Corrections or additions?
This article by Barbara Fox was prepared for the April 16, 2003 edition of U.S. 1 Newspaper. All rights reserved.
On the Move
NEC’s American laboratory dealt with the gloomy outlook
for technology businesses by regrouping. Just as the Sarnoff Corporation
no longer does the "pure research" that it used to do when
it was RCA, the Japanese company has revamped to focus on practical
topics. "NEC decided to work on things that would help NEC rather
than just produce papers," says the new president, Robert Millstein.
CUSA (C&C Research Laboratories) and NEC Research Institute have downsized,
combined forces, and are known now as NEC Laboratories America. With
only 110 employees remaining at 4 Independence Way, NEC has more than
31,000 square feet available for lease through the Gale Company. Avebe
America is its sole tenant so far.
C&C Labs had been doing research in technologies underlying computers
and communications systems with Kojiro Watanabe in charge, and the
Research Institute had been under the direction of David Waltz. Both
have ceded their administrative positions and are pursuing research
Scientists that had been writing theoretical papers on a variety of
topics are limited to these areas: Internet software, robust and secure
systems, broadband and mobil networking, system LSI, bioinformatics,
and quantum IT.
Millstein, the son of a Brooklyn attorney, almost majored in English
and minored in math at Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Class
of 1963. "In my senior year I chickened out and realized I didn’t
want a humanities degree, even though MIT has an awesome humanities
program," he says. He worked at Livermore National Laboratory,
for a subsidiary of Applied Data Research, and president of a Massachusetts-based
computer company. He met NEC’s previous president, David Waltz, in
Woburn, Massachusetts, at a company called Thinking Machines, aka
Continuum Software now High Speed Software.
When NEC reorganized, Waltz went back to the lab and asked Millstein
to consult. Millstein commutes weekly from Massachusetts, where his
wife has a quilting fabric and yarn retail business. "Thank God
for Shuttle America," says Millstein.
Millstein believes Woburn can teach Princeton how to incubate high
tech companies. It seems that one developer, Cummings Property, has
built what Millstein calls "a vast empire, more than one million
square feet, with wonderful deals for software companies." Small
spaces are inexpensive and the leases encourage expansion. "They
write into your lease that they will get 50 percent more space at
the going rate within six months or you can break your lease, so you
don’t have to rent more space than you need."
Way, Princeton 08540. Robert Millstein, president. 609-520-1555; fax,
609-951-2481. Home page: www.nec-labs.com
GeneProt, the industrial-scale proteomics company that
leased — but never occupied — an entire building at Technology
Center of New Jersey, has slashed its staff in Geneva, Switzerland,
by half. The company says it will continue to do innovative work and
contract with partners, but that by reducing its cash expenditures,
smaller contracts will be profitable.
Based in Geneva, the company was founded by several MBA graduates
of Northwestern University’s Kellogg School. It has had such partners
as Novartis, Serono, Hewlett Packard, and LION bioscience.
In 2000 GeneProt (www.geneprot.com) signed a 10-year-contract
for just-built space in a 60,000 square foot addition to the Technology
Center of New Jersey. It renegotiated the contract to a prepaid one-year
lease with a liquidated damages clause (U.S. 1, January 29).
GeneProt started out doing proteome sample analysis for Novartis,
which owned more than $40 million in GeneProt stock. Compak was GeneProt’s
technology partner, supplying the computers for 51 mass spectrometers
running around the clock.
"We have major strengths and a unique know-how that has enabled
GeneProt to establish itself as a leader in an industry that did not
exist three years ago," says Bertrand Damour, CEO. "But we
are feeling the impact of the current economic situation on research
and investments in biotechnology, which are suffering a marked slowdown.
The current crisis has hindered the growth of the industrial-scale
proteomics industry, which remains an undertaking with considerable
potential. Today, leading pharmaceutical companies — also feeling
the effects of the crisis — are taking fewer risks on external
earlier stage projects, preferring to focus their investments on internal
Coetsee, chief technology officer. 609-919-3700; fax, 609-919-3707.
GenuOne, a Boston-based company with a research office
on Mapleton Road, got ink in Ann Grimes’ Digits columns in the Wall
Street Journal on April 20. Formerly called Certus, the company has
technologies to secure against counterfeiting, diversion, and intellectual
"It has developed an Internet service that lets companies punch
in a list of products they want to automatically monitor on eBay,"
wrote Grimes. The service attacks the gray market by identifying new
goods with suspiciously low prices and automatically fills out the
forms to notify eBay so that it can excise the counterfeits.
08540. Tom Evslin, CEO. 609-750-3333; fax, 609-419-1511. Www.itxc.com
ITXC has rejected the proposed takeover by IDT, the Newark-based prepaid
phone card company. IDT said on Wednesday, April 9, that it hoped
to buy out ITXC for $1.40 a share.
CEO Tom Evslin says the IDT proposal "gives no value to our vast
network, our physical assets, or our customer base" and that the
company’s cash and cash equivalents amounted to $1.70 per share. He
said that the net book value per outstanding share exceeded $2.65
per share. Evslin, 60, has said he will retire as CEO this year but
will remain chairman of the board.
In 2001 IDT bought Winstar at one percent of its value and in the
past nine months has unsuccessfully tried to buy WorldCom and Global
Corrections or additions?
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