One of Princeton’s best kept secrets is its prominence in the flavor and fragrance industry. Two major firms in this arena — Firmenich and International Flavors and Fragrances — employ more than 1,200 people here. A third, much younger firm, Redpoint Bio, has only two dozen employees but is growing quickly. It just tripled its space in a move from 5,100 square feet at 2005 Eastpark Boulevard, to more than 18,000 square feet on Graphics Drive in Ewing.
Redpoint Bio is a development stage biotechnology company using advanced technology to discover and develop new taste enhancers. These enhancers make foods and beverages healthier by reducing the need for excess sugar and salt. Also, by helping to suppress the bitterness of a drug, it can increase patient compliance and help pharmaceutical firms find new ways to deliver the drug.
Tom Giannone of Cushman & Wakefield represented the tenant in the lease with BioMed Realty Trust, a real estate investment trust that owns the 72,000 square-foot Graphics Drive building formerly occupied by J.D.S. Uniphase. Another tenant of the building is Medeikon. Redpoint’s phone and fax are new.
Redpoint got its start when Robert Stockman, an associate of Princeton biotech venture capitalist Bob Johnston, introduced the co-founders of the firm, Richard Lufkin and Robert Margolskee. They incorporated it as Linguagen in 1995 and moved here from Paramus in 2003. Their first patent was for a molecular compound that blocks bitter tastes in food and
Raymond Salemme came in as the CEO in 2004 (U.S. 1, February 15, 2006). A molecular biophysics major at Yale University (Class of 1967), Salemme has a PhD in chemistry from the University of California at San Diego. He set up drug-discovery groups specializing in structure-based drug design, biophysics, and computational chemistry at Sterling Winthrop Pharmaceuticals and DuPont Merck Pharmaceuticals. He founded 3-Dimensional Pharmaceutical in 1993 and sold it to Johnson & Johnson.
Salemme changed the company name to Redpoint to avoid being confused with a translation service. (The new name comes from a rock climbing term, meaning the clean ascent of a difficult route, enabled through careful preparation and experience.) Earlier this year Redpoint Bio Corporation did a reverse merger with a Florida corporation, Robcor Properties, Inc., which trades over the counter as RBCR.
In a phone interview from his new office, Salemme says that the new space will allow the firm to expand its high throughput screening and capacity to install a synthetic chemistry lab, and that by the end of this year he expects to hire 10 people.
The synthetic chemistry is a continuation of the current work, he explains. “We find novel types of compounds through biological screening assays, then we typically have to make many different variations to find the properties that we need for commercialization. In the other space we didn’t have any provision to do synthetic chemistry work. Here, we have four big chemistry hoods.”
Just announced: a deal with a Swiss firm, Givaudan. Givaudan used to be about the same size as International Flavor & Fragrances, which has a manufacturing plant on Docks Corner Road, but Givaudan’s recent purchase of the third biggest firm, Quest, makes it the biggest flavor and fragrance company in the world.
Salemme is optimistic about the relationship. “Givaudan is scientifically driven, and there is a natural tendency for everyone involved to be focused on facts. With an R&D facility in Cincinnati, it has a substantial presence in the U.S.” The contract does not rule out deals with other big flavor firms, “but we think they are an excellent partner, technically sophisticated, good businessmen.”
Redpoint Bio Corporation (RBCR), 7 Graphics Drive, Ewing 08628; 609-637-9700; fax, 609-637-0126. F. Raymond Salemme, CEO. Home page: www.redpointbio.com
Aurobindo Pharma USA Inc., 2400 Route 130 North, Dayton 08810; 732-839-9400; fax, 732-355-9449. Scott White, vice president. Home page: www.aurobindo.com
In April the U.S. office of a generic drug manufacturer moved from Princeton Meadows Office Center; phone and fax are new. Based in Hyderabad, India, it has grown from five to 50 employees in three years.
Founded in 1986, it began operating in 1988 with a unit that manufactured semi synthetic penicillins. It went public in 1995. In addition to semi-synthetic penicillin drugs, it also works in these areas: cephalosporins, antivirals, CNS, cardio-vascular, gastroenterology, etc.
Two of its products are approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for marketing in the United States, and 22 applications have been filed with the FDA.
