StemCyte, one of the world’s largest umbilical cord blood (UBC) stem cell transplantation and therapeutic products companies, has opened a 2,000-square-foot office on Bear Tavern Road. The company, which is headquartered in Southern California and has UCB storage facilities in both California and Taiwan, signed a research agreement with Rutgers in February. Being close to Rutgers, and to other potential collaborators, is among the reasons that the company opened an office here, according to CFO Henry Chase.
StemCyte’s CEO, Ken Giacin, holds both MBA and M.S. degrees from Rutgers. His company was given state grants that could total $500,000 over the next decade as an incentive to open an office in New Jersey.
StemCyte and Rutgers have entered into a research and licensing agreement for a spinal cord injury therapy being developed by Wise Young that uses StemCyte’s proprietary human umbilical cord blood stem cells in conjunction with lithium. Under the terms of the agreement, StemCyte will provide financial sponsorship for Dr. Young’s work at Rutgers’ W.M. Keck Center for Collaborative Neuroscience and will receive exclusive commercialization rights to the therapy. If the product or other assets resulting from the collaboration are successfully commercialized, Rutgers will receive royalties.
Dr. Young’s previous research resulted in the administration of high doses of methylprednisolone within eight hours of an injury becoming the first and only currently available therapy for spinal cord injury. He has now conducted preclinical studies at Rutgers’ Keck Center to determine the growth factor stimulation of stem cells treated with lithium salt. From these studies, Dr. Young concluded that UCB stem cells are the only type of stem cells that, when treated with lithium salt, have a neurotrophic effect that may be used to effectively treat spinal cord injuries. A patent application for his invention has been previously submitted.
The partners hope to test the UCB stem cell, lithium salt therapy in clinical trials before the end of the year.
This research into new uses for UCB stem cells would be the third area of business for StemCyte, says Chase. The company’s main business involves collecting UCB stem cells and then providing them to doctors for use in transplantion. In these cases, the recipients are unrelated to the donors. The stem cells are used to replace or initiate the production of other cells that are damaged or missing due to disease. There are already 70 blood malignancies that are treated by stem cell transplantation, he says.
The second business for StemCyte involves banking umbilical stem cells for parents who want them preserved as a safety net for their children. “Who knows what will happen 10 or 15 years down the road?” Chase posits. The stem cells, harvested at birth, could be used at any time for potentially life-saving treatment. If the stem cells aren’t saved, he points out, “they just become medical waste.”
StemCyte charges “a little over $3,000 for an 18-year plan,” says Chase. Parents pay $1,800 up front and then $125 a year to preserve the stem cells. It can be a wise investment for people who can afford it. “People spend more than that on nursery furniture that they throw away in two years,” he says.
While storing stem cells for parents is a growing business, most of StemCyte’s growth has come from providing UBC stem cells for transplants to between strangers. The company’s UBC stem cells have been used in approximately 8,000 transplants worldwide. It has an inventory of over 25,000 units and says that its stem cell bank represents one of the most ethnically diverse sources of unrelated stem cell transplantation products derived exclusively from umbilical cord blood. The company’s products are currently being used to treat two to three patients per week worldwide who suffer from a variety of blood cancers and immune and genetic disorders.
Stem cells harvested from umbilical cords have the advantage of being controversy-free. Unlike stem cells that are taken from embryos, which have long been a political hot button issue, these cells are harvested at the time of birth, and have drawn no objections.
While wrangling over the use of embryonic stem cells for medical research continues, StemCyte’s new Ewing office, which currently has four employees, will be working on still more ways in which the UBC stem cells can aid medical research.
StemCyte, 850 Bear Tavern Road, Ewing 08628; 609-882-9302. David A. Carmel, vice president, business development. Home page: www.stemcyteinc.com.
Commercial Real Estate
Two new tenants have signed leases at 902 Carnegie Center, a newly constructed Class A building that has a total of 135,399 square feet of space.
Opinion Research Corporation, represented by Jeannine Dresch and Peter Dodds of Morford & Dodds Realty, has leased 15,442 square feet on the second floor of the building as its U.S. and global headquarters. Opinion Research Corporation, founded in 1938, is a consulting firm that conducts market research programs and provide analysis and advisory services to the private and public sectors. Its offices are currently at 600 College Road East. The company plans to move to Carnegie Center early in the summer.
