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Newsday, Melville, N.Y., James Bernstein column: Hauppauge pharmaceutical firm poised for big things [Newsday, Melville, N.Y.]
[November 02, 2009]

Newsday, Melville, N.Y., James Bernstein column: Hauppauge pharmaceutical firm poised for big things [Newsday, Melville, N.Y.]

(Newsday (Melville, NY) Via Acquire Media NewsEdge) Nov. 2--If there was ever a time to be in the generic drug business, this is it. About $40 billion to $50 billion of branded drugs will be losing their patents in the next five years and are to become generics.

Amneal Pharmaceuticals Llc of Hauppauge, Long Island's largest generic drugmaker in terms of employees, stands to be among the chief beneficiaries. Amneal, which acquired Interpharm Holdings Inc. of Hauppauge last year, kept Interpharm's approximately 375 employees on the Island and has added 67 more.

And Amneal is not done, said Chintu Patel, chief executive of the 7-year-old, privately held company whose sales are now about $200 million annually. Amneal plans to hire about 80 people on Long Island next year and perhaps as many as 100 in 2011. Amneal is looking for processing engineers, technical lab and quality-control technicians, and office workers.

Aren't companies supposed to be laying people off, or at the very least not hiring? Maybe, but not in the generic drug business, said Chirag Patel, Amneal's brother and the company's president.

"We're in generic [drug] manufacturing, which is a very good area to be in right now, if you can operate the business properly," Chintu Patel said. Amneal, he said, was able to "get the best possible prices" from its suppliers by providing them with large volumes of business. Costs are held down, he said, through technology.

The company has 40 drugs that have Federal Drug Administration approval and is waiting for FDA approval on another 20 to 25. About 50 million prescriptions are being filled using Amneal's products, 90 percent of which are made on Long Island. Many of Amneal's products are pain killers.

Amneal's goal is to become a $1-billion company in the next five years. The most competition comes from India, ironic since that is where the Patels were born and emigrated from in 1987.

"It hurts on the cost side from India," Chintu Patel said.

CA Inc., the Islandia-based software giant that was wracked by a $2.2-billion accounting scandal earlier this decade, has decided to continue its court fight to regain about $500 million from its founder and former chairman, Charles Wang, who was blamed in a blistering internal report for directing and participating in fraudulent activities.

Wang, who left CA in 2002 and is now hoping to develop the proposed Lighthouse project in Uniondale, has previously denied any wrongdoing and said he was "appalled" by the report issued in 2007 by a committee of outside CA directors.

In a letter last week to U.S. District Court Judge Thomas C. Platt, CA said it wants to press its case against Wang and Peter Schwartz, CA's former chief financial officer. Wang and Schwartz were never accused of any criminal wrongdoing in the federal government's case against the company, in which former chief executive Sanjay Kumar was jailed and other CA executives cooperated with federal investigators. Spokesmen for Wang and Schwartz did not return calls seeking comment.

Gary Lutin, who runs a shareholder forum on CA, said that a federal appellate court ruling "made it very clear that it was the company's duty to pursue these claims, so it should be reassuring to shareholders that they are doing so." CA chief counsel for litigation Gary Brown said in a statement, "CA will continue to vigorously pursue these matters to protect the interests of shareholders as well as the company." Speed Networking seems to be replacing old-fashioned networking as the preferred way for some business people to meet these days.

The latest networking event is to be held Wednesday at Patsy's Pizzeria on Jericho Turnpike in Syosset and will be hosted by the Islanders Business Club, headed by former New York Islanders star Mike Bossy.

Speed Networking works the same way as speed dating. In this case, 10 tables will be set up with eight members and a moderator from the Islanders at each table. After a bell rings, each member will have 90 seconds to describe their business. They will then move to the next table. Future meetings can be arranged if there's interest.

Islanders Business Club spokesman Doug Drotman said the club hosted a similar event last year. "We hold about 15 events a year, and this one was the most popular," Drotman said.

To see more of Newsday, or to subscribe to the newspaper, go to Copyright (c) 2009, Newsday, Melville, N.Y.

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