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Pharmaceutical plant receives River Agency loan

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LOUISVILLE - The River Valley Redevelopment Agency approved a $250,000 loan Tuesday that will help bolster a Massena-based pharmaceutical manufacturing plant.

Purine Pharma will use the loan to purchase machinery and equipment for its manufacturing plant at the former Alcoa laboratories, 5 County Route 42, Massena.

The project will cost roughly $1.8 million.

The funding will be combined with a $738,000 bank loan and a $225,000 loan from the North Country Alliance.

The company will also use $585,000 of its own capital for the expansion, St. Lawrence County Industrial Development Agency Deputy CEO and Chief Financial Officer Thomas A. Plastino said.

The New York Power Authority granted the River Agency $16 million in 2010 to spur economic growth in the county and to create jobs.

As per an agreement with the River Agency, the company will retain two full-time and create 15 new full-time jobs over the next three years.

Purine Pharma supplies U.S. and international wholesalers, distributors, institutional pharmacies and retail chain store pharmacies with liquid and solid dose over-the-counter medicines and prescription drugs, according to its website.

The New Jersey-based pharmaceutical company had announced in November 2010 is was planning to locate its manufacturing operations in Massena.

Pristine Pharma Corp. said at the time it would produce cough syrup, pain reliever and other liquid medicines under store brand names and its own label, NuMed. The plant may employ up to 100 jobs, Pristine Chief Executive Officer Venkat E. Kakani said in November 2010.

He said approximately 30 percent of those jobs would be chemists, pharmacists and skilled engineers. The rest of the jobs would be in assembly, packaging, warehousing and distribution.

Mr. Kakani said many of the medicines produced are for Canadian store brands, which made locating in Massena ideal. The close proximity to the St. Lawrence Seaway will also allow the company to ship its goods more easily to its large markets in Russia and the Ukraine.

But the projection for 100 employees within 18 months of the plant’s opening never materialized, with the workforce numbers staying in the single digits.

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