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LI's Contract Pharmacal buys stake in Florida pharmaceutical firm

Contract Pharmacal Corp. CEO Matt Wolf, left, and

Contract Pharmacal Corp. CEO Matt Wolf, left, and his brother, company president Mark Wolf, seen on Feb. 26.  Credit: Jessica Rotkiewicz

Contract Pharmacal Corp. of Hauppauge has purchased a controlling interest in a Florida seller of prescription drugs, executives said.

Under terms of the deal, Florida Pharmaceutical Products Inc. will continue to operate from Boca Raton, where it has a workforce of six people, according to a CPC spokeswoman.

Industry veteran Larry Lapila will continue to run Florida Pharmaceutical and hold a minority stake in the business, she said.

The value of CPC’s investment wasn’t disclosed.

Matt Wolf, CEO of CPC, said this month the acquisition “solidifies CPC’s entrance into the generic Rx market and provides FPP with the capital and manufacturing resources to expand its product portfolio and accelerate growth.”

CPC is one of Long Island’s largest drugmakers, with more than 1,500 employees at nine facilities in Suffolk County. The company also has an office in Shanghai, China, and a research laboratory in Ahmedabad, India, where analytical tests for drugs are developed by 30 chemists.

Pharma is the biggest player in manufacturing on Long Island, with a total workforce of nearly 10,000 as of June 2017. Employment in the sector has increased 64 percent since 2004, according to census data in a recent report by the Suffolk County Industrial Development Agency and the Workforce Development Institute, a statewide nonprofit group focused on worker training.

The groups found that pharma employs double the number of people as the second-largest manufacturing sector, instruments.

CPC is best known for generic over-the-counter medicines, vitamins and nutritional supplements, including the new Uleva line of hemp supplements. However, the company has been producing generic prescription drugs since the 1990s that are sold under the brand names of others, said spokeswoman Sarah Starr.

Acquiring Florida Pharmaceutical gives CPC its “own label that will be used to sell ethically-priced generic drugs directly to wholesalers, drugstore chains, mail order and the federal government,” she said this month.

Florida Pharmaceutical specializes in identifying new drugs and then selling them. It contracts with labs and factories to produce the drugs.

In February, Florida Pharmaceutical formed an alliance with Stason Pharmaceuticals Inc. in Irvine, California, to make available in the U.S. market additional generic prescription drugs from Asia.

Florida Pharmaceutical has been owned since August 2018 by Woodfield Distribution LLC, a logistics business in Boca Raton that serves the pharma industry, according to an announcement from both companies.

Florida Pharmaceutical was started in 1999 by Laurence Runsdorf, who ran it until his death in May 2018. Runsdorf’s son, Adam, founded Woodfield and appointed Lapila to succeed his father.

The elder Runsdorf and Lapila worked at another drugmaker that also does business with CPC.

This month, the CPC spokeswoman said Florida Pharmaceutical plans to expand in Boca Raton, including the hiring of more workers.

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