Adrian Adams, son of a British millworker, says he found a kindred spirit in Michael Jaharis, son of a Greek immigrant. In 2001 Adams met Jaharis – now a millionaire many times over – and a week later Adams quit his CEO’s job in England to work for Jaharis as president and CEO of Kos (rhymes with close) Pharmaceuticals. Kos is the fast-growing specialty pharmaceutical firm that markets Niaspan and Advicor for cardiovascular patients and Azmacort for asthma patients.
Earlier this year Adams moved the headquarters of Kos from Miami to Cedar Brook Corporate Center in Cranbury, where it has 130 people now and expects to have 200 people by the end of the year. Kos’ offices for administration, research, sales, and marketing occupy the 9,000 square feet that Eastern Properties had built for the embattled Epigenesis, which coincidentally also focused on respiratory diseases. An additional 120 manufacturing and quality assurance workers are employed at Kos’ Edison facility.
"Once we decided to move the headquarters to New Jersey, we came across this property, and we are delighted to be close to Princeton," says Adams. He will hold a shareholders’ meeting at the new headquarters in April. He started off looking at New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Connecticut, and Massachusetts. Tax benefits or other state blandishments were not among the factors considered in the site selection. "The timing was right. The site was a beautiful site. The
office had what we needed."
With therapies for chronic cardiovascular and respiratory diseases, Kos was the fastest growing pharmaceutical company in the United States last year in terms of revenue growth, and the company says it plans to have $1 billion in revenue by 2007.
"We’re 1,110 people now, and when I took over as CEO in January, 2002, we had numbers of 350. It has been all organic growth. As we’ve grown sales wise, our sales force and infrastructure have grown," says Adams.
Born to Welsh parents, Adams grew up in the north of England, where his father was a carpenter in a cotton mill. He was the fourth of seven children in a two-bedroom house. "I basically left school at age 16, doing my A-levels and degree and master’s degree part-time." He worked his way up, in a laboratory, to be a research chemist.
Now he has six children, from age 10 months to 23 years – two with his British-born wife, who died in her 30s, and four with his American wife. They live in a five-bedroom house near Media, Pennsylvania, which represents an 80-minute commute for Adams.
Adams terms Kos a company "grown from God’s gift to cholesterol." Others term the founder, Michael Jaharis, a pharmaceutical maverick with a knack for reformulating something familiar into something profitable, a gift comparable to spinning straw into gold.
Starting out, Jaharis was a sales representative for Miles Laboratories who attended law school at night. He and a partner took over the foundering Miami-based Key Pharmaceuticals in 1972 and developed a pioneering sustained release therapy for asthma and a transdermal nitroglycerin delivery system. In 1986 they sold it for $836 million to Schering Plough. Now the Jaharis family’s
philanthropic ventures include such activities as donating the Byzantine wing of the Metropolitan and $10 million to Tufts University; Michael Jaharis also takes a leadership role in the Greek Orthodox Church.
After the sale of Key, Jaharis started Kos in 1988 and named it after the Greek island where Hippocrates founded the science of medicine and where Da Vinci did his medical drawings. Key’s former head of R&D, David Bova (rhymes with say), came up with the idea of Niaspan, derived from Vitamin B, and also known as niacin, which is sold over the counter but not well-tolerated. Reformulated in the form of Niaspan – the only FDA-approved prescription extended release niacin
– it is well tolerated and is considered the most effective drug for increasing "good" cholesterol with minimal side effects. Jaharis and Dan Bell, the first president at Kos and now the board chairman, took the company public. Jaharis invested $200 million of his own money to promote Niaspan.
"When the company went public in 1997, we had just launched Niaspan, but we had just 90 sales people in the United States and were competing with the giant companies that were all selling products for lowering bad cholesterol," says Adams.
Now Kos has a sales force of about 500 people and last January began a co-promotion with Takeda Pharmaceuticals North America, so that 1,250 people from that company are also promoting Niaspan, Azmacort (bought for $200 million last year), and Advacor, described as a "cholesterol M&M." It consists of Niaspan plus a film coating of lovastatin, which performs an LDL-lowering function similar to Lipitor and Zocor. Though Kos has patents on Niaspan that extend to 2013 and 2017, it is in litigation with Barr Labs on five of the patents. (Barr Lab is claiming that its generic Niaspan does not infringe on the Kos patents, and that the Kos patents are not valid.) The trial date is
set for 2006.
"It is certainly not our plan to build ourselves for sale. We are not a generic. We would be proud to be a highly successful specialty pharma, like Forest Pharmaceutical," says Adams. "We have been skating under the radar screen to a certain extent. What we are keen to do now is increase."
