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These stories were published in U.S. 1 Newspaper on March 31, 1999. All rights reserved.
Merial: For Horse Ulcers
Fifty years after Merck began developing medicines
for animals, and 100 years after Rhone-Poulenc went into the animal
health business, the two companies combined their animal-health businesses
to form Merial. They moved the new company into the New Jersey Technology
Center at 681 Route 1 South in North Brunswick early this year and
have just come out with a splashy new product for horse ulcers.
Yes, horses do get ulcers. In fact, the more expensive the horse,
the more likely it is to suffer that malady so common in the Age of
Anxiety. Up to 93 percent of racehorses, and 60 percent of other performance
horses, such as show horses, suffer from gastric ulceration.
Merial announced earlier this month that it received clearance from
the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to market Gastrogard Paste,
the first and only prescription medication so approved to heal and
prevent equine stomach ulcers, and this week it has been made available
Gastrogard is Merial’s first big win since it moved into its new quarters
and, says spokesperson Stephen S. Resnick, it represents only a smidgen
of Merial’s potential contribution to the Central Jersey economy.
"Think about the $21 million we put into the facility and our
$120 million R&D budget — that represents Merial’s dedication
to the New Jersey pharmaceutical industry and a significant ongoing
investment in the Route 1 corridor," says Resnick, associate director
for business operations. A Rochester native (the son of a Bausch &
Lomb scientist), he went to Cornell, Class of ’89, and earned his
MBA from Carnegie Mellon.
"We are in the business of developing very safe products,"
says Resnick, "such as Heartguard. That compound is so safe that
Merck donates a significant amount of the compound for use in human
applications, to treat `river blindness’ in Third World countries."
Merial is a joint venture between Merck and Rhone Poulenc that merges
Rhone Merieux divisions and Merck’s AgVe. At its new pharmaceutical
research and development center it will focus on new and existing
products for companion animals (such as dogs, cats, and horses) as
well as for livestock (such as swine and cattle). It is billed as
the world’s largest animal-health company solely dedicated to the
discovery, manufacture, marketing, and delivery of veterinary pharmaceuticals
and vaccines, and it also leads the market in developing and producing
poultry breeding stock.
With about 1,600 employees in North America, and 6,500 worldwide,
Merial has a North American operational headquarters in Iselin (the
former site for Merck AgVet) plus a global headquarters in London,
England, and an operation in Lyon, France (formerly Rhone Merieux).
It is owned jointly by the two founding firms and has operations in
150 countries. Merial had $1.76 billion in revenues in the United
States in 1998, down from $1.9 million the previous year, but it is
maintaining its $120 million R&D budget, the largest in the industry.
"Our facility in North Brunswick will be an invaluable centralized
resource for Merial’s R&D capabilities globally," says John Chintall,
laboratory operations manager. Chintall majored in chemistry at Rutgers
Camden, Class of 1967, and has a PhD from the University of Pennsylvania,
joining Merial last year.
"Now our researchers will have access to the latest tools and
technologies to create a wide variety of innovative products. They
also will continue development work on novel products such as Frontline
(a leading treatment for the control of fleas and ticks on dogs and
cats) and Ivomec brand products (for the control of parasites in a
wide range of livestock)," says Chintall.
Some United States administrators remain in Iselin, where Kevin Schultz,
vice president of pharmaceutical research and development, has his
office. The North Brunswick building has 70 workers now but can hold
up to 100 scientists, and it combines three core scientific groups
— drug analytical chemistry, pharmaco-kinetics and drug metabolism,
and formulations development. In addition to 14 new positions hired
here, scientists have come from Pennsylvania, Iowa, and France.
The New Jersey Economic Development Authority (EDA) built Merial’s
60,000 square foot facility, part of its 50-acre research park, Technology
Centre of New Jersey (TCNJ), on Route 1 South in North Brunswick,
practically adjacent to Rutgers’ Cook Campus. When the EDA took over
this property, there were some existing buildings, and the EDA is
Assorted small firms had expressed interest in taking
footage equivalent to half the first new building, but when Merial
offered to base its North American headquarters — as well as part
of its global operations — at the Tech Center, the EDA jumped
at the offer, saying that the Tech Center’s vision has always been
to provide a place for major companies to expand, to be a home for
growing businesses, and to foster synergy between high tech companies
and the state’s universities.
