Corrections or additions?
This article by Barbara Fox was prepared for the July 4, 2001
edition of U.S. 1 Newspaper. All rights reserved.
On the Move
At a time when financial companies and dotcoms are
announcing layoffs, two biotech companies — PharmaSeq and Physiome
Sciences — are expanding.
At Princeton Corporate Plaza on Route 1 South, PharmaSeq tripled its
space in an April move "next door" to Suite F. The company
now has 6,200 square feet for both laboratory and administrative
PharmaSeq has developed the world’s first light-powered
and nanotransponders for performing nucleic acid-based assays.
A major impetus to Pharmaseq’s expansion was a strategic partnership
with Mitsui & Company, one of the three largest corporations in Japan
and sixth worldwide in annual revenues. In February Mitsui announced
its multi-million dollar equity investment in the licensing
for Pharmaseq’s technology.
"That PharmaSeq is in a growth phase is related to completion
of technical milestones and the investment of Mitsui," says Wlodek
Mandecki, president and CEO. "We anticipated all this and made
arrangements with Harold Kent (the owner of Princeton Corporate Plaza)
to move to the new facility, so we could grow based on a very solid
foundation. We have 11 employees and have just hired two more, and
we have the capacity to grow within our current space to 25."
In January he tapped Hanan Davidowitz, formerly with the NEC Research
Institute on Independence Way, to be director of instrumentation
"The company’s strategy is to develop a new very powerful system
for gene analysis, based on microtransponders," says Mandecki.
These small, laser light-powered microtransponders are really
that carry DNA sequences to diagnose genetic diseases and mutations.
PharmaSeq is developing a family of these microchips, nanochips and
related instruments. In the future they could be used for drug
and evaluation, cancer detection and immunoassay development. Outside
of the medical field, they might even serve as microscopic barcodes.
Mandecki’s pride and joy is the first fully functional light-powered
nanotransponder. "The beauty is, these transponders are so small
that the numbers you can use are huge; you can put 10,000 of them
in a teaspoon of liquid," he says. Competitive microtransponders
are about the size of a Tylenol capsule.
Developed in collaboration with the Sarnoff Corporation, the
uses a chip measuring six nanoliters, less than 1/000 the size of
a grain of rice. This DNA chip achieved a record of being the
externally powered, monolithic integrated circuit that can transmit
its identity code by radio frequency. "We are completing the
prototype of this system and want to have a product on the market
in late 2002," says Mandecki.
Mandecki admits that the field of DNA diagnostics is very competitive.
"But we feel we have a breakthrough technology, powerful to the
point that we feel we will grab a significant market share."
Plaza, Suite F, Monmouth Junction 08852. Wlodek Mandecki, CEO.
Physiome Sciences, a company that develops software
products to simulate biological processes that enhance the drug
process, has tripled its office space. On June 25, the seven-year-old
company moved from 8,000 square feet at 307 College Road East to
feet at 150 College Road West. "We needed more room for the
says CFO Jane Maida.
The company, founded in 1994 by Jeremy Levin, needed more room for
its employees, too. "We’ve doubled in size this year," says
Maida, who joined the company in May of 2000. The company now has
"over 50 employees," and its new offices will accommodate
125. Still hiring, Physiome’s personnel roster includes doctors,
software developers, software modelers, bioinformatics professionals,
and database experts.
While other companies use computers to simulate disease states, Maida
says Physiome is the only company to develop computer models to test
the effect of a drug on human cells. To date, much of its work has
involved virtual heart cells. A drug under development is shown —
through computer simulation — interacting with heart cells to
see if it will damage them.
"There are a lot of failures of drugs that hurt the heart,"
says Maida. Physiome can conduct simulations at any time during a
drug’s development, and generally does so before human trials begin.
The earlier a pharmaceutical knows that a product under development
could damage an organ, the sooner it can "fix the
says Maida, thereby potentially saving millions in development costs.
In addition to pharmaceuticals, Physiome clients include biotechs
Physiome develops the software that runs the simulations in-house.
Clients can run the tests themselves, or can choose to have Physiome
do the work for them. The work is data-intensive, and Maida says the
company is about to announce a strategic technology partnership with
a company that will add an enhanced data processing capability.
Physiome’s new digs are the entire third floor of 150 College Road
West, the new building owned by the Patrinely Group. Furniture in
the new offices almost certainly came by way of a failed dot-com.
Attractive and comfortable — the chairs are adjustable Aerons
— the furniture is used. It was purchased second hand from Office
Furniture Heaven, a New York City company that, Maida says, "is
buying back 50 to 70 percent of the furniture it sold to
08540. Jeremy M. Levin, CEO. 609-987-1199; fax, 609-987-9393.
Suite A, Hamilton 08619. Philip Nasuti, president. 609-588-0141;
Philip David, a manufacturers representative to the gift industry, has
moved from 12 Roszel Road to 3625 Quakerbridge Road. According to a
spokesperson, the four-person company, which was founded in 1968,
moved because it needed more space.
Princeton 08540. Kenneth Van Leeuwen, managing director.
Kenneth W. VanLeeuwen has moved his office from 1,000 square feet at
the Daily Planet to 777 Alexander Road. VanLeeuwen majored in
accounting from State University of New York at Binghamton, Class
1979, and has a CFP from Adelphia and a banking and financial markets
certificate from NYU.
Street, Lambertville 08530. Chip Durell, owner. 609-773-0541;
Chip Durell has moved his 12-person construction firm from the
Witherspoon Street building previously occupied by Nassau Broadcasting
to a permanent headquarters, a 1,400-foot stand-alone building in
Lambertville. Phone and fax are new (U.S. 1, December 9, 1998).
Corrections or additions?
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