"Kos Pharmaceuticals is a growth story that has yet to meet its boundaries," writes analyst Levi Bauer in a contribution to another analyst’s blog (www.billcara.com). "The company is small enough to be able to bring significant revenue to the bottom line when they succeed, and yet large enough to play in a market dominated by the likes of Pfizer and Merck." Bauer calls Kos "a David among a host of large-cap pharmaceutical Goliaths."
Adams insists that recruits from big pharmaceutical firms like the idea of working in a people-centric firm. "With me a family person, and down to earth, we center all our activities and strategies around people," says Adams. "We don’t have a lot of levels, everybody is a shareholder. We all work very hard. we are all pretty good at what we do. That’s why when we opened NASDAQ (last month) and rang the bell, I had all my family there as well, giving the message that we are a family company. As we grow we want to not lose sight of where we come from."
Kos Pharmaceuticals (KOSP), 1 Cedar Brook Drive, Cedar Brook Corporate Center, Cranbury 08512. Adrian Adams, president and CEO. 609-495-0500; fax, 609-495-0920. Home Page: www.kospharm.com
Two Decades of Flight
Just at the moment when three members of the Nierenberg family were planning their 20th anniversary celebration as owners of Princeton Airport, they decided to bring in a fourth person, Michael Stachowicz, as director of operations.
"We have so many issues that have to be tended to that it became increasingly clear that we needed additional help," says Ken Nierenberg, the airport manager and son of the founders, Richard and Naomi. "Airports are like a little city in need of a multitude of services such as grounds maintenance, snow removal, and paving." The Nierenbergs have been in the airport business since 1973, but they
moved their base of operations from Hillsborough’s Kupper Airport when the lease expired in 1985. Princeton Airport, opened in 1911, was one of the oldest, continuously operating general aviation facilities in the country. At that point it had 50 acres, 20 T-hangars, and an administration building, but not much business.
The Nierenbergs built the business. The airport now has sixty indoor hangars and four years ago it doubled in size to 100 acres, which includes a new runway, taxiway, and lighting system. Under construction now is a 3,000 square foot second story for the administration building.
Through Princeton Air Corp., Ken and Richard Nierenberg offer aircraft maintenance, an avionics shop, and an American Champion dealership. Naomi Nierenberg runs the Raritan Valley Flying School, which can provide novice training or advanced air transport training for fixed wing aircraft. Avis Car Rentals recently moved from Princeton to the airport. Also here is the Princeton Pilot Shoppe; a school for rotary-winged aircraft, Nassau Helicopters; and Analar Corp., a helicopter charter service.
Stachowicz has had a close association both with the community and the airport. His parents, Mary and John, had owned 206 Hardware at Montgomery Shopping Center, and he operated it until 1998, when it closed. He has also served on the planning board, the environmental commission, the fire prevention bureau, and the airport advisory committee.
Stachowicz took his first flying lessons when he was still in high school, and he continued flying after he went to St. Mary’s Seminary University in Baltimore, graduating in 1973. "Flying is the last area where you can define freedom," says Stachowicz in a press release.
"Very few times are you lucky enough to work with your passion. Now I will be able to have everyday input to the airport that has been my base of operations for almost 40 years."
Princeton Airport/ Raritan Valley Flying School, Princeton Airport, Route 206, Princeton 08540. Naomi Nierenberg, president. 609-921-3100; fax, 609-921-1291. Home Page: www.princetonairport.com
Oil, Timber, & Real Estate
After nearly 10 years of helping invest Princeton University’s funds, Robert L. Honstein has established his own independent investment management company, Newlin Capital, to serve endowments, foundations, and high net worth individuals.
"We are focused on trying to build what I would call a best-in-class management team focused on real assets catering to smaller institutions," says Honstein. "By aggregating capital, we are helping these foundations get access to investments that would normally be available only to larger institutions like Princeton."
His typical clients will be organizations with $100 million to $600 million to invest. They need the diversification of investments like real estate, oil, or timber, but they can’t afford the specialized staff needed to supervise these areas. Honstein has a Princeton-based cohort, Adrian Garcia, and his Chicago-based partner, Barbara Brown, has 25 years experience doing real estate for Allstate.
The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation on College Road is the exception to Newlin’s expected client list. "My lead investor just happens to be the fifth largest foundation in America," he says. "The RWJ Foundation hoped to invest in new areas but did not want to expand its staff. They thought of a way to leverage a group of smart folks."
