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
had to battle the recession and lost. But most of their stories
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
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"
Two companies went down in flames in a very short time, but were
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
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
was not ready for market. Yet any number of telecom hardware firms
— including, for example, Discover Semiconductors and Lamina
— 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
stories. ITXC continues to steam full speed ahead; almost every week
it announces a new alliance in its quest to provide worldwide
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
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
that the best space it could find was in Newtown. Medicom of Princeton
Inc. also grew quickly and moved over the state border, to
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
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
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
into its own as Windsor Corporate Park, with five new tenants last
Now for the critical mass analysis. Princeton has more
diverse industry centers than you would think.
critical mass of drug firms attracted five new companies from Japan
plus biotech startups like Novazyme. And the "pharmaceutical
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.
firms can now also tap funds from the new Healthcare Ventures LLC,
which boasts ex-pharma executive Jan Leschly as a lead partner.
more than 3,500 people here. Alumni of the Dow Jones/Wall Street
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.
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.
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
with Jebsens USA being the most recent move-in.
Italian imaging company, are a formidable presence in the medical
imaging field. A firm associated with Sarnoff, CaresBuilt, had
accomplishments this year.
buzz surrounding Princeton’s answer to the energy problem, solar
panels. A third generation company with that technology, Energy
is going strong, as is Worldwater Corporation, which makes
water pumps for the Third World. Other wins in 2001: Exide
transferred its administrative workforce from Reading, Pennsylvania,
to the Carnegie Center. Knite Inc., a manufacturer of ignition
expanded. The employee-owned company Hydrocarbon Technologies Inc.
sold itself to a public firm to obtain the financing it needed.
and Medarex are making money and young companies like Senesco
are trying to.
University’s Center for Photonic and Optoelectronic Materials.
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.
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
that puts lines on TV football fields, was a Sarnoff alumnus.
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
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.
Making innovations in this field is InsureHiTech, and a service
area, though it suffered some reverses. Paytrust also did some
but appears healthy.
at least two new service companies sprouted up: ExpertPlan and
One. Each uses the Internet to offer a way to streamline portfolio
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
digital rights protection for artists and producers. Not all dot.coms
Corrections or additions?
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