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Published in U.S. 1 Newspaper on August 9, 2000. All rights
New Pharma at Carnegie Center: JT’s Akros
Akros Pharma Inc., a 12-year-old, wholly-owned
of mega Japanese firm JT, has opened an office at the Carnegie Center,
occupying temporary quarters at 214 and soon to move to 302. It also
has an office in the San Francisco Bay area.
With concentration on metabolic and renal diseases, cardiovascular
conditions, and antivirals, it works with combinatorial chemistry
and with genomics, in collaboration with Maryland-based Gene Logic.
Akros has licensed its products to such companies as Johnson & Johnson
and Pharmacia & Upjohn.
The name of the firm is based on the Greek word for peak or pinnacle,
says Tatsuya Yoneyama, the president. After majoring in chemistry
at Hokkaido University, Class of 1970, Yoneyama joined JT and has
worked in the pharmaceutical area for the past 10 years. He is an
avid golfer with a single digit handicap.
"Our mission here is to perform clinical development of products
coming out of the pipeline, overseeing clinical trials in the U.S.
and Europe," says Ken Kiyose, director of contracts and licensing
and development. "We also have a business development function,
establishing relationships with biotech companies and universities,
arranging licensing, and bringing our products to the attention of
multinational companies here. We also have a network of consultants
to identify collaborative research and licensing opportunities."
"We are a fairly new entrant into the pharmaceutical sector, and
initially we will be working through CROs," says Kiyose. "We
began in 1988 and our products are just now coming through the
Akros participated with a Warner Lambert company, Agouron, in the
joint development of an AIDS drug, Viracept, the top selling protease
inhibitor in the U.S. Other partners are Tularik in San Francisco,
Chiron in the Bay Area, and Corixa in Seattle.
The son of a linguistics professor, Kiyose majored in psychology at
Reed College, Class of 1987, and has a graduate degree from Yale in
East Asian studies. He and the other Akros personnel moved here from
Japan in April. The choice of Princeton was based on a need to be
close to the industry’s major players, on a safe and pleasant place
to live, and on the area’s value for recruitment, Kiyose says. "We
plan to expand next year and were advised by consultants that the
Princeton name had a cachet that might help in recruiting."
Princeton 08540. Tatsuya Yoneyama, president. 609-919-9570; fax,
304, Princeton 08540. Yuko Hartley, office manager. 609-716-7636;
The Princeton office of the pharmaceutical company based in Tokyo
has been open for about six weeks.
Founded by Jane A. Donahue, Consumer Health Sciences
has more than doubled in size in two years and has moved from 346
to 165 Wall Street in Research Park, an expansion of 3,000 to 10,000
square feet. This healthcare information company conducts
surveys of patients and caregivers that help to bridge the gap between
the doctor and the consumer.
Until recently CHS was self funded, but last October it was purchased
by Grey Healthcare Group, a division of Grey Advertising. "We’re
in the big time now," says Donohue. "It enables us to grow more
rapidly." Two years ago she had 14 employees, and now she has 32 and
is looking for more. The company name stays the same.
One of the company’s most visible efforst, the National Health and
Wellness Survey — which profiles health, including both attitudes
and behaviors, use of over-the-counter and alternative medicines,
and the frequency of visits to doctors — is now being conducted
in the U.K., France, Germany, and the United States. The firm had
four condition-specific, longitudinal studies for depression,
Alzheimer’s, and diabetes, and has added a fifth, for organ transplant
Such data is particularly important in today’s "direct to
market, in which patients respond to mass media advertising to ask
their doctors for a particular drug. CHS data also helps doctors
patients — to know, for instance, why patients sometimes resist
taking a particular medication.
"Grey gives us a tremendous amount of autonomy and a lot of
in the pharmaceutical industry. Grey has a lot of cachet, and with
that relationship we have become an international company in short
order," says Donahue.
She is thrilled to get questions about how attitudes are different
in Europe and Asia. "Surprisingly, the methodologies are the same
— classic market research techniques. The field work is done in
the countries, and we do the cleaning, coding, and scoring here."
The daughter of a Readers Digest executive, Donohue majored in
at St. Lawrence, Class of ’74, and has a Ph.D. in social research
from Bryn Mawr. Donohue, formerly director of outcomes research at
Janssen Pharmaceutica, founded this firm nearly four years ago (U.S.
1, June 28, 1998). "It has been incredibly rewarding to take an
idea literally from my basement," says Donohue.
Princeton 08540. Jane A. Donohue PhD, president. 609-924-4455; fax,
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