Saturday, April 25, 2015

POSTED: Friday, April 10, 2015, 9:45 AM

Flush with new investor cash, clinical-trials payment-technology provider Greenphire says it has moved to an 18,000 sq. ft. office at 630 Allendale Road, King of Prussia, from a smaller location nearby. The company employs 65, and plans to have over 100 by the end of 2015, a spokeswoman told me, expanding on a statement by Jennifer Peters, Greephire's "Chief Experience Officer."

The company said in January it has raised an undisclosed amount from investor Loren Schlachet's New York-based Riverside Capital. Greenphire raised $5.8 million from investors in 2011 and 2012, according to SEC Form D filings, see them here.  The 2011 investors included FirstMark Capital, whose founder Gerald Poch joined the board. Greenphire's payment-systems partners include Citibank and Wilmington-based The Bancorp, among others, 

Greenphire was backed earlier by Pennsylvania's state-funded Ben Franklin Technology Partners. More on Greenphire's bosses Sam Whitaker, John Samar and Dr. Neil Rotheham at Tom Paine's Philly Tech News here.

Joseph N. DiStefano @ 9:45 AM  Permalink | 0 comments
POSTED: Thursday, April 9, 2015, 3:36 PM

If you have a good story to tell and tell it long enough, you can end up like Vanguard Group founder John C. “Jack” Bogle, once a radical in his business, and now its 85-year-old Establishment figure, one of the few true investment celebrities in America.

And if you can make a career of being consistently contrary, you can aspire to be like Jim Grant, publisher of the Grant's Interest Rate Observer newsletter of stock-picking and monetary policy, who hosted Bogle, amid a conference of Grant fans, in an ornate ballroom at New York's Plaza last week, for a “Great Debate” over how best to manage other people's money.

Joseph N. DiStefano @ 3:36 PM  Permalink | 0 comments
POSTED: Thursday, April 9, 2015, 11:53 AM

As chief executive of Tyco International from 2002-12, Bucks County resident Edward Breen broke the conglomerate into five successor companies: which did well, enriching himself and other shareholders.

But as a new director of the DuPont Co., Breen opposes an accelerated break-up of the bio/chemical giant and its research arm, as envisioned by billionaire activist investor Nelson Peltz, whose Trian Fund Management is trying to unseat four of Breen's allies in a contested board election. In this letter today, Trian says DuPont is overpaying CEO Ellen Kullman and other managers, even as DuPont shares and most of its businesses fail to meet targets.

Joseph N. DiStefano @ 11:53 AM  Permalink | 0 comments
POSTED: Wednesday, April 8, 2015, 12:27 PM

RES Software is looking for new office space around Philadelphia, after the 250-person company hired 15-year Citrix Systems Inc. executive Al Monserrat as its new CEO. The Dutch-owned firm, which offers corporate clients VMware and Citrix platforms to build service and app delivery, employs 30 at its North American headquarters in Radnor, and is looking to expand here.

But Monserrat doesn't plan to move North from his Florida home, he told me. He shouldn't have to: "I'll live out of a virtual office, demonstrating the poewr of the product." At the same time, "we'll need a West Coast presence as well, to grow," he added. 

Monserrat joined Citrix when it bought his IT consultancy in 2000. Citrix was a $350 million (yearly sales) company looking to diversify. He was put in charge of professional services, then North American sales, which he says he doubled in five years, to $500MM by 2008. He next headed worldwide sales and services, which have tripled to $3 billion, though growth has slowed in recent years -- as with most of IT, Monserrat says.

Joseph N. DiStefano @ 12:27 PM  Permalink | 0 comments
POSTED: Wednesday, April 8, 2015, 11:22 AM, a University City-based firm whose Digital Engagement Platform helps corporate customers build new cloud-based mobile applications compatible with older and desktop systems, has raised $4 million from "prominent companies and individuals" in New York and Philadelphia, bringing total capital raised to date to $4.5 million, chief executive Ron Rock tells me.

Rock and his fellow managers reorganized and renamed the firm after acquiring Andrew Schwabe's CloudPointe in 2013. Previous Form D filings here. Rock says clients include healthcare, telco and financial service companies, served by a mix team of "brilliant kids" and veteran engineers -- about 30 people in all, including sites in Boston and London. will use the money to "increase sales staff and add technical resources." Rock sold his previous firm, Knowledge Rules, a business-process management consultancy, to Accenture in 2010. 

