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Prepared for the September 20, 2000 edition of U.S. 1 Newspaper.
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Life in the Fast Lane: Mova Laboratories.
For Mova Laboratories, a fast-growing privately-held
pharmaceutical company at Exit 8A, the focus is on aging populations.
And the firm just happens to have its own informal one-person consumer
research division — the 88-year-old grandmother of the president
and chief operating officer, Sherrie Bradley.
When Bradley invited her grandmother to live with her at her Colt’s
Neck home, the elder’s needs triggered the invention of a new product
— a blister package for cardiovascular medication, labeled for
different meals. "This product allows the patient or caregiver
to see if the medication has been taken at the appropriate time,"
That’s just one example of how Bradley’s family experiences have
her career. She has grown her company, Mova Laboratories
from four to 48 employees in four years and recently tripled its space
in a move from the Carnegie Center to Cedar Brook Corporate Center.
For those 50 and above (an age span that includes the ubiquitous baby
boomers) Mova Laboratories develops branded pharmaceuticals as well
as generics. She has two new products on the market and one in
Most pharmas that start small need to move to the stock market to
get funds for development, but Mova Laboratories is managing to stay
private. It is supported by a parent company with a profitable
operation. "There aren’t too many of us around that aren’t public
that are developing products," Bradley says, and she thinks this
gives her an advantage. "We try to keep things as confidential
as possible. I don’t have to worry about stock prices. I can
on running a business when everything is not made public to the
"Once a business does go public, the focus of running the business
changes," says Bradley, who has had considerable experience in
that arena. Such public companies sometimes have to take steps that
aren’t necessarily good for the business but are appealing to Wall
Street. "We had a `plectron’ in the office of the president that
monitored the stock price at any given moment," she recalls from
one stint with a publicly traded company, "and everyone was
watching the stock price."
Mova Laboratories’ parent company, Mova Pharmaceutical
Corporation (www.movapharm.com), has always planned to move beyond
manufacturing to do research, development, and marketing. Based in
Caguas, Puerto Rico, it already manufactures generic over-the-counter
liquids and RX products for such companies as Ciba Geigy and Merck.
The majority stakeholder and chairman, Joaquin Viso, had headed the
SmithKlineBeecham production facility in Puerto Rico and helped get
Tagamet to market. He enlisted private investors for Mova
and started doing contract manufacturing in 1986 for such companies
as Merck, Searle, and Agouron.
Then he bought Eli Lilly’s cephalosporin plant in Puerto Rico and
made an alliance with a raw material supplier, so his company is
to be a major player in the cephalosporin market. It has a total of
1 million square feet of manufacturing space.
"We have had phenomenal growth over the last four years and have
brought on very experienced people," says Bradley. "The
we developed we are bringing to market. Most of our development is
being done in Puerto Rico, but part of the space in Cranbury will
be devoted to product development."
The United States office of Mova started in 1992 with two people
out of their homes. At the time Bradley joined in 1996, it had five
people and 2,500 square feet. Sales grew, the infrastructure grew,
and the firm went from being extremely unprofitable to showing a
for the first time in 1998.
Makers of generic products, such as Mova, line up at the starting
gate to wait for patents to expire on branded products. Getting a
generic approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) can take
just 6 to 12 months, compared to the applications for the original
branded products, which could last from three to five years or even
The generic companies submit an Abbreviated New Drug Application
based on the information in the original patent. In addition to an
"in vitro" or test tube test, which investigates how well
the ingredients are absorbed, a bioequivalency test is required to
see if the look-alike drug is effective. Both generic and the original
drug are administered to the same person to see if the patient reacts
the same way and if the resulting blood levels are identical.
generics earn an AB rating from the FDA.
For a look-alike drug for Glaxo Wellcome’s Zovirax, Mova’s parent
company partnered with Aesgen Inc. (based on College Road) and the
Mayo Clinic to test and market Acyclovir, useful for treating HIV-AIDs
as well as herpes.
Other products for which Mova offers generic alternatives: Tylenol
with codeine by McNeil, Squibb’s Capoten, SKB’s Tagamet and Tagamet
Injection, MMD’s Bentyl, Janssen’s Nizoral, Roche’s Naprosyn, Roche
Laboratories’ Anaprox, and Wyeth-Ayerst’s Lodine, Mysoline, and
Mova’s generic antibiotics include Amoxicillin (for SKB’s Amoxil),
Ampicillin (for Bristol-Myers Squibb’s Polycillin), Cefaclor (for
Eli Lilly’s Ceclor), and Caphalexin (for Roche’s Annaprox). For the
over-the-counter shelf, it has generics for Tylenol, Dimetapp,
On the branded side, one of Bradley’s products is still under wraps
but is in clinical trials. "It is not a new chemical entity but
is a new delivery method," says Bradley. "The patents on this
particular delivery method give us the ability to bring to market
this product as well as additional combinations of the product and
other forms of the drug as well. I wouldn’t say it is revolutionary
but it is something that others have not been able to do to date."
The initial research, she says, was performed by a "very small
company" in New Jersey, was licensed by Mova, and is being
in Puerto Rico.
