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ICN Subsidiary Gets Stake in Spain Pharmaceutical Firm

March 31, 1987|ROBERT HANLEY | Times Staff Writer

ICN Pharmaceuticals Inc. said its SPI Pharmaceuticals Inc. subsidiary has acquired a 71% stake in a pharmaceuticals company owned by the Spanish government and will acquire the balance over the next decade.

The acquisition of Laboratorios Hubber S.A. by the Costa Mesa-based company's marketing arm will be paid for in Spanish pesetas and the cost will not exceed $8 million over the 10-year purchase period, said Lawrence Panitz, ICN's chief operating officer. ICN owns 87% of SPI Pharmaceuticals.

Laboratorios Hubber, which manufactures and markets plasma derivatives, antibiotics, and gamma globulins among other pharmaceutical products, had about $20 million in sales during 1986, Panitz said.

The acquisition of a controlling stake in the Spanish company, Panitz said, is "a small step" in ICN's plan to acquire worldwide distribution channels for its drug Virazole, which is used overseas for a variety of ailments.

In the United States, the drug is approved for treating severe cases of respiratory syncytial virus--RSV--in infants. Virazole also is considered a potential AIDS medication but is not approved for that use.

Virazole is not approved for any use in Spain, but Panitz said an application to license the drug for use against RSV is currently pending there. If permission to sell Virazole in Spain is secured, Laboratorios Hubber would be used to distribute the drug, he said.

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