic agent Aricept. She negotiated
approval for the drug in the United States.
Antonsson is a graduate of Columbia who holds an MBA in marketing
from New York University. Before joining Vela he worked in marketing
for Pharmacia, Forest Laboratories, and Richwood Pharmaceuticals,
which has been acquired by Shire Pharmaceuticals.
Robert F. Johnston, president of Johnston Associates, the venture
capital firm with offices on Cherry Valley Road that provides seed
capital for biotechnology and healthcare startups, is a founder and
serves as chairman of the board. Other founders are Mark Fisher,
of MBF Capital Corporation; Seth Lederman, director of the laboratory
of molecular immunology of the department of medicine of Columbia
University; Donald W. Landry, chief of the division of experimental
therapeutics of the department of medicine of Columbia University;
and S. Leslie Misrock, senior partner, Pennie & Edmonds. On the board
are Anthony Evnin, managing general partner of Venrock Associates,
Ernest Mario, chairman and chief executive officer of Alza
Charles Newhall of New Enterprise Associates; and Philip M. Satow,
past president of Forest Pharmaceuticals.
Building 4, Suite 216, Lawrenceville 08648. Kevin L. Keim, CEO.
609-895-8352; fax, 609-895-8353. Until the move: 609-683-9616; fax,
On Monday, February 26, Eduneering — a fast-growing
online learning and testing firm — was scheduled to move from
1 Summit Square in Langhorne to Campus Drive, just off Alexander Road.
The moving vans were at the door — and were turned away. The
An unexpected delay in obtaining a certificate of occupancy. Now the
move is scheduled for Monday, March 5.
Founded by Robert P. Delamontagne at Research Park, the firm moved
to Titusville when it was bought by Hastings Healthcare Group. It
spun off when Hastings was acquired, and then moved to Langhorne.
The 40-person firm has the contract for the Food and Drug
testing and training, and it also does similar work for the petroleum,
pharmaceutical, and manufacturing industries.
08540. Robert P. Delamontagne, president. 609-627-5300. fax,
Home page: www.eduneering.com.
Mountain View Office Park Suite 307, West Trenton 08628. P. Norman
Deitch, director traffic engineering services. 609-530-0888; fax,
609-530-0868. Home page: www.orth-rodgers.com.
A private engineering consulting firm, based in center city
has opened a office at Mountain View Office Park for transportation
engineering, planning, and design. This office has an on-going
with Monmouth and Cape May County, and it is assisting a West Trenton
firm, New Jersey Logos, with site plan review services. Another office
is in Somerset.
08536. Ramu Kalyanasundaram. 609-897-9700; fax, 609-897-9474. Home
Web-enabled software for the banking and financial industries is the
focus for this start-up, which has opened a 700 square foot office
at Princeton Meadows Office Center. It also has a technical support
center in Maryland and R&D operations in Bangalore, India.
Its web-enabled Banking Suite (rBS) is a modular system for platforms
using major databases. No longer must the client depend on hardware
or maintain client software on end-user stations. The rBS offers a
paper-free environment with scalability, 24-hour worldwide
and high security.
One of the modules receives data and image files from the central
bank, processes the checks, archives the dated image to be accessed
remotely at any time. Or it can be posted to accounting in real time.
This module can validate digital signatures and cope with old checks
and stop payment orders. Remote clients can make web-based inquiries.
08540. Sam Serrapede, principal. 609-452-2323; fax, 609-452-2314.
Insurance companies ask homeowners to keep a record of household
but do they? Almost never. It’s too much trouble. Sam Serrapede has
a solution, a "Simple Solution," as his company is named.
By September the firm will have a $49.95 fixed asset software program
Serrapede plans for insurance companies to equip their agents with
the Simplex program. Agents take their laptops on the initial visit
to the home and record all the homeowners possessions on the Simplex
program: item, original cost, replacement cost, etc. All the homeowner
must do is try answer the agent’s questions. The record of this
will reside, password protected, on the Internet. New purchase? Add
it by phoning your agent or by going to the Web and making the change
Serrapedes’ parents were Italian immigrants, and he went to City
of New York, Class of 1964. He is married to a human resources person
at KPMB; she is the director of the work/life initiative there.
Serrapedes and his partner, Antony Xavier, started their company last
year and have a three-person office at 600 Alexander Road. Most of
the software development — 8,000 person hours — is being
in Madras, India, Xavier’s home country. The firm is developing a
reporting database for Milmic, a medical malpractice insurance company
in New York City. Both men had been working for Delphi Technology
until it moved to New Brunswick.