Joseph N. DiStefano @ 11:22 AM  Permalink | 0 comments
POSTED: Wednesday, April 8, 2015, 10:38 AM

The Big Two aren't equal: A majority (57%) of municipal-bond analysts at investment firms have a "Very Favorable" or "Somewhat Favorable" opinion of Moody's Investors Service, one of the two major credit-rating agencies, according to a new survey.

By contrast, only a minority (43%) have a "Very Favorable" or "Somewhat Favorable" opinion of rival Standard and Poor's, which eased its municipal credit standards in 2013 (and now rates Philadelphia a notch higher than Moody's). 

That's according to a survey of 162 analysts at bond buyers, brokerages, bond insurers and other investment firms by Tom Kozlik, municipal credit analyst at Janney Montgomery Scott in Philadelphia. Fitch Ratings also scored 57% in the combined "Favorable" categories, though more respondents called Moody's "Very Favorable."

Joseph N. DiStefano @ 10:38 AM  Permalink | 0 comments
POSTED: Wednesday, April 8, 2015, 10:03 AM
The Wal-Mart company logo is seen outside a Wal-Mart Stores Inc company distribution center in Bentonville, Arkansas June 6, 2013. REUTERS/Rick Wilking

(Revised and updated) Retail giant Walmart, whose 150-plus stores and 47,000 workers in Pennsylvania make it the state's largest corporate employer, says an increase in its starting wage, to $9 an hour, will boost average hourly pay at Walmarts in the state to $12.98/hour.

Before the increase, Walmart's average pay in the state was $12.87 an hour for fulltimers, or $11.28 combining  fulltimers and parttimers, the company says (UPDATING previous info from a past news story.) With the increase, 15,226 Walmart workers in Pa. who were paid under $9/hour will get increases starting April 23, for work beginning the week of April 4. Most were already making more than $8.50. Another 1,112 slightly higher-paid workers will also get bumped a little higher, according to Bill Wertz, Walmart spokesman. 

In December, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court ordered Walmart to pay $188 million the company had illegally withheld from 188,000 workers in 1998-2005. Walmart had fought that case with court appeals since an initial 2008 jury decision. Read the Pa. Supreme Court decision against Walmart here. 

Joseph N. DiStefano @ 10:03 AM  Permalink | 0 comments
POSTED: Wednesday, April 8, 2015, 8:23 AM

Iroko Pharmaceuticals LLC, the drug company headed by Osagie Imasogie and based at the business park at the old Philadelphia Naval Base, says it's been awarded U.S. patents for its two "FDA approved low dose nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs -- Zorvolex (diclofenac) capsules and Tivorbex (indomethacin) capsules," in partnership with iCeutica. (The name Zorvolex is registered, Tivorbex is trademarked.) 

In a statement, Imasogie said Zorvolex is FDA-approved "for the management of mild to moderate acute pain and osteoarthritis pain," and is already sold in U.S. pharmacies. Tivorbex "is approved by FDA for the treatment of mild to moderate acute pain in adults." Side effects of the whole class of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) that include Zorvolex and Tivorbex include possible "risk of serious cardovascular thrombotic events," including heart attack and stroke, and "serious gastrointestinal" issues, including ulcers; among others. 

The patents will last at least to 2030, Iroko says. and the two drugs in addition "have three years of regulatory exclusivity from date of product approval through FDA’s regulatory pathway." The patents will be listed in FDA's "Orange Book" of approved drugs. Iroko says it will join iCeutica, developer of "SoluMatrix Fine Partical Technology" licensed exclusively to Iroko, to "continue to prosecute additional patent applications for these and other products in the Iroko portfolio of low dose SoluMatrix" NSAIDs.

Joseph N. DiStefano @ 8:23 AM  Permalink | 0 comments
About this blog

PhillyDeals posts raw drafts and updates of Joseph N. DiStefano's columns and stories about Philly-area finance, investment, commercial real estate, tech, hiring and public spending, which he's been writing since 1989, mostly for the Philadelphia Inquirer.

DiStefano studied economics, history and a little engineering at Penn, taught writing at St. Joe's, and has written the book Comcasted, more than a thousand columns, and thousands of articles, and raised six children with his wife, who is a saint.

Reach Joseph N. at or 215 854 5194.

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