Former Chair of Rutgers Trustees Joins Rutgers Board of Governors

UPDATE (8/12): This article has been updated to include and reflect information provided by Sandy Stewart regarding the companies he co-founded.

NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ—The Rutgers Board of Governors' newest member, North Carolina resident Sandy J. Stewart, was sworn in at the board's July 16 meeting in New Brunswick.

Stewart earned a Bachelor of Arts from the Rutgers Camden College of Arts and Sciences in 1981, and a Masters of Science from the Graduate School at Rutgers Camden in 1987.

Stewart is one of the seven Board of Governors members who are elected by and from the less powerful Rutgers Board of Trustees.  The other eight voting members are appointed by the New Jersey's Governor.

His term on the Board of Governors will run until 2021.

A 2014 Rutgers press release touted Stewart's experience as "the retired co-founder and CEO of Arcanum Discovery, Inc., a biotechnology company focused on drug target identification and validation."

New Brunswick Today has learned that the company, which was based in Burlington County, ceased operations years earlier.

"They couldn't get the capital they needed to launch, they needed the capital," said Joe Madino, a former associate of Stewart. "This is a technology company, they needed capital to develop their products, and that's why they went under."

Stewart maintained that the company had not "gone out of business," as this article originally stated.

"After closing a successful first round of funding then-market conditions, following September 11, 2001, deteriorated, and we were unable to raise a second round of funding," Stewart told New Brunswick Today.

According to the Rutgers press release issued upon his appointment to the Board of Governors , Stewart also co-founded two other biotechnology companies, Immunovation and Paradigm Genetics, which later changed its name to Cogenics Icoria, Inc.

"I co-founded Paradigm Genetics in 1997 and closed the first round of funding in February 1998. We completed a successful IPO in May 2000," said Stewart.

But Cogenics Icoria was based in North Carolina, and the company's listed phone number now belongs to a retirement center in that state.

Stewart responded that Cogenics Icoria, like Arcanum, "did not go out of business," and added that the market capitalization on the company was $140 million when he left in 2001.

"In 2005, Monsanto Company purchased selected agricultural genomics assets from Icoria," Stewart wrote.  "Later in 2005, another company, Clinical Data, Inc., purchased Icoria’s metabolomics and gene expression business."

"These types of acquisitions by larger companies are extremely common in the biotechnology industry, said Stewart.

Rutgers' Media Relations office declined to provide any contact information for Stewart, nor were they willing to answer questions on the current state of his companies.

Stewart served on the Board of Trustees for Rutgers since 2006, and was appointed as the board's chair on July 1, 2014. He also sits on the Rutgers Foundation Board of Overseers.

Stewart led the Board of Trustees through the reductions of the number of seats on the board from 59 to 41 in late 2014.

The scaling down of the Board of Trustees was the result of an ongoing political battle with Senate President Stephen Sweeney, who had sought to abolish the Board of Trustees in his push for more direct control of Rutgers by the state government.

Stewart's appointment means that more than a third of the 15-member Board of Governors now live outside New Jersey.

Instead, Stewart lives almost 500 miles from Rutgers, in the small unincorporated community of New Hill, North Carolina, just south of Raleigh, the state's capital city.

As we reported previously, Board of Governors members Greg Brown, Mark Hershhorn, Susan McCue, Mark Angelson, and another recent addition to the board, Joseph Rigby, do not reside in New Jersey.

Reporter at New Brunswick Today

Award-winning, multimedia journalist with experience in digital first and print-media. Daniel has covered local, state and regional issues, and utilized photography, social media and has written in-depth articles to produce high-quality work.