CIRCA PHARMACEUTICAL/COMMONS BROTHERS BRANDNAME Rx REPACKAGING DEAL
CIRCA PHARMACEUTICAL/COMMONS BROTHERS BRANDNAME Rx REPACKAGING DEAL provides for the repackaging by Circa of "up to 120 items" in Commons Brothers' wholesale product line. Under an agreement effective April 14, Circa (formerly Bolar) will repackage branded drugs from large containers to smaller size packages, such as 100 and 500 unit bottles more useful to the retail pharmacist, for distribution by the Elmsford, N.Y.-based wholesaler. The repackaging will be performed at Circa's Copiague, N.Y. facility. Financial terms of the agreement were not disclosed. The repackaged products will be available to Commons Brothers' entire customer base, including members of its NU Health network of independent retail pharmacies and to non-member pharmacies. However, NU Health member pharmacies will pay less for the repackaged drugs than non-members, Commons said. Commons Brothers launched its NU Health network in November 1991 to help independent pharmacies compete with chains and mass merchandisers ("The Pink Sheet" Nov. 11, 1991, T&G-12). Independents pay a one-time deposit and monthly fees to be members of NU Health. In return, they receive preferential prices and assistance with marketing and merchandising. Commons said April 15 that the network currently has 260 members, representing "easily" $45 mil. per year in sales to the wholesaler. Commons Brothers had hoped to grow the network to over 300 members by the end of 1992 but said it is "very satisfied" with NU Health's growth. Circa said the repackaging agreement, like the recent change of name, is part of the company's "turnaround" and its efforts to "emerge" from past regulatory difficulties. The agreement is also a chance for Circa to use excess capacity at the Copiague facility's five production lines, which are currently being used to manufacture OTC drugs and to research new drugs and ANDA products, the company said. In particular, the Commons Brothers deal allows Circa to use packaging capacity that would otherwise remain unused until the company gains approval to manufacture new products. Circa noted that the Commons Brothers agreement fits into its plan to move away from being exclusively a generic drug company. The company is researching new drug delivery technologies in-house and recently announced a development and co-marketing agreement with Hi-Tech Pharmacal for four generic prescription solutions ("The Pink Sheet" April 5, In Brief). Circa said it expects to announce further joint ventures and collaborations "in the next few weeks." As part of its renewed focus on new drug products, Circa announced April 14 the appointment of Paul Morris, PhD, as director of drug discovery. Morris comes to Circa from the University of Illinois at Chicago, where he was an associate professor of biochemistry and the scientific head of the Protein Sequence Synthesis Laboratory. His immediate focus at Circa will be the isolation and purification of compounds in the area of cardiovascular research and appetite suppression.
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