Lawrence Landscape Architecture
Cesar Ortiz was doing so well as a landscape architect that he decided to close the cash registers of his firm, Lawrence Landscapes, and get out of the retail business. After 27 years in business, 18 as a retail store, Ortiz curtailed the retail operations to focus on full service design/build landscape architecture, full-service masonry, lighting, and outdoor water gardening.
“We are a landscape design build firm; we create outdoor spaces,” says Ortiz. “We specialize in residential outdoor projects — kitchens, screened porches, conservatories, patios, pools, tennis courts, you name it, we’re there.” Of the 22 luxury homes on Princeton Ridge, he designed the outdoor spaces for 18 of them.
A Lawrenceville native, Ortiz’ father was chief of staff at the Hamilton Hospital. He established the firm after graduating from Rutgers’ horticulture school in 1980. His wife teaches at Princeton Day School, and they have school-aged children.
Lawrence Landscapes operated as retail store for 18 years. To fulfill its current contracts it still carries some Agway items such as bird feed and fertilizers and bagged products. Ortiz still owns the property on Bakers Basin Road but has leased it to Shemin, a landscape supply company that sells to the trade (see below). He moved to Lower Ferry Road, where he has 4.5 acres, 4,000 square feet of office space, and 7,000 to 8,000 square feet of warehouse space. Shemin, he says, is not a competitor.
His customers come from a 50-mile radius. For some of these customers he can offer a variety of maintenance services, including mowing lawns “but this is not a big part of our business.”
Not counting seasonal help, his payroll numbers 25 to 35 people, including landscape architects, production managers, supervisors, office staff, and laborers.
“What’s important to me is the people who have helped me,” says Ortiz. He names Nanci Angle, horticulturist and production manager; Peter Mahony, a landscape architect who does sales and management; Brett Russ, a landscape architect on the sales team, and Roger Nieto, mason who is the lead crew supervisor.
He tries to make each client feel like they have worked with a person, not an assembly line. “I would come to your house myself to discuss ideas with you and pass those on to them. The team would do the design and I — or all of us would come out to discuss it with it. A different team would install it, but you would see me right through the process, and I bring you the bill at the end.”
For avid gardeners with more time than money, “we will help them plan. We do the hardscape and the trees and help coach them, let them do the sweat equity.”
Lawrence Landscapes Inc., 1383 Lower Ferry Road, Ewing 08618; 609-883-3999; fax, 609-883-3988. Cesar Ortiz, owner.
Tim Kilgore, manager of Shemin, the landscape supply company now at Bakers Basin Road, says his firm serves the professional landscapers and general contractors. “We are a one-stop shop, for tools, fertilizers, drainage, pottery, annuals, perennials, and bulk mulch, anything needed to complete an entire landscape job.” Shemin is based in Connecticut, and it reconfigured this store to resemble its other 28 sites. “When you walk into the building, all the sites are merchandised and set up the same, with signage in Shemin green and white,” says Kilgore. “It’s a great location, in an area filled with landscapers, in between sites in Branchburg and Oaks, Pennsylvania.”
Kilgore, 31, grew up near Detroit, Michigan, and joined Shemin nine years ago, leaving a warehouse job for a job with more public contact. He moved here with his wife, who is at home with their two children.
He has six staff members on a six acres owned by Cesar Ortiz of Lawrence Landscape, the 30-year-old business that moved to Lower Ferry Road (see story above).
Few similar stores exist, so Shemin’s competitors are the big box stores and garden centers and the growers.
Says Kilgore: “I’ve been kicking out the homeowners.
Shemin, the Landscape Supply Company, 209 Bakers Basin Road, Lawrenceville 08648; 609-844-1075; fax, 609-844-0239. Tim Kilgore, manager. Home page: www.sheminnurseries.com
Feds’ New Auction Site
VSE Corporation (VSEC), 35 Thatcher Road, Cranbury 08810; 609-395-2880; fax, 609-395-7971. Charles Preble, northeast regional director. Home page: www.vsecorp.com
Defense contractor VSE Corporation has had an office at Fort Monmouth since 1967 but has expanded to a 103,881 square-foot warehouse in the Dayton area. That’s because, though most of VSE’s work is for a branch of the armed forces, it landed a $113 million eight-year contract with the federal treasury department to store and auction goods seized by various federal agencies.