"The EDA did not contribute money to the cost of the buildout,"
says Resnick. "Once we signed the lease, we leased the core and
shell and the surrounding property." The majority of the $21 million
went into the walls, furniture, and infrastructure with the remaining
money spent for new analytic equipment. Merial’s lease also includes
an option for an additional four acres behind the building to build
anything from a parking lot to additional laboratory to additional
Merial’s fitout was designed by Mark Devlaminc of the Hillier Group
and Turner Construction did the buildout. "Eight months from the
time we signed the lease, we moved in," says Resnick. Meanwhile
CUH2A, based on Roszel Road, is doing the architecture for the EDA’s
second new building, which will have 200,000 square feet.
As for that ulcer medication: it was granted accelerated review by
the FDA because the molecule was new to veterinary medicine and could
treat a condition that seriously affects as many as 1.8 million performance
horses and more than half of the foals. It reversed the usual R&D
order. Usually before a medicine is approved for humans, it is tested
on animals. But Gastrogard paste has the same active ingredient (omeprazole)
found in the already successful Prilosec, an anti-ulcer medication
of New Jersey, North Brunswick 08902. John Chintall, laboratory operations
News of four Princeton area companies involved in buyouts
surfaced this week. Parent companies of two software firms — Computer
Associates (at Orchard Road) and Platinum Technology (at Campus Drive)
— will merge.
Strategic Technology Systems, the defense contracting firm at 1 Electronics
Drive that was founded as Base Ten Systems, has been bought by a competitor,
a British conglomerate, Smiths Industries. And Integra LifeSciences
has bought NeuroCare, a Wisconsin-based group of medical products
The Princeton outpost of Platinum Technology, with 165 employees at
111 Campus Drive, was founded here by Benjamin Cohen as Logic Works,
and it was a darling of Wall Street when it did its IPO in 1995. Last
May it was acquired by Illinois-based Platinum Technology (Nasdaq:
PLAT) in May of last year. For Logic Works’ database development and
data warehousing tools, such as ERwin and BPwin, Platinum Technology
paid approximately $174.8 million in stock. Platinum has more than
5,000 employees overall and revenues of nearly $1 billion last year.
Computer Associates (formerly Applied Data Research here in Princeton)
is based in Islandia, New York, and at Orchard Road at Route 206 it
has 325 employees who supply software for business, government, research
and educational organizations. Internationally, the firm has 13,000
people working in more than 100 countries and revenues of more than
$5 billion. Both Platinum and Computer Associates are considered consolidators
that buy up companies at fire sale prices.
Strategic Technology Systems, a defense supplier with technology being
used in NATO’s current air raids, spun off from Base Ten early in
1998 so that Base Ten could devote itself to software for pharmaceutical
and healthcare services. Five of the executives, including then-CFO
Edward Klinsport, got financial backing to purchase the defense business,
which had sales of about $12 million last year. The British competitor,
which has annual sales of $2 billion, has bought the Hamilton-based
company for $14.5 million (pending federal approval) but plans to
keep the facility and its 100 employees intact. Klinsport, nevertheless,
will leave STSI and get involved in two other businesses.
In an effort to become profitable for the first time in 10 years,
IntegraLifeSciences has bought a profit-making firm with a sales and
distribution network in 50 countries. Integra has always been highly
valued by analysts for its technology — tissue and organ replacements,
including artificial skin, cartilage, and nerve conduits — and
is best known for its "artificial skin" for burn victims,
but even with revenues of almost $17.5 million it lost $12 million
By buying NeuroCare for $25 million (funded in part by a prestigious
partnership that includes billionaire George Soros), Integra will
get $50 million in revenues and about 150 new employees. It’s a big
win for Stuart M. Essig, president and CEO, who for nearly two years
has been trying to increase profits while still supporting R&D. About
20 new jobs will come to Morgan Lane, which will house an international
customer service and distribution center. The deal involves an $11
million loan from Fleet Capital Corp. and $14 million cash, based
on $10 million in preferred stock and warrants sold to the Soros Private
Equity Partners LLC.
Square at Princeton, Princeton 08540. 609-514-1177; fax, 609-514-1175.
Road, Box 8, Princeton 08543-0008. David Cook, facilities manager.
908-874-9000; fax, 908-874-9420. Home page: http://www.cai.com.
Trenton 08619. Edward Klinsport, CEO. 609-584-0202; fax, 609-584-0505.