The RWJ Foundation committed funds to two "fund of fund" partnerships: Newlin Realty Partners LP (which has $130 million) and Newlin Energy Partners LP (which has $79 million). Honstein expects these funds to close in October. He is also raising $40 million for a timber fund. Buying commodities that take a long time to produce, or buying real estate, are diversification plays, says Honstein. He expects his value-added investments to mature in about 10 years, longer for timber, shorter for real estate. "These investments typically have to
be repositioned and sold when the time is right."
Oil and gas investments mature on a different time frame "because you are adding the value up front," he says. "You produce a field for a certain period of time before you decide to move on."
Honstein was raised in northern New Mexico, where his parents were real estate developers and owned Chevron "jobbers," sellers of wholesale and resale gas and lubricants. "My 77-year-old mother just opened her latest gas station a couple of years ago," he says. His family is also known for raising Morgan horses, an American breed, and his sister is a professional horse trainer.
He majored in civil engineering at the University of Vermont, Class of 1977, and has a master’s degree in environmental engineering from Syracuse and an MBA from the University of Pittsburgh. In the 1980s he was a partner at Matrix Development Group, the firm that developed much of the land at Exit 8A. At Princeton University and then at Nassau Capital, a private firm that managed some of the university’s investments, he worked alongside another Matrix partner, Randy Hack, to invest the university’s funds. While Honstein was there, he helped to grow the real asset portfolio from $50 million to more than $800 million in nine years.
"Nassau Capital began to wind down a couple of years ago," says Honstein. "I helped to resolve certain investments, and I realized that is what I love doing. Now I am doing for smaller endowments and foundations what I did for Princeton and Nassau – to take advantage of this asset class."
Newlin Capital Partners LLC, 44 Nassau Street, Suite 365, Box 1189, Princeton 08542-1189. Robert L. Honstein, senior managing director. 609-924-9240; fax, 609-924-9295. Home page: www.newlincapital.com
VoicePulse, 1095 Cranbury-South River Road, Suite 16, Monroe Township 08831. Ravi Sakaria, president & CEO. 609-409-1800; fax, 609-409-8511. Home page: www.voicepulse.com
VoicePulse is moving from 2227 Route 1 North in North Brunswick to Cranbury-South River Road. Founded by Ravi Sakaria, it offers Voice over Internet Protocol plans (VoIP) and claims to be the first company to bundle enhanced calling features in a low-cost, easy-to-use package. "Our sales come from online, and our target is the residential consumer," he says. "Soon we will be launching the small business product, and we are ramping up and hiring sales engineers to do customization."
His business plan is as low as $46 per month including unlimited long distance, and consumer plans range from $15 to $26.
"Easy-to-use VoIP represents a revolution in residential phone service. Consumers will initially switch to VoIP based on price," says Sakaria. "What they will also find, however, is that the features we can deliver over an IP-based communications network are far more advanced than what they have previously experienced."
A 1992 graduate of Rensselaer Polytech, Sakaria grew up in North Jersey, where his parents were industrial engineers. He had networking jobs at Hoffman LaRoche and First Fidelity/Wachovia, and in 1998 consulted for Time Warner on designing an enterprise VoIP network. "In 2002 I realized that VoIP was maturing," he says. "At that time nobody was offering a consumer service."
A month before he launched, Vonage, one of the first voice over IP companies, began its service. "We are different in the sense that we develop all the technology in house," says Sakaria. "Our competitors are using third-party products, but we offer features to our consumers that our competitors are still trying to match." Bartolomei Pucciarelli LLC, 2564 Brunswick Pike, Lawrenceville 08648.
James Bartolomei, partner. 609-883-9000; fax, 609-883-9008. Home page: www.bp-cpas.com
As planned, the headquarters of this certified public accounting and consulting firm moved to its own building on Brunswick Pike (U.S. 1, October 6, 2004).
CBRE Investors, 17 Hulfish Street, Suite 280, Princeton 08542. Jack A. Cuneo, managing director. 609-924-8031. Home page: www.cbreinvestors.com
The commercial real estate investment trust moved from shared space in Suite 200 with Crystal Ridge to its own suite, formerly occupied by Barton Asset Management. It is part of CB Richard Ellis.
NAMI Mercer NJ: The County’s Voice on Mental Illness, 3371 Route 1, Lawrence Commons, Suite 124, Lawrenceville 08648. Jerome Lindauer, executive director. 609-799-8994; fax, 609-799-8996. Home page: www.nami-mercer-nj.org
NAMI Mercer more than doubled its space with a move from Lakedale Road to 1,600 square feet on Brunswick Pike, and its phone and fax remain the same. It is a nonprofit organization that offers support, education, information, and advocacy for individuals and families facing the challenge of mental illness.
