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LI drugmaker buys Suffolk factory, products from industry giant Teva 

From left, PL Developments' CEO Mitch Singer, president

From left, PL Developments' CEO Mitch Singer, president Evan Singer, and executive vice president Adam Singer in front of a production line packaging generic nicotine gum in Copiague on Monday. Credit: Barry Sloan

A generic drugs manufacturer in Westbury has purchased more than 40 over-the-counter products and a Suffolk County factory from industry giant Teva Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd., executives announced Monday.

PL Developments bought the U.S. store-brand, over-the-counter medicine division of Teva, which is headquartered in Israel. The deal closed Friday, officials said. The purchase price was not disclosed.

The transaction gives family-owned PLD entry into the market for nicotine gum, lozenges and patches that are approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, said company president Evan Singer.

He said the 93,000-square-foot plant in Copiague that comes with the deal is home to one of only three nicotine-gum manufacturing lines in the world to be certified by the FDA. More than 80 people work at the factory, which PLD will keep open.

The Teva products and plant will “strengthen our leadership position in supplying U.S. retailers with high-quality products in their own brands across a multitude of consumer health care categories,” Singer said.

PLD employs more than 1,100 people on Long Island and in California, Florida and South Carolina. Its local workforce totals 650 in Westbury and Farmingdale.

“We do expect that the business that we’ve acquired [from Teva] is poised to grow,” Singer said, “so we’d expect that there’s a positive impact on our employment on the Island.”

Pharma is the biggest player in manufacturing in Nassau and Suffolk counties, 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 June report by the Suffolk County Industrial Development Agency and the Workforce Development Institute, a statewide nonprofit group focused on worker training.

PLD was started in 1988 by Singer’s father, Mitch, who serves as CEO, and the late Mort Rezack. The company supplies more than 300 generic over-the-counter medicines to big retail chains such as CVS Health, Target Corp. and Costco.

PLD has expanded in recent years through acquisitions, buying a diagnostic tests business in Florida in 2016 and a drug maker in South Carolina in 2013.

Besides smoking cessation products, Evan Singer said the Teva deal features analgesics, cough and cold remedies, first aid ointments and the first store-brand alternative for Abreva, the cold sore cream. In total, PLD purchased 41 products, including 14 awaiting FDA approval, including a nicotine patch.

He added that PLD has been interested in smoking-cessation aids since 2014 when it signed an agreement with a British company to sell nicotine chewing gum for use as an alternative to smoking.

Asked how the Teva deal came about, Singer said, “We’ve not done any business with Teva prior to this transaction. … Teva ran a process to divest this [over-the-counter medicines] business, and PLD was invited to bid.”

A Teva spokeswoman didn't immediately respond to a request for comment Monday.

Teva is considered the largest manufacturer of generic drugs, with 70 factories that turned out 120 billion tablets and capsules last year. The public company has a workforce of 43,000 people and produces prescription and over-the-counter medicines.

The deal with Teva comes four months after the board of Empire State Development, the state’s primary business-aid agency, approved the first portion of a $4 million grant for PLD. The company is matching the state funds, which are to be used for new equipment, according to ESD records from March.

In return for the state aid, PLD has promised to employ at least 690 people on Long Island by 2022 and to expand here instead of in South Carolina.

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