Road, Box 700, Hightstown 08520. Neil Carr, president. 609-443-2000;
fax, 609-443-2422. Home page: www.elementis-specialties.com.
A London-based firm, Elementis PLC, has acquired Rheox Inc. from NL
Industries, which once owned 300 acres here, everything up to the
turnpike. Both firms are now located on Wyckoffs Mill Road. An NL
related firm, Kronos, has moved to Dayton.
Road, Mountain View Office Park, Suite 301, West Trenton 08628. Mark
J. Manta, managing partner. 609-883-6990; fax, 609-883-7730. Home
Mark Manta has left Manta & Welge, a Philadelphia firm, to join a
Pittsburgh-based firm. There are two attorneys at this office. Klett
Rooney has offices in Harrisburg, Wilmington, Newark, and the District
of Columbia — a total of 170 attorneys.
Route 33, Hamilton Square 08690. Brian Hartmann, vice president.
This 30-year-old company moved on January 29 from Princeton Corporate
Plaza to Hamilton Square. With a staff of about 50 people, it does
on-site plumbing and electrical inspections for municipalities that
have no inspectors on staff or that need extra help.
Way, Hamilton 08648. Robert W. Koepke, executive vice president.
Great American Mortgage Service Corp., a lender specializing in
and small commercial mortgages, has moved from 3,100 square feet in
Lawrence Commons to about 2,000 square feet in Hamilton Square.
Bob Koepke, executive vice president, says the company relocated
its lease was up and its former landlord wanted to raise the rent
to what he termed "Carnegie Center rents." Koepke says he
likes the Hamilton Square location better. "It’s the sixth largest
town in the state."
Road, Building 2, Suite 208, Princeton 08540. 609-452-8383.
The attorney moved from Lawrence Commons to Alexander Road.
Box 446, Princeton 08540. Carlos and Raoul Momo. 609-924-4009; fax,
The Momo brothers, restaurateurs, closed a Nassau Street office and
consolidated the administrative functions in Kingston. They own
Teresa’s, Winepress, Pizza Colore, Witherspoon Bread Company, Nova
Terra, and Momo’s.
Stylianou, president. 609-586-5565; fax, 609-586-5124.
Dmitri Stylianou has moved his company, which does financial software
development and multimedia systems, from the Princeton Pike area to
Plaza, Suite F, Monmouth Junction 08852. Wlodek Mandecki, president
and CEO. 732-355-0100; fax, 732-355-0102. Home page:
The biotech company has made a strategic partnership with Mitsui &
Company, one of the three largest corporations in Japan and sixth
worldwide in annual revenues. Mitsui has made a multi-million dollar
equity investment in the licensing opportunities for light-powered
microtransponders for particular markets. PharmaSeq offers
for diagnostics and assay for drug discovery.
Road, Lawrenceville 08648. Dennis P. Wilkinson, president and CEO.
609-912-9400; fax, 609-912-0044. Www.pvimage.com.
Princeton Video Image signed a $17.5 million contract with Cablevision
Systems Corp. of New York. PVI will give Cablevision 4 million newly
issued shares of stock and nonexclusive rights to its virtual imaging
technology. Cablevision, which owns three sports teams and numerous
television stations, will be able to use EyeVision instant replays
and eventually, using a technique called iPoint, will be able to
certain households with particular advertisements on virtual
Junction 08550. Ezra Schneier, vice president. 609-297-3000; fax,
609-716-3062. Home page: www.pretiem.com.
Pretiem Corp. — which does preemployment screening services and
background checks on job applicants — has been acquired by
Inc., formerly CIC Applicant Background Checks. Pretiem was formerly
known as MBI Services. HireCheck is a subsidiary of First American
Corporation, located in Santa Ana California.
Ezra Schnier, former president of Pretiem, is vice president of
and David Kennedy will remain in charge of day to day operations for
this 50-person office. John W. Long is president of HireCheck Inc.
206, Trenton 08610. Edwin Silver, owner. 609-888-0111; fax,
"Technology increases, need for space decreases," says Edwin
Silver, owner of Silver Reporting. The 12 court reporters who work
for Silver used to come in to the office to transcribe their notes.
Now, Silver says, there is no need for them to do so. They take
notes at depositions and then type them up on their home PCs and
Needing less space for his business, Silver has moved from 2,600
feet at 3131 Princeton Pike to 750 square feet at 634 Arena Drive
Durinda Dobbins Putnam, 79, on February 24. She and her husband
Peter co-founded and led the Princeton Memorial Association.
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