DMV-Fonterra Excipients, represented by Charles G. Horn of RE/MAX of Princeton, has leased 1,982 square feet on the fourth floor of the building for its regional sales office. The company, which is based in Germany, is now in temporary offices on Wall Street, where its manager is Willem Hoogwater.
DMV-Fonterra Excipients USA is a global supplier of pharmaceutical excipients, which are inert ingredients that are added to drugs to provide bulk. Their name brands include, Primojel, Primellose, Pharmatose, SuperTab and Respitose.
The building at 902 Carnegie Center is five stories high with a 28,000 square foot humidity controlled lower level for storage. Building amenities include a full service cafe offering catering services; a fitness room with lockers and showers; on-site management; and covered parking.
Located on the southbound side of Route 1, 902 Carnegie Center is within walking distance to the Princeton MarketFair and a number of hotels, including the Marriott Residence Inn and Hyatt Place located next door.
Hilton Realty, which is in charge of leasing the building, has leased a total of 91,985 square feet of space to date. Other tenants include Dechert LLP, Stifel Nicolaus & Company Inc., PNYLAB LLC, Ironbound Capital Management LP, Raymond James, Wilmington Trust, and Hilton Management LLC. Approximately 43,022 square feet remain available for lease. Matt Malatich, Mark Hill, and Jon Brush of Hilton Realty represented the landlord in these transactions.
Opinion Research Corporation (IUSA), 600 College Road East, Suite 4100, Box 183, Princeton 08542-0183; 609-452-5400; fax, 609-419-1892. Gerard Miodus, president, ORC. www.opinionresearch.com.
DMV-Fonterra Excipients, 306 Wall Street, Princeton 08540; 609-858-2111. Sonja McElhinney, global customer service manager. Home page: www.dmv-fonterra-excipients.com.
Dow Jones Leases Space to Protech
Protech Solutions, an information technology company with headquarters in Little Rock, Arkansas, has signed a lease for 30,000 square feet of space in the Bernard Kilgore Center corporate campus, which is owned by The Wall Street Journal.
The Stauback Company represented Dow Jones in the transaction, while Gerry Fennelly of NAI Fennelly represented Protech Solutions, whose website is www.protechsolutions.com.
Amtrak Track Work
Train commuters may have enjoyed their trek to work a little more, thinking of all the money and aggrevation they were saving as pump prices approached $4 a gallon and New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg aggressively sought toll hikes. “Car commuters really have it bad,” they might have thought. While that is certainly true, train riders are not getting off scott free this spring either.
It turns out that Amtrak is planning to do substantial work on its tracks beginning on Sunday, May 11. As a result, there will be fewer commuter trains for Princeton-area commuters, and boarding them will take longer.
All New Jersey Transit trains, which operate on tracks owned and maintained by Amtrak, will be affected.
The Amtrak project, a rail tie replacement, will mean fewer trains can operate on the Northeast Corridor, one of the busiest in the world, because one of the four tracks between the Trenton station and Jersey Avenue station in New Brunswick will be unavailable during the duration of the work.
To help compensate, NJ Transit will add multilevel cars. While it can provide some relief with more double-decker train cars, the commuter rail line cannot help its customers out by simply adding more cars to its trains, most of which are already at the 12-car limit.
The agency is attempting to minimize the impact for customers traveling toward Newark and New York in the morning and Trenton in the evening, so cuts in the opposite direction at those times will be made. Nevertheless, trip times will be longer. New timetables take effect May 11.
Passengers on the outbound platforms at the Princeton Junction and Hamilton stations will be using bridges to get on and off trains because the track next to those platforms will be the first to be closed. The middle doors on the trains will be closed at those stations, so boarding will take longer.
Riders with questions about effects of the Amtrak project on their daily commutes were invited to take part in NJ Transit’s first ever online chat, which was scheduled for Wednesday, May 7, at 12:30 p.m. The rail agency’s website, www.njtransit.com, contains further information about the new schedules.
