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Grapevine: Out of gas, again?

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Despite a one-year grace period, another cross-Atlantic battle is raising doubts about the planned Formula One race on the Hudson County waterfront.

The clash is playing out on racing news websites, as it did last year before the event was postponed. A close confidante of Formula One czar Bernie Ecclestone is pointing to funding shortfalls that threaten to knock the race off the 2014 calendar.

But a spokesman for the local race organizers dismissed the chatter.

“We’re still on for 2014,” he said. “We don’t comment on speculative reports, but we’ll have a statement following the FIA and World Motor Sport Council announcement of the official 2014 FIA Formula One World Championship schedule.”

The Fédération Internationale de l’Automobile is the governing body for auto racing. The group last September placed the New Jersey race on its 2013 card with a “to be confirmed” asterisk, but the inaugural race was pushed back to 2014.

Last week, Ecclestone confidante Niki Lauda said the New Jersey race “has not taken place because of a lack of money in America,” adding, “as far as I know, it has already been taken off the calendar again,” according to multiple reports.

The talk echoes what Ecclestone had said last year, during months of speculation that preceded the postponement of the Grand Prix of America at Port Imperial.

The drama is dizzying for race boosters, but one observer noted that track-related construction is underway at the planned course in Weehawken and West New York. That includes work on roads and sidewalks as well as utility relocations, not to mention that organizers have lined up vendor contracts and started to acquire local permits.

The announcement in 2011 that Formula One races would come to New Jersey for the next 10 years was a coup for Gov. Chris Christie, who was in the midst of adding high-profile sporting events like the Super Bowl and WWE Wrestlemania to the Garden State’s calendar. At the time, New Jersey boasted it had attracted the race without offering public funds or incentives money.

Curing the bottom line

Expect to see higher revenue and smaller operating losses from Cancer Genetics Inc. when the Rutherford maker of cancer diagnostics tests reports its second-quarter earnings.

That’s the takeaway from the company’s recent filings with the SEC, which indicate preliminary estimates show second-quarter revenue of between $1.7 million and $1.8 million. That’s a solid improvement over $1.1 million a year ago, and that figure was inflated by grant money.

Cancer Genetics, which completed an initial public offering in April, indicated its second quarter jump was mostly the result of an increase from a significant trials client.

While its earnings report is yet to be finalized — it’s due out sometime in the next few weeks — the maker of genomic-based oncology tests also is projecting a smaller operating loss. As a result of the conversion of debt to common stock to facilitate the IPO, management said it expects certain nonrecurring charges will unfavorably affect the second quarter.

Therapy on target

The developer of a treatment for a rare digestive disorder is on target to meet its internal expectations.

According to a regulatory filing, NPS Pharmaceuticals Inc., in Bedminster, will have between 200 and 300 patients on Gattex by the end of 2013, and it plans a full report when it provides second-quarter results later this week.

Gattex is a key foundation of the company’s growth strategy. It treats customers with short bowel syndrome, a rare digestive disorder that prevents patients from properly absorbing nutrients. It generated $654,000 in sales in the first quarter. 

Grapevine reports on the behind-the-scenes buzz in the business community. Contact Editor Tom Bergeron at tomb@njbiz.com.

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