CEO Lou Kennedy said the new product, which is an alternative to a popular inhaler medication withdrawn from the market, has huge potential to grow Nephron’s business and make it a more recognizable brand. She said the medication will be manufactured in Nephron’s new plant being built near Cayce.
By James T. Hammond
Published Aug. 20, 2012
Nephron Pharmaceuticals Corp., which is building a $313 million research and manufacturing facility in Lexington County, begins this week marketing an alternative medication for asthma sufferers that owners Lou and Bill Kennedy believe has vast market potential worldwide.
Nephron owners Lou and Bill Kennedy. (Photo/File)
Nephron CEO Lou Kennedy said today that Asthmanefrin will become available this week in Walmart stores, and will become available in other retail chain outlets as soon as the company can ramp up production of the new product, starting with CVS pharmacies.
Kennedy said the potential market for the asthma relief product is huge. Walmart alone was selling an average 65,000 units of Primatene Mist a week before it was withdrawn from the market.
The Kennedys believe they will have the only alternative to the popular medication ready to go to market today, and that its potential to grow the company and make the Nephron brand a household word is huge.
Kennedy said she has already placed orders with Nephron’s equipment suppliers for the necessary molds and other devices to make the new asthma medication in the manufacturing facility being built in the Saxe Gotha Industrial Park near Cayce.
Asthmanefrin already is registered in some other countries, she said, adding that the market for the product potentially is worldwide.
“We believe this product will be a blockbuster,” she said. “There are people clamoring for an alternative to Primatene Mist. We think we are going to have the only alternative.”
Asthmanefrin is an over-the-counter medication that is inhaled by asthma sufferers, three puffs at a time, four times a day.
The active ingredient in Asthmanefrin, Racepinephrine, has been used by hospitals, pharmacies and physicians for more than a century, Nephron said.
Nephron Pharmaceuticals is a privately owned manufacturer of generic inhalation solutions, headquartered in Orlando. The company employs 500 people.
Nephron is developing a new facility in Cayce on a 60-acre site that will expand its product line to include ophthalmic and injectable medications and provide space for contract manufacturing.
Bill and Lou Kennedy are both graduates of the University of South Carolina and are South Carolina natives. In 2010, they donated $30 million to USC to create the William P. and Lou W. Kennedy Pharmacy Innovation Center. The gift was intended to launch programs to add business acumen to pharmacy education. The center will use space in Innovista’s Discovery I and Coker Life Sciences buildings.
The gift is the second largest in USC history, behind only Darla Moore’s $45 million pledge to the business school that now bears her name. The Kennedys’ gift also is the second-largest gift to any pharmacy school anywhere.