Help for Parents from a New Agency
Paulette Mader hears stories like this and shakes her head too. Only hers is a knowing shake, born of a personal journey through what she says is a very lonely and very confusing wilderness. Mader is the assistant outreach coordinator for the Family Support Organization of Burlington and Mercer Counties, a social services agency that moved into its offices on Quakerbridge Road in January and is planning a large-scale grand opening in May. But she is also a mom who has been through the stress of trying to be a good parent to a child with behavioral issues; and she is a psych nurse who has seen the human brain at its most difficult and fragile.
As outreach coordinator, Mader wants people to know what FSO does — entirely for free — to help parents cope with children experiencing behavioral or emotional problems. Programs like “Strengthening Families,” a 14-session, seven week intensive course seeks nothing less than rearranging how troubled kids and their parents deal with themselves, each other, and the world at large.
Though funded by the state Department of Children and Families, FSO is not a state agency; it is a non-profit. FSO offers assistance and support to parents who need it. That assistance can be as simple as letting a frustrated mom vent over the phone or as serious as getting emergency response to a family because the child (or teen) has put himself or the family in harm’s way.
One of the frightening things about being a parent these days, Mader says, is that there is so much competition for children’s attention. FSO recently held a street gang awareness seminar and in June is expected to launch a program called “Using Television Wisely,” designed to combat the effects of violence on children.
While it’s as easy to blame the parents as it is to blame the kids, Mader says FSO’s focus on parents is what sets it apart. FSO staff works with parents on setting limits, coping with troubled kids, and handling the stigma attached to that moment in the supermarket when all the blame-filled eyes fall upon you. Basic issues from defiance to more complex neurological disorders are discussed and dealt with, she says, because, as Mader herself knows, it is hard to do it alone.
“I wish I had this program,” she says. “I’d have been here every day.” Her own story most assuredly is a rough one. She doesn’t want it told, in order to protect her child, but there is no doubt that the two could have benefited from a caring ear and a place offering direction. In fact, part of what works so well for FSO, Mader says, is who ultimately provides guidance to frustrated parents — other frustrated parents.
Mader got through her own issues with the help of a few other moms who understood that bad behavior is not necessarily the parents’ fault. At FSO, she says, parents who have walked nearly every avenue between harsh discipline and giving up have a lot to offer each other — advice on what to do and, as important, what not to do.
“There’s a lot of stigma,” she says. “Some kids have very big challenges. Its a very powerful thing to watch a bunch of parents working together.”
Kids do not all go astray for the same reasons and not all kids act out in the same way. What is universal, however, is that stress manifests itself outwardly. Behaviors change. It can be as subtle as sulking around the house or as obvious as carrying guns and selling drugs.
Left unchecked, the cycle becomes a vicious one — stigmatized kids draw into themselves, inviting more attention, much of it not good. This makes them feel — and often act — worse. Brooding and melancholy give way to fighting, defiance, self-cutting, substance abuse. It matters, Mader says, how all of us view the children around us, and it matters that parents have a place to go, if only to learn they are not alone. Especially if they’re single parents.
FSO offers child care while parents are on the premises and a bevy of classes and programs for parents and families in English and Spanish. These programs deal with everything from basic understanding to navigating through the increasingly formidable world of cyber bullying.
Classmates posting derogatory, often devastating content on MySpace or blogs can thrust children into a cruel world that causes them to act out, and the cycle of bad behavior begins.
Since opening its doors in January, Mader says, FSO has witnessed a steady stream of parents coming in. While the range of issues is large, all of these parents know something just isn’t quite right.
“The majority of what we’re seeing are kids veering off to the side,” Mader says. “Something’s wrong or something’s happened that the parents don’t like.”
Parents with more serious troubles have come in too, but most often, she says, parents are talking of kids being defiant and belligerent, staying out late.
Once inside, she says, parents are often re-educated in their approaches to discipline and parenting.
Many parents with troubled kids come from troubled worlds themselves, she says. As parents, they rely on what they know intimately — yelling, hitting, ignoring, shunning — even though they usually know these methods only lead to more trouble. Parents are given leeway to just vent or to learn to become advocates for their own children.
In the end, Mader says, she wants families to complete what she calls “the family journey.”
It starts with noticing something is wrong, moves onto identifying and coping with it, and ends not with easy answers but with the genuine ability to cope with whatever comes along.