Under this contract the first auction was in Edison, but the new site will be the east coast hub. Charles Preble (rhymes with treble) is the northeast regional manager, and he has about 20 employees. The next closest sites are in Florida and California.
The next auction will be Wednesday, June 27, at the Thatcher Road site. Registration starts at 8 a.m. and the gavel goes down at 9 a.m. A preview is Monday, June 25, from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. On sale will be items seized by the treasury department, Internal Revenue Service, Secret Service, Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco & Firearms, and customs and border protection (www.treas.gov/auctions/treasury/gp).
Based in Alexandria, Virginia, VSE was founded by John Toomey as an engineering and consulting firm. Now it offers services and products in energy, environment, and engineering for defense and homeland security departments around the world, and it has more than 850 employees globally.
The auctioneer, Rick Levin & Associates, does not provide minimum bids. Prices can veer from market price to wholesale price, but the treasury department has the right to reject a bid that is too low. All items are sold “as-is, where-is.”
“We have hundreds of items, ranging from electronics to furniture to loose diamonds, gem stones, and boats,” says Diana Walsh, VSE’s director of marketing and sales. “We have sold very elaborate pendants and rings and watches with more than 400 diamonds on them.” Antiques end up on the block; an armoire will be in the June auction.
Criminals are not allowed to buy stuff back. “The agencies provide information so that the items do not go to the violator or someone related to the violator,” says Walsh.
Walsh says she expects hotels in that area to be booked up for those three days, because this auction will attract buyers from the east coast through the midwest. That’s because the next nearest auctions are in Florida and California. How will these buyers spend the interim day, Tuesday, June 26. That’s a pleasant challenge for the convention and visitors bureaus to solve.
Trenton Devils Hockey Club, 650 South Broad Street, Trenton 08611; 609-599-9500; fax, 609-599-3600. Ron Berman, co-owner.
The Trenton Devils is the new name for the team that used to play as the Trenton Titans. Players will wear the red, black, and white colors of the New Jersey Devils, which now owns a majority stake in the team.
The two “Devils” teams are the first NHL franchise to have the same name at all levels, according to Lou Lamoriello, who is the CEO, president, and general manager of the New Jersey Devils. The Ron Berman family remains a co-owner of the Trenton Devils, which will keep on playing home games in the Sovereign Bank Arena.
Start-Up: Invoice Factoring
Coface North America, 50 Millstone Road, Windsor Corporate Park, Building 100, Suite 360, East Windsor 08520; 609-469-0400; fax, 609-490-1581. Mike Ferrante, president. Home page: www.coface-usa.com
Growing companies strapped for cash have a new resource, an invoice factoring operation run from a division of Coface North America at Windsor Corporate Park. Coface has launched a company called Coface Credit Management North America (CCMNA) to arrange for trade receivables financing. This financing pays small firms immediately for accounts receivable, so they don’t have to wait until the payment is due.
“We are now fully operational in all four of Coface’s global business lines: trade receivables protection, information, receivables management, and finance,” said Michael Ferrante, president of Coface North America, in a prepared statement.
“This business line enables us to offer the entire range of commercial credit management services to our customers, since it combine financing, credit risk protection and collection services all into one offering.”
Though the global provider of insurance products and services has its North American headquarters at Windsor Corporate Park, its accounts receivable specialists have offices throughout the United States and Canada.
GPC Biotech Inc. (GPCB), 101 College Road East, Princeton 08540; 609-524-1000; fax, 609-524-1050. Bernd Seizinger MD PhD, CEO. Home page: www.gpc-biotech.com
Though GPC Biotech is closing some of its U.S.-based facilities, the office in Princeton — for clinical development and commercialization — will stay open.
Early in May the firm said it would layoff 16 percent of its workforce, those working at the drug discovery laboratory in Waltham, Massachusetts, and move that operation to the Munich headquarters.
GPC is a biopharmaceutical firm focused on discovery, development, and commercialization of new anti-cancer drugs.
“We will continue to have a strong and growing presence at Princeton, where we have an ongoing effort to expand our clinical development team and build our commercialization organization, including hiring a field sales force for the U.S,” said CEO Bernd R. Seizinger in a prepared statement.
