HEALTH

Little Colds Honey Elixir hits market

BY Michael Johnsen

IRVINGTON, N.Y. — Prestige Brands last month announced the introduction of Little Colds Honey Elixir, a nonmedicated treatment for cough and sore throat, as the newest addition to the Little Remedies line.

“The incidence of cough is already higher this year than last [year] among children [under 5 years of age], according to the Fan Flu data reports in November,” stated Jean Boyko, SVP science and technology at Prestige.

The Little Remedies line now offers four products for the treatment of cough and cold symptoms in children ages 4 years and younger. In addition to the new honey elixir, these include Little Colds Safety Pops for sore throat irritation, Little Noses Saline for nasal congestion and Little Fevers for fever and pain relief.

Little Colds Honey Elixir provides the benefits of natural honey to children between the ages of 1 year and 4 years, the company stated.

A teaspoon is recommended every two to four hours using the measuring cup provided with the product. Little Colds Honey Elixir also may be used by children older than 4 years in a dosage of 2 tsp.

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Novartis positions itself as eye care giant with Alcon merger

BY Michael Johnsen

BASEL, Switzerland — Novartis on Wednesday announced that its merger agreement with Alcon has been settled to the tune of $12.9 billion. The new $8.7 billion Alcon eye care division, which includes CIBA Vision and selected ophthalmic medicines, will be led by current Alcon president and CEO Kevin Buehler.

Shares of Novartis were up 7.6% to more than $60 in early morning trading.

"The full merger is the logical conclusion of our initial strategic investment in Alcon,” stated Daniel Vasella, Novartis chairman.

“The growth synergies here are significant, as Alcon will be the eye care development engine for our best-in-class research organization, and will leverage the Novartis market access capabilities [outside the United States]," added Joseph Jimenez, CEO of Novartis.

Full ownership of Alcon provides Novartis with the opportunity to establish a fifth growth platform as part of its healthcare portfolio, the Swiss drug developer noted. The eye care sector offers further growth opportunities underpinned by the increasing unmet needs of emerging markets and an aging population.

The Alcon and Novartis eye care portfolios address a broad range of these unmet needs, the company stated. The companies have complementary pharmaceutical portfolios for diseases in the front and back areas of the eye, as well as strong global brands in lens care. Alcon is a global leader in ophthalmic surgical products, while Novartis has a broad contact lens portfolio and advanced eye care technologies, as well as an early pipeline of innovative ophthalmic medicines.

The merger currently is expected to be completed during the first half of 2011 and is conditional on clearance of a registration statement by the Securities and Exchange Commission, two-thirds approval by the shareholders of each of Novartis and Alcon voting at their respective meetings and other customary closing conditions.

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Roark Capital completes acquisition of Atkins brand

BY Michael Johnsen

ATLANTA — Private equity firm Roark Capital Group last week closed the deal on its acquisition of Atkins Nutritionals, a weight-control and nutrition brand. Atkins’ management team, led by CEO Monty Sharma — who invested alongside Roark Capital in the transaction — will remain with the business.

Terms of the transaction were not disclosed.

"We are very excited to partner with Monty Sharma and his team to help support the continued growth of the Atkins brand," stated Ezra Field, managing director of Roark. "Atkins is consistent with our strategy of investing in leading consumer businesses with strong brands, differentiated market positions and identifiable growth opportunities.”

Roark owns such franchises as Seattle’s Best Coffee, Auntie Anne’s and Carvel.

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