PharmaPrint Names New Chairman Amid Dispute With Key Customer

From Times staff and wire services

PharmaPrint Inc., which is trying to recover after its only major customer announced plans to sever its ties to the money-losing company, said Monday its directors unanimously elected C. Richard Piazza as chairman.

Elliot Friedman, the Irvine herbal supplement maker’s former chairman and board member since 1994, tendered his resignation, effective immediately.

PharmaPrint hired Piazza on Oct. 1 as the company’s president and chief executive, positions he continues to hold.

The company’s stock, which nearly hit bottom since its 12-month high of $14.88 in February, gained 38 cents to close Monday at $1.75 a share in Nasdaq trading. In trading two weeks ago, shares sold as low as 88 cents a share.


Tiny PharmaPrint has been supplying American Home Products Inc. with ingredients for American Home’s Centrum brand. But the Madison, N.J., giant cut back on orders during PharmaPrint’s fiscal second quarter, which ended in September.

PharmaPrint’s quarterly revenue fell to $590,000 from $4 million in last year’s second quarter, and its losses more than doubled to $6.6 million, or 48 cents a share.

In October, American Home formally gave PharmaPrint one-year notice of its intent to terminate the agreement, though it refused to give a reason. It sued PharmaPrint in federal court in Newark, alleging the Irvine supplement maker hasn’t lived up to its part of the bargain and has falsely accused American Home of misappropriating technology to develop products.

Earlier this month, PharmaPrint sued American Home in Orange County Superior Court, accusing the drug maker of using PharmaPrint trade secrets to develop its own products and breaching a supply agreement.


Piazza had asserted that American Home never intended to honor the agreement.