Two more products for the branded side, Zoetica, are also in
and two are already on the market:
$120 million and also has a generic sister product, Glyburide. A
to Upjohn’s Glynase, the branded product is a tablet that offers an
additional dosage form for those with Type II diabetes. For this
Mova is doing its own detailing (sales) and marketing through 27
representatives in a regional campaign east of the Mississippi
and is comparable to Trental in helping to expand capillaries. The
generic version is Pentaxifyliene, and both are on the market.
"What’s great about Pentopak is that we have created a compliance
package to help the consumer know when to take the drug, or when they
have taken the drug," says Bradley. The blister package —
inspired by Bradley’s grandmother’s needs — is labeled for
Lunch, and Dinner.
division. "We bounce ideas off of her, as to what she thinks works
and doesn’t work," says Bradley. "Because of where she is
in her life, I am very much exposed to insurance situations as far
as coverage of drugs and illnesses. It directly affects her, and I
have a very good understanding of what is occurring throughout the
Bradley’s grandmother came from a family of nine brothers and sisters,
and is the oldest living in her family. When Bradley’s grandfather
and mother died, Bradley invited her to move to Colts Neck and live
with her two teenage children and her "significant other."
"She was living by herself in Ohio, and many of her friends had
passed away," says Bradley. "My sister and I were very
about her being on her own, though she is extremely alert and gets
around very well. We thought it was important to bring her where her
family was so we could spend more time with her. She has been with
us for three years, has her own room and own bathroom right off the
kitchen, and she has been terrific — she does a lot of the
helps with laundry and gardening, feels very useful, and gets to see
her great grandkids a lot." The grandmother accompanies the family
on family vacations and just got back from two weeks in Alaska.
Sherrie Muehlenhard Bradley majored in microbiology
at Miami University in Ohio, Class of 1978. Her father worked for
Westinghouse and the family made 14 moves in 12 years. She did
at the College of Medicine and Dentistry in Newark and spent the next
10 years at Lederle Labs. In a fast-track program, she went from a
doing a quality control job to being production supervisor in
and other technical areas. Then she moved into purchasing for contract
manufacturing, and packaging for generic and branded products. "I
was very fortunate," she says, "because that program really
set me up for the position I am in now."
Along the way she earned her MBA at Seton Hall. Her jobs included
being assistant to the plant manager and working at the marketing
group in corporate.
Bradley acknowledges the difficulties of being a woman in a larger
male world but sometimes, she says, "I think being a woman did
work in my favor." Among the difficult times: "I was one of
the first women supervisors in the production area, and I was having
nightmares. Most of the people reporting to me were two or three times
my age. They probably looked at me as a dumb blond who had no interest
in them as individuals or in really learning the area. I put the
on and worked with them side by side and earned their respect."
It turned out to be "one of the most fun experiences I have
Then she worked for a large, public company that made generic drugs,
Biocraft Laboratories in Fair Lawn, and headed a sales organization
that did over $100 million. "It was another win-over
she says. After 3 1/2 years at Eon Laboratories Manufacturing Inc.
on Long Island, most recently as senior vice president, she joined
Mova at the Carnegie Center. "Our goal is to treat the health
of the entire individual as opposed to other companies that target
specific disease states," says Bradley.
Bradley says she was influenced by her mother. "My mother was
an outgoing person, very much involved in the community, heading up
organizations, and my sister and I have been able to emulate her."
And from her father, she learned to be a leader, not a follower.
talk to my dad almost daily," says Bradley. "He said, `Never
burn any bridges. Dress for the next job and act like you are in the
next job, so down the road you will be prepared to be there.’
08540. Sherrie Bradley, vice president and managing director.
fax, 609-409-5995. Home page: www.movalabs.com
— Barbara Figge Fox
Cedar Brook Corporate Center, Cranbury 08512. Jack Atwell, president.
609-987-0660; fax, 609-987-9028. Home page: www.trellisnet.com
Trellis Network Services and Trellis Ventures have moved from 105
College Road. The 13-year-old firm does network design, integration,
system management, and consulting services (U.S. 1, July 19, 1995).
Cedar Brook Corporate Center, Cranbury 08512. Bill Ziegler, senior
vice president and branch manager. 609-452-6050; fax, 609-452-6063.
Home page: www.bfionline.com
The office furniture company has moved from 107 College Road East
in Forrestal Center to Cedar Brook Corporate Center.
Cranbury 08512. Steven Fox DDS, CEO. 609-395-6900; fax, 609-395-7727.
Enamelon, the toothpaste that promised to restore tooth enamel, filed
for Chapter 7 bankruptcy on July 14 (00-57324) and taken smaller
in a move from 7 Cedar Brook to 3 Cedar Brook Drive.
Cedar Brook Corporate Center, Cranbury 08512. Jonathan W. Nyce PhD,
chairman and CEO. 609-409-6080; fax, 609-409-6126. Home page:
The drug discovery and development company has moved from 2005
to what is now called 7 Clarke Drive in Cedar Brook Corporate Center.
It focuses on respiratory diseases.
08816. Gary Richman, president. 732-967-1234. Home page:
Ficomp Systems moved from Cedar Brook Corporate Center to East
The 23-year-old firm does networking systems integration, including
speech recognition software, point of sale, and warehouse applications
(U.S. 1, September 22, 1999).
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