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NOVA ACQUISITION OF PRODUCT RESOURCES INTERNATIONAL (PRI)

Executive Summary

NOVA ACQUISITION OF PRODUCT RESOURCES INTERNATIONAL (PRI) will broaden the the Baltimore-based receptor R&D company's technology base in the drug delivery area and provide an immediate product revenue stream from outstanding agreements with Rorer and Marion. Nova announced the cash/stock purchase of New York City-based PRI in a Nov. 29 release. "The acquisition of PRI will enhance Nova's existing drug delivery business with the addition of two patented technologies," Nova CEO Hans Mueller remarked. "With several products in development, the PRI acquisition provides Nova with near-term product revenue opportunities." PRI was put together in the late 1970's by Eugene Whelan to develop novel drug delivery systems. Whelan is currently chairman of PRI. The edible whip and the Dynagram Tablet System form the nucleus of PRI's proprietary drug delivery technologies. PRI has more than 20 licensing agreements with major U.S. and European companies covering prescription and OTC products in the the aerosolized edible whip formulation. Under an agreement with Rorer, PRI's technology was used to develop the first whip product to appear in the U.S., an aerosol version of Maalox. That product got off to a fast start in 1987 helping the Maalox line over the $100 mil. mark for the first time. The whip product's consumer sell-through may have been less successful. Rorer recently reported that third quarter sales were adversely affected by low market penetration by Maalox Whip. Other OTC whip products under development include pediatric vitamins (with Bristol-Myers) and cough/cold preparations, according to the release. Wellcome PLC has also shown an interest in PRI's whip technology. The company has exclusive manufacturing rights for Europe and reportedly has been building a manufacturing facility. Wellcome is also said to be developing a whip Omega-3 fish oil product. The Dynagram technology, which PRI acquired through a 50/50 joint venture with Valentine Enterprises, "allows the formulation of chewable, fast liquefying, pharmaceutical tablets with improved taste as well as non-chalky, non-gritty characteristics," the release notes. Marion's Os-Cal employs the Dynagram Tablet System. Nova is currently in late Phase II clinical development with an implantable biodegradable polymer system for treatment of brain tumors. The delivery technology, licensed on an exclusive basis from M.I.T., is also being studied for disease applications, according to the company. Also nearing Phase III trials is Nova's nasal bradykinin antagonist product for treatment of the common cold. SmithKline has exclusive marketing rights to the product under a 1988 agreement.
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