Corrections or additions?

This article by Barbara Fox was prepared for the January 30, 2002

edition of U.S. 1 Newspaper. All rights reserved.

Progress Scorecard: More Ups than Downs

One way to look at 2001 is to contemplate which

companies

had to battle the recession and lost. But most of their stories

contain

a silver lining — a similar company in the same industry that

expanded and did well.

Another way to look at the year is to take stock of what the major

players have spawned — young companies that are flourishing in

a big firm’s shadow, even groups of companies that are reaching

critical

mass in a particular industry.

Let’s start with the Pollyanna stories. You may remember she was the

little girl in the early 20th century novel who liked to look through

prisms in order to give the toughest situation a "rainbow"

glow.

Two companies went down in flames in a very short time, but were

replaced

by others in their industry, if not in their spaces. The biotech firm

Valigen lasted only three weeks on Carter Road before it lost its

funding, emptied out 50,000 square feet, and fired 60 people. Yet

GeneProt (a French/Swiss firm) promises to boost biotech occupancy

in a big way at the Technology Center of New Jersey in North

Brunswick.

And no sooner did a female CEO take the helm at Eulix Networks, the

NEC spinoff, than she closed the company down, claiming that the

technology

was not ready for market. Yet any number of telecom hardware firms

— including, for example, Discover Semiconductors and Lamina

Ceramics

— are expanding healthily.

A big loss last year was the evacuation of Lucent Technologies’ Carter

Road campus, after four decades. Though telecommunications companies

suffered nationwide, those in the Princeton area had significant

success

stories. ITXC continues to steam full speed ahead; almost every week

it announces a new alliance in its quest to provide worldwide

telephone

service over the Internet.

One old-technology wireless company (World PCS with its wireless local

loop) completely closed down, but such forward-looking wireless firms

as Broadbeam prospered.

Another Internet-based company that was probably ahead of its time

was Impower, the American List Counsel spinoff that aims to bring

direct marketing wizardry to the Internet. Impower’s problems got

tangled up with a real estate transaction, the sale of ALC’s campus

and a move to impressively big quarters in a building on the Dow Jones

campus. A new CEO, mopping up from the company’s Chapter 11 filing,

hopes to recover soon.

The fiber optics industry suffered severely, with ADC

Telecommunications

totally moving out and JDS Uniphase downsizing, but another fiber

company, Optellios, now occupies ADC’s space, and another one —

Pd/Ld — significantly expanded.

Not every Leaving Town story meant bad news. The R&D center of Japan’s

largest pharmaceutical firm moved to Illinois, but its CEO stayed

here and founded Quintiles International. IPGdirect expanded so

quickly

that the best space it could find was in Newtown. Medicom of Princeton

Inc. also grew quickly and moved over the state border, to

Morrisville.

Onehealthbank.com, which promised to re-make health insurance billing,

was sold and moved to Indianapolis.

Two of the biggest public firms in this area — USA Detergents

and Carter Wallace — sold out, but they were bought by Church

& Dwight, the Thanet Circle company with the familiar Arm and Hammer

brand, and MedPointe Capital Partners. MedPointe bought the

pharmaceutical

and diagnostics businesses. Church & Dwight now owns Carter Wallace’s

personal and pet care business directly, and the rest of its products

belong to a joint venture with a private investment group. Church

& Dwight’s acquisition of USA Detergents makes it the third largest

company in the laundry detergent business.

It may seem crass to mention this, but several firms profited from

the anthrax and 9-11 scares. The brand-new Node Com sells disaster

recovery facilities. Palatin Technologies was able to put anthrax

detection technology on the fast track, and the local office for IT

Group landed big contracts for decontaminating post offices.

Merrill Lynch bled 25 percent of its workforce overall, including

administrative staff in Princeton, but its Hopewell campus has added

2,000 people, up to 5,000. And 650 more jobs will come from Colorado

in 2002.

Several sad stories about floundering enterprises are waiting to be

resolved. RCN quashed a grandiose plan to build its own campus on

Princeton Pike late in 2000 and slashed jobs in 2001. But RCN is a

company with real value in its fiber networks.

Similarly, American Cyanamid saw BASF vacate its campus at Route 1

and Quakerbridge Road. But the Cyanamid property could be developed

into something excellent, even if it takes a while. Just look at the

big Lockheed Martin space, vacated six years ago. It is just now

coming

into its own as Windsor Corporate Park, with five new tenants last

year.

Now for the critical mass analysis. Princeton has more

diverse industry centers than you would think.

