Eager to expand its allergy detection resources into new areas, NMS Pharmaceuticals said Monday that it had purchased a 50% interest in Advanced Allergy Research Center Inc. of Los Angeles for more than $3 million.
The Newport Beach-based manufacturer of allergy detection kits said Advanced Allergy Research--which had been one of its closest competitors--will operate as an independent arm of NMS Pharmaceuticals.
"This whole field (of allergy research) is expanding so rapidly that a company cannot go on with just one fragment of the research," said Joseph H. Irani, NMS president and chief executive.
NMS's allergy test kits can measure histamines--generated by allergic reactions--in patients' blood levels. These kits, which sell for about $350 and contain about 100 testing tubes, are used by hospitals and clinics. The company also recently began marketing a pregnancy detection kit.
All 10 Advanced Allergy Research employees will be retained by NMS, including Dr. J. Cheung, who will remain president of Advanced Allergy Research. With the purchase, NMS's payroll will increase to 70, Irani said.
The companies will concentrate on immune-allergy research. Because of increased exposure to environmental chemicals, life styles, and food and drug habits, Americans are seeing a slow decay of their immune systems, Irani said. The result, he said, is an increasing number of allergies.
About 30% to 40% of the U.S. population now suffers from various types of allergies, according to the National Institute of Health.
NMS executives hope that the purchase will help turn around the company's financial picture. Irani projected that the company would post a loss of about $800,000 in fiscal 1986 on sales of about $2 million. That compares to a fiscal 1985 loss of $1.5 million on sales of $1.4 million.
Irani projected that the company would be profitable in fiscal 1987.