“It doesn’t happen in a week,” she says. “What do you do in the meantime? You take parenting classes.” Or you can start by simply coming in for a sympathetic ear. — Scott Morgan
Family Support Organization of Burlington/Mercer Counties, 3535 Quakerbridge Road, Ibis Plaza, Suite 400, Hamilton 08619; 609-586-1200; fax, 609-586-0278. Deborah Kennedy, executive director. Home page: www.state.nj.us/dcf.
Empress Travel, 25 Lake Baldwin Drive, Pennington 08534; 609-987-0577. Karen Miller, manager.
Empress Travel has moved from the Mercer Mall to Pennington. “Our lease was up,” explains Karen Miller, the owner of the 24-year-old travel agency.
She specializes in vacation and leisure travel, and reports that trips to Europe are down, “because of the exchange rate.”
The big demand now, says Miller, is for all inclusive travel, both on cruises and to resorts where families can pre-pay and leave their wallets packed up in their bags. Punta Cana in the Dominican Republic and the Riviera Maya in Mexico are especially popular now. “They’re booming,” she says.
The Fourth Estate, 183 Scotch Road, Ewing 08628; 609-406-0188; fax, 609-406-0199. Lesley Borges Carter, editor and publisher.
Lesley Borges Carter, publisher of the Fourth Estate newspaper, has moved her paper out of Scotch Road in Ewing to a temporary location, but says the paper is publishing.
Founded in 2006, the Fourth Estate is a 5,000-circulation monthly focusing on the African American community. Publication has not been interrupted, though the paper’s website, www.thefourthestate.biz, is under costruction. Carter can be contacted by E-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Oakmont Industrial Group, 101 Interchange Plaza, Suite 101, Cranbury 08512; 609-375-2113; fax, 609-735-2752. Michael Nachamkin, executive VP. Home page: www.oakmontre.com.
Oakmont Industrial Group, a real estate management firm based in Atlanta, and specializing in industrial properties, has moved its offices from 100 Overlook Drive to 101 Interchange Plaza in Cranbury.
Cimple Systems Inc., 600 Alexander Road, Second Floor, Princeton 08540; 609-452-6480; fax, 609-452-6485. Arthur J. Ardolino Sr., president. Home page: www.cimple.com.
Cimple Sytems, a developer of software for schools and school districts, has left its Alexander Road offices. Phones at that location do not pick up, but calls to the company’s 800 number are answered by salespeople from The Wall Street Journal Education division.
Representatives from that division were unable to say whether The Wall Street Journal has purchased Cimple, whose website, www.cimple.com, continues to be updated.
Robert S. Norman, 61, on May 4. The Lawrence resident was a copy editor at Business Week magazine for 20 years, and was also a song writer and folk singer. He edited Sing Out! magazine for much of the 1970s and remained on its board until 1990.
Richard John Waseleski, 80, on May 2. He was the owner of AIM AAA Exterminators in Lawrenceville.
Marguerite M. Breen, 60, on May 2. A Pennington resident, she was director of personnel at Greater Media in East Brunswick.
Carol Ann Kivan Caskey, 71, on May 1. She was tax assessor for Princeton Township and Princeton Borough until 2005. She was also a real estate agent, and was associated with Stockton Realty at the time of her death. A memorial service is tentatively scheduled for her birthday, Thursday, May 29. Friends are asked to contact the family for details.
Mark S. Nicholson, 53, on April 27. He was a longtime postal clerk at the U.S. Postal Service office in Princeton.
Harriet Hinman Eubank, 80, on April 27. A real estate broker, she had volunteered at Recording for the Blind for more than 30 years.
John E. Servis, 87, on April 24. He owned Servis Electric, a business that his father founded in the 1920s. A Princeton resident, he was also volunteered as a track and field coach at many area high schools, including the Lawrenceville School.
John M. Geisel Sr., 90, on April 19. He was retired from Rohm and Haas and was the founder of the Trenton chapter of the National Junior Tennis League. A celebration of his life will be held on Friday, June 13, at 2 p.m. at the Princeton University Chapel.
John W. Claghorn, 84, on April 19. A Princeton resident, he spent his career at Time Inc.