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New $6 M U. initiative partners with U. trustee Hugin’s former company Celgene

University trustee Bob Hugin ’76
Courtesy of New Jersey Globe
University trustee Bob Hugin ’76 Courtesy of New Jersey Globe

The Princeton Catalysis Initiative (PCI) announced that it will begin a $6 million industrial partnership with the Celgene Corporation, a biotechnology company formerly headed by University trustee Bob Hugin ’76.

PCI aims to accelerate interdisciplinary collaboration on catalysis across the University and with industry. The Celgene Corporation primarily focuses on discovering, developing, and commercializing medicines for cancers and inflammatory disorders. As of fiscal year 2017, Celgene reported earnings of $2 billion, with an annual revenue of around $13 billion.


PCI signed its 10-year, $6 million commitment on Nov. 1. The partnership will allow University researchers to work collaboratively on catalysis, according to the University.

Hugin served as Celgene’s CEO from 2010 to 2017, after which he retired to become the company’s executive chairman. He is largely credited with saving the corporation and making it profitable. He retired from his position as executive chairman in January.

During Hugin’s Senate race, he was accused by his senate opponent Bob Menendez of price-gouging life-saving cancer drugs during his tenure as the CEO of PCI.

“All we have to say (and said) on the partnership is captured in the piece we posted a few days ago,” wrote Ben Chang, University spokesperson, in an email to The Daily Princetonian.

Hugin recently lost a Senate race against Sen. Bob Menendez (D.-N.J.). The trustee also generated controversy on campus earlier this year when students learned of the homophobic remarks he made as a University undergraduate and his past opposition to female membership in the University’s eating clubs. Hugin’s campaign disavowed those statements.

President Christopher Eisgruber ’83 addressed students’ concerns about Hugin in a Council of the Princeton University Community meeting in September and praised Hugin’s work as a University trustee. 


“Hugin is a terrific trustee for this University,” Eisgruber said at the time. “He is somebody who is an extraordinary source of judgment and counsel on the board and an important ally on a number of different issues, including issues with respect to diversity.”

Hugin did not immediately respond to request for comment.

Mechanical and aerospace engineering professor and department chair Howard Stone, molecular biology assistant professor Sabine Petry, PCI director David MacMillan, and Head of Public Relations for Celgene Corporation Greg Geissman did not immediately respond to request for comment from the ‘Prince.’

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