Compliance & Ethics Learning Solutions DBA Midi Inc., 100 Thanet Circle, Suite 301, Princeton 08540. Elizabeth Tomaszewicz, president & CEO. 609-924-4817; fax, 609-924-9207. Home page: www.midicorp.com
Elizabeth Tomaszewicz has replaced Jack Noon as president and CEO of this multimedia development company, which recently changed its name from Midi Inc. It offers Internet-based compliance training, off the shelf and custom interactive multimedia applications, including compliance and human resources training programs.
Princeton eCom Corporation, 650 College Road East, Princeton 08540. Ronald W. Averett, CEO. 609-606-3000; fax, 609-606-3297. www.princetonecom.com
Ron Averett has been promoted to the position of CEO at Princeton eCom, and the former CEO, Craig Kirsch, is board chairman. It received $5 million from its existing investors: Lazard Technology Partners, New Century Equity Holding, Mellon Ventures and Terra Lycos Ventures. Founded in 1984, the company provides electronic payment solutions to more than 1,500 banks, billers, and its partners.
Late this month it released a white paper on how Princeton eCom’s Real-Time Digital Scanline has significantly improved the customer experience for entering payee information. It validates the payee information as the customer is entering it and reduces the chance of these payments being rejected or delayed.
"By adding this proprietary service, Princeton eCom customers have achieved unprecedented error rates of only seven per 100,000 transactions," says a press release.
Amicus Therapeutics, 675 Route 1 South, Technology Center of New Jersey, North Brunswick 08902. John F. Crowley, CEO. 732-745-9977; fax, 732-745-9769. Home page: www.amicustherapeutics.com
In January John F. Crowley replaced Norman Hardman as CEO, and Hardman is now the chief scientific officer at Amicus Therapeutics. Also new here are Matthew Patterson, chief business officer, and Gregory Licholai MD, vice president of medical affairs and corporate development.
The son of an Englewood police officer, Crowley graduated from Georgetown niversity in 1989, earned a law degree from Notre Dame, and an MBA from Harvard. Most recently he was founding president and CEO of Orexigen Therapeutics, but he is known in Princeton for founding Novazyme Pharmaceuticals, which did research on a condition that affected his children, Pompe’s disease, a rare form of muscular dystrophy. He sold the firm to Genzyme in 2003.
Founded in 2002, Amicus raised $31 million series B financing last year. Amicus aims to develop orally-active, small molecule drugs to treat human genetic diseases that involve the misfolding and loss of a particular protein. The firm’s products act as "pharmacological chaperones" that selectively bind and "rescue" the misfolded target protein in order to restore its natural function. Its first drug, for Fabry disease, is in a Phase I clinical trial.
McLaughlin and Cooper, 949 West State Street, Trenton 08618. Jane Byers, office administrator. 609-989-8054; fax, 609-393-3565.
Michael Downey had a sole practitioner office at 4 Mercer Street in Hopewell, and he has joined a Trenton firm, McLaughlin and Cooper, where there are 10 attorneys.
New in Town
Blueprint Financial Services Inc., 379 Princeton-Hightstown Road, Building 1, Cranbury 08512. Venkata Yamarthy, president. 609-426-1040; fax, 609-426-1350.
Venkata Yamarthy moved his financial planning company from Hackensack to Princeton Junction. The four-year-old firm does financial planning and services including personal and corporate tax returns.
Sabry Lee, 5 Fitzgerald Avenue, Monroe Township 08831. Bernie Daus. 609-409-5422; fax, 609-409-5424. Home page: www.sabrylee.com Sabry Lee has opened an automotive warehouse and distribution center in 77,000 square feet in a new building at CenterPoint at 8A Industrial Park. The one-story building totals 230,000 square feet.
Out of Business
DeSaules Placement, 100 Overlook Center, Second Floor, Princeton 08540.
Pat deSaules says she has closed her human resources business at Princeton Overlook.
Peters Associates International Inc., 627 Route 518,Skillman 08558. T.V. Peters, president. 609-466-0803; fax, 609-466-8233.
This engineering consulting firm has closed. Focusing on the manufacture of synthetic fibers, it was working on projects in Italy and Israel.
Lulay Group LLC, 612 Bradley Court, Princeton 08540. Home page: www.TheLulayGroup.com
Janice Lulay has moved to upstate New York and closed her event planning business, which did meetings, conferences and special events for corporate and not-for-profit clients.
Unlimited Electric LLC, 53 Flock Road, Hamilton 08619.
Salvatore Pietro closed his electric contracting business last fall.