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Ethex sales to stay on fast growth track.

ST. LOUIS--As a new kid on the block in the generic pharmaceutical world, Ethex Corp. sees a bright future for itself.

"Once we get Food and Drug Administration approvals on some of the applications we have pending, it should be gangbusters here," says a spokeswoman for Ethex parent KV Pharmaceutical.

For a company that started just three-and-a-half years ago things have already been pretty positive at Ethex. Sales were about $5 million in its first year. By the end of its last fiscal year sales had topped $20 million.

All of this was accomplished with just three prescription products: a potassium chloride, the first-ever generic version of A.H. Robins Co.'s Micro-K 10 Extencaps; a disopyramide phosphate, still the only generic version of Searle Pharmaceutical Inc.'s Norpace CR capsules; and a nitroglycerine product.

All Ethex products are formulated in oral, extended-release versions, since KV has developed eight different extended-release technologies. The potassium chloride capsules are made in two sizes. The disopyramide phosphate is available in 100 mg. and 150 mg. doses, and the nitroglycerine comes in 2.5, 6.5 and 9 mg. capsules.

Until the formation of Ethex, KV had simply been a manufacturing company that licensed its products and technologies rather than marketing its own products. But with dozens of patents set to expire on a host of branded drugs, KV decided to form Ethex in March 1990 as a marketing vehicle for its products.

"With what's happening with the government, we see the generics area as even faster growing than ever before," the spokeswoman says. "The whole reason for Ethex coming into existence was to extend our marketing capabilities in this field."

While KV is using Ethex to market its own products, the company continues to license its technologies.

For example, its site-release technology was recently licensed by Syntex Laboratories Inc. of Palo Alto, Calif., to manufacture a product called Femstat, a vaginal antifungal cream comparable to Ortho Pharmaceutical Corp.'s Monistat products. While Monistat requires a dose a day for seven days, the latest version of Femstat (which is still awaiting FDA clearance) requires only one dose, the spokeswoman claims.

KV has licensing deals with 17 of the top 20 pharmaceutical marketing companies worldwide, including the Parke-Davis Group and Janssen Pharmaceutica Inc. to market its products in Canada. Janssen's Johnson & Johnson division has licensed KV's K-24, 24-hour, time-release technology to manufacture Hismanal (astemizole) D tablets.

While the products made with KV's licensed technologies carry the brand names of their marketers, all of the drugs are made at KV's 300,000-square-foot plant in St. Louis.

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Title Annotation:Mass Market Retail Pharmacy: Marketplace; Ethex Corp.
Publication:Chain Drug Review
Date:Sep 27, 1993
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