By Harry Keaney
The Dublin company Warner Chilcott, which is quoted on the Nasdaq under WCRX, recently signed an agreement with Bristol-Myers Squibb Company to acquire three branded pharmaceutical products.
According to the New York Times, Microsoft chairman Bill Gates owns 12 percent of Warner Chilcott.
And Charles Schwab Corporation, the No. 1 U.S. discount and internet brokerage, has agreed to pay $488 million for a four-year-old company, Cybercorp, established by University College Dublin graduate Philip Berber. Schwab said it would exchange 13.7 million of its shares for Cybercorp.
Warner Chilcott will acquire Estrace, an estrogen replacement therapy product, and Ovcon 35 and Ovcon 50, two oral contraceptives.
The products currently generate annual revenues of about $50 million.
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"Our growth strategy is to maximize the value of our sales and marketing organization by developing, acquiring and promoting specialty pharmaceutical products," James Andress, chairman and CEO of Warner Chilcott, said.
"We are acquiring Estrace cream and the Ovcon brands because they are proprietary products with solid growth prospects in the women’s healthcare market, which is our area of strategic focus and strength. We intend to increase the value of both brands through increased promotional support, product repositioning and the development of line extensions."
Warner Chilcott is engaged in the development, marketing, and sale of prescription pharmaceutical products for dermatology, cardiology and women’s healthcare speciality products. Through research, development and manufacturing relationships with several corporate collaborators, including Warner-Lambert Company, Barr, and Elan Corporation, the company is developing and commercializing branded and complex generic pharmaceutical products.
The company was founded in Ireland in 1992 as Nale Laboratories Limited by Elan to develop and market complex generic drugs based on Elan’s proprietary drug delivery technologies. In 1996, Nale acquired Warner Chilcott Laboratories, a division of the Warner-Lambert Company and subsequently changed its name to Warner Chilcott, plc.
The company went public in 1997. The company’s principal offices are in Dublin and in Rockaway, N.J.
Elan is a leader in the development of controlled release drug delivery systems.
Meanwhile, Charles Schwab Corporation is to pay $488 million for Cybercorp established by University College Dublin graduate Philip Berber. Berber, 41, who owns nearly half of the equity in the Austin, Texas-based company he founded, will get about $230 million in stock from the deal, the Dublin-based Sunday Business Post newspaper reported.
The computer system Berber developed caters for active equity traders on the internet, based on expert technology that seeks out the best prices among 60 market makers and nine electronic communications networks. The Cybercorp system now works only on stocks, but Berber is testing it on options and expects to apply its order-routing technology to the options market in the near future.
In 1999, Cybercorp had sales of $24.5 million, up from $5.5 million the year before, and by the end of the year was averaging 21,500 trades per day. Berber said that in recent weeks it was generating sales of $1 million a week.
The 140 employees at Cybercorp’s Austin office own 27 percent of the company through a stock option scheme.