Lane, Box 688, Plainsboro 08536. Stuart M. Essig, president/CEO. 609-275-0500;
fax, 609-799-3297. Home page: http://www.integra-ls.com.
So many new small banks have come online in the past
several years, that it began to seem easy. In response to the mega
banks, the little banks began popping up everywhere. Hopewell Valley
Community Bank began operating as a commercial bank last month, as
did Mark Wolters and Tom Gray and their cohorts from the former Carnegie
Bank, which was sold to Sovereign. They opened the Grand Bank, National
Association, in 7,000 square feet at 4275 Route 1 South, across from
Dow Jones in Monmouth Junction.
But it may not always be as easy as it seems. Village Bank — the
latest entry in the "small is better" model for the banking
business — has had to extend its initial public offering beyond
the announced deadline. Its parent holding company, Village Financial
Corporation, has extended the subscription offering beyond March 26
for an unnamed period of time.
Kenneth J. Stephon, president and chief executive officer, indicated
that the minimum amount of stock necessary to open the bank for business
had not yet been sold. The bank launched its initial public offering
of up to 1,200,000 shares of common stock for a purchase price of
$10 per share on February 3.
"At this time, we do not have a final count as to how many shares
were subscribed for," says Stephon, "but we do not intend
to release this information in any event until the offering is consummated
or the bank is opened for business." Stephon, 39, was formerly
president, chief executive officer and a director of CloverBank, Pennsauken.
He left CloverBank to organize Village Bank in July 1998. He has a
degree in accounting from College of New Jersey and a master’s in
business administration from Rider University. Stephon owns 4.8 percent
of the bank’s stock and has an annual base salary of $110,004 plus
Other directors include William C. Hart, president and chief executive
officer of Mercer Mutual Insurance Company on Route 31; William V.R.
Fogler, a securities arbitration consultant and founder of Van Rensselaer
Ltd., on Cleveland Road; Paul J. Russo, vice president and part-owner
of the Lawrenceville Home Improvement Center on Eldridge Avenue;
Jonathan R. Sachs, a physician with the Princeton Gastroenterology
Associates, Princeton; and George M. Taber, founder and president
of Business News New Jersey in New Brunswick.
Organized as a federally chartered savings bank, Village Bank expects
to have its main office in Lawrenceville and a limited service
facility in the Pennington Point office complex and retirement community.
It is the only publicly traded thrift institution proposed to be opening
in Mercer County.
Boulevard, Lawrenceville 08648. Kenneth J. Stephon, CEO and
president. 609-689-1010; fax, 609-689-0689.
Square Commons, Square 08690. William Palmieri, president. 609-588-6800;
The five-year-old health management company moved from 2561 Yardville-Hamilton
Square Road. it does drug screening and corporate employee physicals.
08540. Kevin Burke, owner. 609-737-2600; fax, 609-737-0828.
The builder moved from 65 South Main Street in Pennington.
Arc/Mercer has purchased the 27,000 square foot property
at 180 Ewingville Road in Ewing Township that was on the market for
$1.5 million. Commercial Property Network represented both the buyer
and the seller, Ernel Realty. The current tenants, the accounting
firm of Pisauro, Levy, Palumbo, & Noble, will be moving to a Scotch
Road address in May. Arc/Mercer is expected to move by this fall and
a dedication ceremony is planned for early next year, the 50th anniversary
of the organization.
The purchase was made possible with proceeds of a $2.7 million bond
issue from the Mercer County Improvement Authority (MCIA), which also
allows Arc/Mercer to renovate its two existing facilities at Fairmont
Avenue and New York Avenue. "Consolidating into these three facilities
will allow the Arc/Mercer to expand and perfect its mission of advocacy
and service to children and adults with mental retardation," says
Kenneth Rubin, president of the board.
"It’s been the dream of the board of directors to consolidate
our programs, many of which have been scattered throughout the county
in rented buildings," says Gary Backinoff, past president of the
board. "For the first time in our 50-year history, we will own
all of our properties."
08536. Fred Siegel, owner. 609-799-0334.
FSES Inc., doing business as Lapidus Market, has filed for liquidation
under Chapter 7 bankruptcy and is represented by Wilentz Goldman &
Princeton 08540. 609-924-2882; fax, 609-924-5090.
An incorrect fax number was printed in the March 24 issue.
quality control officer with Lockheed Martin Corp.
radio frequency projects at Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory.
Glass Co. on Spring Street.
for McGraw Hill in East Windsor.
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