Meanwhile GPC’s potential drug for prostate cancer as cleared an applications hurdle at the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and a decision is expected by August. Satraplatin is for patients with hormone-refractory prostate cancer whose prior chemotherapy has failed.
Mikros Systems Corp. (MKRS), 707 Alexander Road, Building 2, Suite 208, Box 7189, Princeton 08543; 609-987-1513; fax, 609-987-8114. Thomas J. Meaney, president. Home page: www.mikros.us
One of the most experienced winners of Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) grants, Mikros Systems has been awarded $150,000 to study interference in wireless computer networks aboard United States Navy carriers. It has teamed with a Washington State-based software firm, Mobilisa, for this project.
Mikros Systems was founded in 1978 in Albany, New York, to exploit microprocessor technology developed at the General Electric Research and Development Center. In the 1990s, when it employed 25 people at Princeton Service Center, it was one of two main suppliers of wireless communication systems to the United States Navy. It landed the NJCST’s first-ever Small Business and Innovation Research grant in 1993 and in 1996 was one of the first winners of a Small Business Administration innovation award.
In 1993 Mikros formed two new firms to develop AM and FM technology for the civilian market, and it sold most of the government business to Pennsylvania-based General Atronics (U.S. 1, June 3, 1998).
Now based on Alexander Road, but with its operations center in Fort Washington, Pennsylvania, Mikros researches and develops military applications of electronic systems. So far, Mikros has a total of $750,000 for the wireless computer network study.
Earlier in May it landed a $2.4 million contract from the Naval Surface Weapons Center to develop Adept, an automated maintenance tool that makes it easier to align radar systems aboard cruisers and destroyers.
PowerLight Corp. (SPWR), 700 South Clinton Avenue, Trenton 08611; 609-964-8900; fax, 609-964-8924. Thomas Leyden, vice president. Home page: www.powerlight.com
PowerLight has installed a solar electric power system at the New Jersey Department of Military and Veterans Affairs in Lawrenceville. It is the second such system commissioned by the DMAVA. The first was at Fort Dix.
The latest one, with 321-kilowatts of solar electric power, features 1,648 modular pre-engineered solar panels tilted at a 10-degree angle to maximize energy output. It is expected to save $90,000 annually in energy costs.
PowerLight is a subsidiary of California-based SunPower Corporation (U.S. 1, February 7, 2007).
Somfy Systems, 47 Commerce Drive, Cranbury 08512; 609-395-1300; fax, 609-395-1776. Michael Lee, president. Home page: www.somfysystems.com
Somfy Systems helped to sponsor the first solar-powered transatlantic crossing, marked by the arrival of Sun 21, a solar-powered boat, in New York harbor earlier this month.
In Cranbury Somfy makes electronic control systems and motors for motorized rolling screens and shutters. As part of a conglomerate based in Cluses in the French Alps, it is billed as the world leader in “home motion,” integrated technologies such as motors, switches and controls that create movement in homes and commercial buildings to help conserve energy.
These products might be interior and exterior window coverings such as awnings, rolling shutters, exterior solar screens, interior shades, wood blinds, or draperies — or projection screens. Its latest product allows third party automation systems to control its line of radio technology motors and controls.
WorldWater & Solar Technologies Corp. (WWAT.OB), 55 Route 31 South, Pennington Business Park, Building B-1, Pennington 08534; 609-818-0700; fax, 609-818-0720. Quentin T. Kelly, chairman and CEO. Home page: www.worldwater.com
WorldWater & Power Corp. changed its name to reflect its role in producing solar powered solutions. “Our company has grown and, with it, our reputation in the market for providing state-of-the-art adaptive technologies for renewable solar power,” said Quentin T. Kelly, WorldWater chairman and CEO, in a release.
“With revenue expected to nearly double in 2007, we recognized the time was right to highlight the engineering advances that make us uniquely qualified for large solar projects, which can provide substantial savings for clients in future energy expense while often addressing water-supply requirements. This year continues to be one of transformation — and our new name reflects that.”
