HEALTH

Prestige Brands to acquire Blacksmith Brands for $190 million

BY Michael Johnsen

IRVINGTON, N.Y. Prestige Brands on Monday announced that it has entered into a definitive agreement to acquire 100% of the stock of Blacksmith Brands for $190 million in cash. Blacksmith manages five over-the-counter brands, including Efferdent, Effergrip, PediaCare, Luden’s and NasalCrom.

 

With the addition of these five brands, OTC products in the Prestige portfolio now account for 75% of revenues and an even greater percentage of brand contribution.

 

“Strategic acquisitions in the OTC market are core to our shareholder value creation strategy,” stated Matthew Mannelly, Prestige CEO. "We are strengthening Prestige’s position in key categories with the additions of Efferdent, PediaCare and Luden’s. These three scale brands compete in attractive categories we know well.”

The transaction is subject to customary closing conditions, including clearance under the Hart-Scott Rodino Antitrust Improvements Act of 1976, and is expected to close during fourth quarter 2010.

In June, Blacksmith Brands had voluntarily recalled all lots of its four children’s products in the PediaCare line, which were being manufactured for Blacksmith Brands by McNeil Consumer Healthcare at McNeil’s now-closed Fort Washington, Pa., plant. That recall was not initiated as a result of any consumer reports of adverse events, and no consumer complaints have been received about the safety or purity of the products, the company stated at the time.

 

In line with the announcement of the Blacksmith transaction, Prestige also announced the divestiture of its Cutex line of nail polish removers, the largest remaining product in its personal care segment. The sale to Arch Equity Partners of St. Louis was effective Sept. 1.

 

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American Diabetes Association teams up with HearPO

BY Allison Cerra

PLYMOUTH, Minn. A national strategic partnership between the American Diabetes Association and HearPO will provide additional resources to educate people with diabetes, medical practitioners and the general public about the connection between diabetes and hearing loss.

HearPO, one of the largest distributors of hearing aids and hearing services in the world, is working together with the American Diabetes Association to locate and treat diabetic patients who have not been diagnosed or treated for existing hearing loss. The organizations are offering testing sites and seminars, as well as booklets and other educational supplements to raise awareness about the relationship between diabetes and hearing loss.

 

"We are pleased HearPO is joining with us to spread the word that there is a direct correlation between diabetes and hearing loss," said Nash Childs, American Diabetes Association board chairman. "More specifically, we’d like to educate older adults with diabetes, as this population faces many issues in managing their disease, and through this relationship we’ll be able to provide additional tools and resources."

 

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Study: Blood markers may help determine Type 2 diabetes risk

BY Allison Cerra

DALLAS A new study published in Circulation Research, a journal of the American Heart Association, found that blood levels of some ribonucleic acids — known as microRNAs — vary among those with Type 2 diabetes or those who develop the disease, compared with healthy people.

 

MicroRNA comprises shorter molecular chains than so-called messenger RNA, which takes the genetic information contained within the DNA and allows it to be turned into proteins with various functions, and previously has been linked to numerous diseases, including diabetes.

 

Investigators analyzed microRNAs in blood samples of the Bruneck study — a large population-based survey of heart and other major diseases — and found that after analyzing initial blood-sample screens in 1995, 13 microRNAs found in diabetics had distinct differences than healthy controls’ blood samples. The scientists further analyzed these 13 microRNAs to identify the ones that showed the most variation between diabetics and healthy controls. Study participants underwent follow-up screening in 2000 and 2005. Of note, changes in five microRNAs occurred before the onset of Type 2 diabetes.

"We think that some of these microRNA changes may precede the onset of diabetes," said Manuel Mayr, corresponding author of the study. "Future studies will need to confirm whether these new markers can help to actually target therapies and assess patients."

The full study results can be accessed here.

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