Medarex has a new president and CEO. Howard H. Pien will take over on June 14, succeeding the interim CEO, Irwin Lerner.
The founder of Medarex, Donald Drakeman, had stepped down last November as a result of a pending Sarbanes Oxley investigation, which found no evidence of fraud or willful misconduct.
“No one could be more qualified to lead our company to the next level of its development,” said Lerner in a prepared statement. “Howard has broad and deep biopharmaceutical industry expertise, encompassing general management, finance, commercial and manufacturing operations, deal-making and partnerships — an impressive background which blends perfectly with the Medarex business profile.”
Born in Taiwan, where his mother was a nurse and his father an engineer, Pien (rhymes with Ian) emigrated to the United States when he was 10. He went to the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, class of 1979, and earned an MBA from Carnegie-Mellon University. He worked for Abbott Laboratories and Merck, and has been president of pharmaceuticals for SmithKline Beecham. He held a similar position for international pharmaceuticals at GlaxoSmithKline, and most recently was CEO of Chiron Corporation, which was bought by Novartis last year.
“I very much look forward to joining Medarex,” says Pien. “I have met with the members of Medarex’s senior management team, and it is evident that they share the dream of biotechnology, of turning innovation into products that will save millions of lives.”
The 20-year-old firm owns the rights to the only “fully human” mouse in the world, a mouse that reacts genetically like a human, which makes it extremely valuable for developing fully human antibody-based therapeutics.
“We think Medarex has made a stellar choice,” says Debbie Hart of the Biotechnology Council of New Jersey. “ We don’t know him, but his bio speaks for itself.”
Medarex (MEDX), 707 State Road, Princeton 08540; 609-430-2880; fax, 609-430-2850. Home page: www.medarex.com
Stymied on Route 1?
South Brunswick Township wants the New Jersey Department of Transportation to widen 6.7 miles of Route 1 in the town to three lanes in each direction. But a DOT official was quoted as rejecting the idea that $300 million to $400 million could be found for that project. Less costly would be to add auxiliary lanes and jughandles.
But the idea is not completely dead. “DOT is considering the widening of Route 1 as one of many options to mitigate congestion in the Route 1 corridor,” says DOT spokesperson Erin Phalon.
Phalon explains that the widening proposal is only in the study phase; it is being considered under the Route 1 Regional Corridor Study, spearheaded by a different department, the Office of Economic Growth: “It has not been in our capital program, and it has never been in our capital program.”
The DOT’s next budget is for fiscal year 2008, beginning July 8. “That capital program is pending legislative approval,” says Phalon.
In contrast, the Route 1 Penn’s Neck project, otherwise known as the Millstone Bypass, is still alive. Monies were allocated in fiscal year 2007 and for 2008, says Phalon, “the project will continue to advance.”
On May 17 Amicus Therapeutics Inc. announced it would follow through on its initial public offering. Worth just under $68 million, it will offer 5 million shares for from $14 to $16 each. The Nasdaq stock symbol would be FOLD.
Amicus had filed for an IPO in May, 2006, but withdrew that application three months later. The current underwriters are Morgan Stanley, Merrill Lynch & Co., JPMorgan, Lazard Capital Markets, and Pacific Growth Equities LLC. After the IPO there would be 22 million shares outstanding.
The five-year-old firm has 52 employees and would use some of the proceeds for clinical trials and preclinical R&D. Now under way are Phase II clinical trials of Amigal (to treat Fabry disease, which causes kidney failure) and Plicera (for Gaucher disease, which can cause an enlarged liver and spleen, and other complications). In Phase 1 trials is a drug to treat Pompe disease, which causes progressive muscle weakness affecting breathing, mobility and heart function.
No date has been set for the IPO.
Amicus Therapeutics, 6 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
Stein & Provost CPAs LLP, 44 Princeton-Hightstown Road, Suite 22, Princeton Junction 08550; 609-799-9292; fax, 609-799-5446. Angela Provost and Scott Stein.