Bollinger Inc., 742 Alexander Road, Suite 305, Princeton 08540-6492; 609-452-6770; fax, 609-497-1274. www. BollingerInsurance.com
On May 23 the Princeton office of Bollinger Insurance moved from 437 Wall Street to Alexander Road. It offers property/casualty insurance (auto, homeowners, business) and life, long term care, and disability income insurance, and employee benefits coverage.
The Bollinger organization was founded in 1876, and the Alfred H. Merritt Agency, which was bought by Bollinger, was founded by the Merritt family in 1946. It used to be on Washington Street in Rocky Hill, says Douglas Merritt, grandson of the founder. Also in the business is his uncle, Ted Merritt.
Antidote for Google
Semandex Networks Inc., 201 Washington Road, c/o Sarnoff Corporation, Princeton 08540-6449; 609-720-4932; fax, 609-514-4061. Daniel Reininger. Home page: www.semandex.net
Semandex Networks has obtained a patent on its Netlink technology, which uses a “semantic web” that can conduct content-based searches over databases that are not compatible with each other.
Instead of using Google-type searches that are based on particular terms and that retrieve cached information, the Semandex software codes the various pieces of information with semantic tags that identify items in a more intelligent way than simple word labels (U.S. 1, June 7, 2006).
One potential application is for emergency services management; the firm developed a medical emergency disaster response network system (MEDRN) under an NIH/NLM grant.
“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.”
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 and Max Ott founded Semandex.
Ott, a former technical manager at NEC’s Communications and Computing Research Laboratory on College Road, graduated from the University of Technology in Vienna, Austria, and has a PhD in electrical engineering from the University of Tokyo.
Reininger says the firm has angel investment and has been profitable since 2002.
One Netlink-based application is an aXiom web portal for intelligence gathering and situational awareness at the Department of Defense Space and Naval Warfare Systems Center in Charleston. It facilitates information sharing across multiple US national security organizations. A third system is being used for Marine training in Iraq to provide battlespace awareness.
Institute for Advanced Study, Einstein Drive, Princeton 08540; 609-734-8000; fax, 609-924-8399. Peter Goddard, director. www.ias.edu
The new chief investment officer at the Institute for Advanced Study, former Merrill Lynch executive Ashvin Chhabra, will be in charge of managing the Institute’s endowment. Chhabra has a PhD in applied physics from Yale. He has experience in private banking, institutional management, and derivatives research, and is known for his ideas for a framework for wealth allocation for the individual investor.
Chhabra has been head of quantitative research at the J.P. Morgan Private Bank and was most recently managing director and head of wealth management strategies and analytics in the Global Private Client Group at Merrill Lynch.
Cellutron Life Technology, 50 Hightstown Road, Suite K, Box 1423, Highland Park 08904; 800-326-3403; fax, 732-432-6482. Gena Wu. www.cellutron.com
Gena Wu will move her biomedical research tool company to Baltimore, Maryland, at the end of July. The company produces cell isolation systems and other biomedical research tools in kit form.
AAA & Mack-Cali Deal
AAA Midatlantic, 2 South Gold Avenue, Hamilton 08691; 800-374-9806; fax, 609-890-1596. Home page: www.aaamidatlantic.com
Mack-Cali Realty Corporation and AAA Midlantic have closed a set of deals for properties in Hamilton. AAA sold two office buildings for about $8.8 million and agreed to occupy a new class A office building at Mack-Cali’s Horizon Center business park.
Fletcher Thompson designed the 120,000 square-foot class A office building on the 21.6 acre site at Horizon Center. AAA pre-leased the building, which it will use as an operations center, for 15 years. Many of the AAA jobs had gone to Wilmington, Delaware, where a new headquarters has been constructed.
Until it moves to Horizon Center, AAA is leasing back nearly 10,000 square feet at 2 South Gold.
AAA’s two buildings totaled 69,232 square feet and have a development potential of an additional 243,000 square feet of commercial space.
Simultaneously with the Mack-Cali transaction, AAA sold 6 South Gold Drive to Northeast Spa & Pool Association. Robert Bull, Philip Lipper and Michael Kennedy of Studley represented AAA Mid-Atlantic.
The Hinterlands Group, 21 Sayre Drive, Princeton 08540-5805; 609-734-0445. Edmund J. Moeller, principal.
Ed Moeller has retired and closed his firm. He did sales, marketing, and business database consulting.