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Progress Introduction: Between the Lines

U.S. 1’s annual Progress edition can serve as a microcosm

of the Princeton business community if you are writing a business

plan, looking for a job, or deciding whether to move your business

to Central New Jersey. The list also serves as an informal index to

our coverage, and you will see that in 2002 we gave a lot of space

to R&D and pharmaceutical companies — because those are the kinds

of companies still flocking to Princeton.

Yes, the good news for the more than 16,000 Central Jersey employees

in pharma and biotech jobs is that the pharma sector remained pretty

healthy in 2002. Take for example the move-ins of two companies that

work in the same field, seeking better painkillers — the well-established

Purdue Pharma and a start-up, AlgoRx.

Asian pharmaceutical firms (Japanese firms like Otsuka and Taiho and

the Korean CJ Pharma) continued to set up their U.S. headquarters

in Princeton. Particularly prosperous were the pharmaceutical service

companies — those that help with the marketing and the CROS (clinical

research organizations) that take drugs through clinical trials. DesignWrite,

Newton Gravity Shift, Ann Heckel and Company, Simstar, Market Measures

Cozint, Radpharm, New Media Partners, MediMax Communications, and

Lathian Systems were among those expanding.

Pharmaceutical manufacturing buildings sprouted up in East Windsor

on Lake Drive for Esoterix and NexMed, though NexMed had a setback

when the Food and Drug Administration put one of its trials on hold.

We reported on more than two-dozen downsizings, but surely we missed

some, because 2002 brought untold flurries of pink slips, many in

the telecommunications and electronics sectors. Nevertheless, some

of the downsized executives and scientists started new businesses,

including CombiPhos Catalysts Inc. and Secure Network Solutions. They

began companies like Olivia Scientific, Access Bio, Primera, ExSar

Technologies, and Alliance Technologies to provide outsourcing services

for larger firms. Other startups resulted from an entrepreneur walking

away with capital from the previous business. For instance, Flint

Lane left Paytrust to start Factor Systems.

Two technology companies — Princeton Softech and Sensors Unlimited

— announced they would buy themselves back from corporate owners.

Some importers, such as Sanjiv Kakkar and Don McLane of Drianna China,

took advantage of the weak dollar to broaden their reach.

Most firms in the financial arena were struggling, but CareGain, a

healthcare asset management company, has quadrupled in size. Miele

and the JK Group grew internally and built more space, while Church

& Dwight’s 2001 acquisition of part of Carter Wallace spurred its

building program on Thanet Drive.

As for consolidations, construction manager Hanscomb Inc. combined

with Faithful & Gould, and the ad agency Princeton Partners merged

with Devcom. Two proprietors — Riegel Printing and the Millstone

Group — sold their printing businesses to employees.

If you listen to the state (and next week we will print some of those

political prognostications) the economy of New Jersey will be driven

by the engines of pharma and nanotechnology. So it’s a good sign that

one of the nation’s experts in nanotechnology, Steven Chou, has his

laboratory here at Princeton University. It spawned two companies

last year.

The following list summarizes more than 200 of the business moves

recorded by U.S. in 2002. Compared to 2001, there are about the same

number in each category. In 2002 we wrote about more than 600 companies,

including 130 that had expansions, 50 start-ups, 40 companies that

came new in town, 49 that made crosstown moves (from one space to

about the same amount of space), and about 50 companies that either

left town or went out of business.

The largest single industry category, with 82 moves, was communications

— and that doesn’t count the dozen or so ad agencies and Internet

firms that cater strictly to the pharmaceuticals.

That pharmaceutical area (including the service companies) had 53

moves, and if you add biotech and medical device companies to that,

the total rose to 86. There were two dozen other R&D moves (mostly

electronic and computer related) and 56 changes in computer and/or

firms. In the manufacturing area there were 28 moves, and in the broad

area of finance, which includes insurance, there were 43.

Next week U.S. 1 will look at some of the companies that did not

have success in 2002. Where are they now, people are asking. We plan

to track some of them down.

— Barbara Fox

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