Angela Provost and Scott Stein bought the CPA business of Howard L. Prezant shortly before Prezant died. Prezant never retired, says Stein, but was diagnosed with cancer in February, and began to negotiate the sale of the business then. The sale closed April 6, and Prezant died, at age 80, on April 30.
Provost went to Rutgers’ Douglass College, Class of 1982, and has an MBA from Rider. She and her husband, who works in New York for a bank, have two children. Stein went to Queens College, Class of 1980, and is designated as a CPA in both New York and New Jersey.
The partners operate their new two-person tax accounting practice for small businesses and individuals at the same location.
Princeton Staffing Group, 116 Village Boulevard, Suite 200, Princeton 08540; 609-524-4024; fax, 609-524-4027. Ellen Kuznick, president. Home page: www.remx.com
RemX Specialty Staffing has bought Princeton Staffing Group for an undisclosed sum, and the office at Forrestal Village will remain intact. It will operate under the same name as a division of RemX.
RemX has its headquarters in Atlanta, has more than 250 offices nationwide, and has annual revenue of more than $1 billion. It offers temporary, temporary-to-hire, and direct hire placement for the accounting, finance, and IT industries, and also for administrative professionals. Its next nearest offices are Woodbridge and Philadelphia.
“We were approached over the years by other staffing firms for possible acquisitions, but none felt right,” said Ron Safier, vice president and co-owner of PSG in a release. “We had immediate synergy with RemX.” Ellen Kuznick, co-owner of the Princeton office and president, says the office is poised to grow 40 percent this year.
Indevus Pharmaceuticals (Valera) (IDEV), 7 Clarke Drive, Cedar Brook Corporate Center, Cranbury 08512; 609-409-9010; fax, 609-409-1650. Kevin Pelin, senior VP operations & general manager. Home page: www.indevus.com
Now that Valera has been bought out by Indevus, in the $120 million deal that closed last month, former CEO David Tierney works only as a consultant, and Kevin Pelin is general manager and senior vice president and general manager at Cedar Brook Corporate Center. There were just over 100 people in Cranbury, and now there are just under 100, according to Brooke D. Wagner, an Indevus spokesperson.
Based in Lexington, Massachusetts, Indevus focuses works in the areas of urology, gynecology and men’s health. Valera, formerly known as HydroMed Sciences, has changed its name to Indevus. It does work in urology as well as endocrinology product development.
The Cranbury facility is responsible for two of the company’s four products that are approved for sale: Vantas (a three-year-old implant for prostate cancer) and Supprelin-LA (an implant to prevent the early onset of puberty). This condition affects 20,000 children, mostly girls between the ages of four and eight, in the United States. The only other available treatment, says Wagner, is deep muscle injections every three to four weeks. In contrast, Supprelin can be installed in the underside of the upper arm once a year. Indevus plans to have Supprelin on the market by early July.
On May 3 the Indevus received approval to fast track Valstar, a therapy for BCG refractory bladder cancer, a late-stage cancer that affects 30,000 patients per year. The current treatment, to remove the bladder, is not appropriate for half of these patients.
Valera had bought the drug, a derivative of doxorubicin that is installed into the bladder, from a company that was having problems with the drug’s stability. The drug could be back on the market by fall.
The Mortgage Zone, 186 Princeton-Hightstown Road, Princeton Junction 08550; 609-297-0464; fax, 609-482-8100. Scott Stein, managing director. Home page: www.mortgage-mini.com
A mortgage broker, Mortgage Zone, moved from 61 Princeton-Hightstown Road down the street to 186. Although sales are growing, many staff members prefer to work at home, and the new space has been designed with technology that allows them to do so effectively.
Scott Stein (no relation to the CPA who is a partner in Stein & Provost) came to the Mortgage Zone from the commercial construction industry four years ago to start the firm’s operations in New Jersey. The firm is based in Long Island and Hauppauge, New York.
Roger G. Bentley II, 69, on May 16. A lawyer, he was the municipal attorney for Washington Township.