Pharmaceutical and Healthcare. An obvious one. But

Princeton’s

critical mass of drug firms attracted five new companies from Japan

plus biotech startups like Novazyme. And the "pharmaceutical

services"

category grows exponentially, with firms like Newton Interactive and

Simstar Internet Solutions leading the way and pharma/dotcoms like

Netsearchers and iPhysician.net breaking new ground.

Covance is the 400-pound gorilla among contract research organizations

(CROs) but companies like PharmaNet made news this year also.

Healthcare

firms can now also tap funds from the new Healthcare Ventures LLC,

which boasts ex-pharma executive Jan Leschly as a lead partner.

Publishing. Between them, Dow Jones and Bloomberg employ

more than 3,500 people here. Alumni of the Dow Jones/Wall Street

Journal

team have taken their pioneering interactive publishing experience

to found new companies. But the newest of these firms, IndustryClick,

had rough going when Primedia, the parent company, reorganized and

turned over some of IndustryClick’s turf to a company in New York.

Primedia also downsized and left Lake Drive in East Windsor.

Warehousing. This may be a surprise if you haven’t driven

out by the turnpike lately, but Exit 8A has become nationally known

as an ideal distribution location. Volkswagen, W.W. Grainger, and

Longchamp USA had a big expansion this year.

Logistics. Here’s another sleeper. One of the big public

companies in this space is College Road-based Interpool, which manages

chassis pools and container leasing systems. Perhaps because of its

proximity to ports, Princeton has more than two dozen logistics

specialists,

with Jebsens USA being the most recent move-in.

Imaging. Nycomed Amersham, 300 strong, and Bracco, an

Italian imaging company, are a formidable presence in the medical

imaging field. A firm associated with Sarnoff, CaresBuilt, had

significant

accomplishments this year.

Energy. Those who were around in the 1980s remember the

buzz surrounding Princeton’s answer to the energy problem, solar

photovoltaic

panels. A third generation company with that technology, Energy

Photovoltaics,

is going strong, as is Worldwater Corporation, which makes

solar-powered

water pumps for the Third World. Other wins in 2001: Exide

Technologies

transferred its administrative workforce from Reading, Pennsylvania,

to the Carnegie Center. Knite Inc., a manufacturer of ignition

systems,

expanded. The employee-owned company Hydrocarbon Technologies Inc.

sold itself to a public firm to obtain the financing it needed.

Genetic research. Everybody’s doing it, but Orchid

BioSciences

and Medarex are making money and young companies like Senesco

Technologies

are trying to.

Photonics. U.S. 1 has written often about POEM, Princeton

University’s Center for Photonic and Optoelectronic Materials.

Universal

Display Laboratories was the first to make a splash and its flexible

display screens continued to make news this year. The May 9 issue

listed nearly two dozen companies in this field, including the Lucent

spinoff Aralight and the Sarnoff spinoff, Princeton Lightwave.

Sarnoff Corporation has its own seedbed and has spun off

two dozen companies. In addition, people who have worked there have

founded such independent companies as Sensors Unlimited and Princeton

Optronics. Brown Williams, founder of Princeton Video Image, the

company

that puts lines on TV football fields, was a Sarnoff alumnus.

Academe. Princeton University and Rutgers University have

moved into the fast lane to patent technology and foster start-up

firms. Princeton Power Systems, for instance, was born in Princeton’s

engineering department and is incubating in private space on the

Forrestal

Campus.

Drug Delivery. Therix Inc. and Delsys Pharmaceutical made

the news with innovative ways to make pills, and Transave is working

on drug delivery to the lungs. Among the handful of companies here

that work on delivering drugs through the skin is one that always

gets a smile: NexMed. It continues to get new contracts for delivery

of prescriptions for male and female impotence.

Insurance. Princeton has lots of workers trained in

insurance.

Making innovations in this field is InsureHiTech, and a service

company,

Assist America.

Online payment. Princeton e-com was the grandaddy in this

area, though it suffered some reverses. Paytrust also did some

consolidating

but appears healthy.

Financial. Merrill Lynch is the biggie, of course, but

at least two new service companies sprouted up: ExpertPlan and

Statement

One. Each uses the Internet to offer a way to streamline portfolio

administration.

Digital anything. In spite of all the brouhaha about

dotcoms,

some Princeton companies are making hay on the Internet. Eduneering

moved in 40 employees who deliver technology-based training. Lots

of smaller firms, such as Stonehouse Media, are getting into this

too. Connotate Technologies is doing data mining. Intertrust is

delivering

digital rights protection for artists and producers. Not all dot.coms

are dot.gone.


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