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FDA approves Wockhardt hypertension drug

BY Alaric DeArment

PARSIPPANY, N.J. — The Food and Drug Administration has approved a generic drug for high blood pressure made by Wockhardt, the Indian drug maker said.

Wockhardt announced the approval of felodipine extended-release tablets in the 2.5 mg, 5 mg and 10 mg strengths. The drug is a generic version of AstraZeneca’s Plendil, and Wockhardt said it would launch the drug immediately.

Various versions of the drug have a market presence of more than $66 million, according to IMS Health.


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Chicken Soup for the Soul to launch comfort food line

BY Rebecca Haughey

Chicken Soup for the Soul — the well-known book publisher and leader in life improvement, inspiration and wellness — will launch a national line of nutritious, quality comfort foods that will be available in supermarkets and food retailers in early 2013.

Inspired by real people and their stories about food, family and feelings, Chicken Soup for the Soul Foods will fittingly begin its line with soups and expand in 2013 and 2014 to include more than 100 comfort food products in various categories. The food items in the line will be designed with the health-conscious consumer in mind and will also offer convenient ways to shorten meal prep time.

“Meal times play such an important role in living a well-balanced life that our readers and fans have asked us for years to launch a food line. By creating a line of delicious comfort foods that warm the heart and nourish the soul, we are providing yet another way that we can always be there to care for and support our community,” said Chicken Soup for the Soul CEO Bill Rouhana.

To launch the new line, Chicken Soup for the Soul will release seven soups, including the iconic Chicken Noodle Soup, Chicken and Rice, Creamy Tomato and more. The initial soups will be available in 15 oz and 24 oz reusable and recyclable traditional glass mason jars.

Chicken Soup for the Soul Foods is a partnership of Chicken Soup for the Soul Publishing and Daymon Worldwide, a full-service global retail and branding and sourcing company that works directly with suppliers and retailers.

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Kraft to sell majority stake in natural-food brand to Brynwood Partners

BY Melissa Valliant

Confectionary, food and beverage conglomerate Kraft Foods is selling part of its natural food products line, Back to Nature, to private-equity firm Brynwood Partners.

While Kraft has sold two other brands to Brynwood, it’s keeping a minority stake — reported to be between a quarter and a half, according to Dow Jones— in the Back to Nature line, which currently includes crackers, cookies, granola and trail mixes that contain less-processed ingredients.

Brynwood Partners focuses on acquiring smaller, overlooked brands from large corporations, and has acquired three dozen from various corporate sellers, including two other brands from Kraft. Though the financial terms of the Back to Nature deal were not disclosed, Brynwood Partners typically acquires brands for less than $125 million.

Kraft will have board representation in the joint venture held between the two companies, but Brynwood will manage everyday affairs.

"Back to Nature does not have the kind of scale for us that will get it the resources that could get it the growth that it should," Kraft spokesman Michael Mitchell said.

Brynwood senior managing partner Henk Hartong III plans to bring more new products and more focused marketing to Back to Nature, seeing potential for expansion into salty snacks and frozen foods.

Back to Nature’s sales are between $50 million and $75 million a year, but its sales of cookies, crackers and trail mix have seen a 20% annual boost over the past three years, Mitchell said.

Once Kraft spins off its North American grocery business, Kraft Foods Group, on Oct. 1, its Back to Nature stake will become part of Kraft’s global snacks company Mondelez International. Kraft Foods Group will also be selling the Back to Nature macaroni and cheese product under a licensing deal.

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