ROUSES POINT - The creation of a new pharmaceutical business that will operate in the village of Rouses Point is something politicians and community leaders are envisioning as another win for the North Country.
During a press conference at the Plattsburgh-North Country Chamber of Commerce Feb. 18, it was announced newly-formed Rouses Point Pharmaceuticals has entered a manufacturing agreement with Akrimax Pharmaceuticals, operating out of its Maple Street facility. The new company recently began shipping its first product, Propranolol-ER, a generic drug described as a "non-selective beta-blocker mainly used in the treatment of hypertension."
Benjamin E. Maizel, president and chief executive officer of Rouses Point Pharmaceuticals, said the reception the company in the marketplace "has been great." Maizel added he anticipates first-year sales will be in excess of $20 million, with the expectation of increasing the number of drugs it will produce through Akrimax tenfold.
"We have goals for a lot more products in the coming years," he said.
Rouses Point Pharmaceuticals, it was described, is the creation of Akrimax founders Joseph J. Krivulka and Leonard L. Mazur, who were first introduced to the North Country in January 2008. The pharmaceutical manufacturing company made headlines when it struck an agreement with Wyeth Pharmaceuticals to take over operation of its Rouses Point manufacturing facility by 2010.
Krivulka credited the support of the community, the company's employees, and politicians like U.S. Sen. Charles E. Schumer, D- N.Y., who was on-hand for the announcement, for making Akrimax successful in its growth. Already, there are more than 30 projects in the works for Akrimax, thanks to that support and the cooperation the company has seen with Wyeth, he added.
"It is this kind of help from the North Country and from the people we have internally that has helped us actually move ahead of our schedule transitioning into the plant," said Krivulka.
Schumer likened the rebirth of the Rouses Point manufacturing facility to that of the former Plattsburgh Air Force Base. Though the base closed in 1995, it has seen successful redevelopment with private businesses and government agencies through the continued efforts of individuals and organizations.
"Change occurs, but if you're smart, as people in the North Country have been, you go with the change and sometimes it ends up being even better," said Schumer. "That's what happened in Plattsburgh and, God willing, will happen in Rouses Point."
"This senator knows, I think better than many of his colleagues, that the best going forward isn't just government action, it's continuing to work with the private sector. That's where property really needs to be stimulated," said chamber of commerce president Garry F. Douglas. "That's where job growth and prosperity will return."
Rouses Point Village Mayor George A. Rivers said he's optimistic of what the new business will mean for the village.
"I think it's going to mean a long-standing relationship that will help keep our tax rate down," he said. "The restaurants will do fine, stores will do fine. Everybody benefits, including the village."