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The ports in Montreal are easy access for my customers so they save a lot of money.

Medicine maker moves to Massena

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Cough syrup, pain relievers, and nasal sprays are going to bring some relief to Massena's struggling economy. A maker of over-the-counter liquid medicines plans to begin manufacturing in a vacant plant in February. David Sommerstein reports the company's CEO says proximity to Canada was key, and he is pursuing an expansion plan that could employ more than 100 people.

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David Sommerstein
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Pristine Pharma Corporation is a relatively new company.  It’s made medicines in New Jersey and Middletown, New York for a year and a half.  It sells them as store-brand labels in Walgreens, CVS, and Kinneys and exports them under the NuMed label to countries all over the world.

CEO Venkat Kakani says Massena came on his radar when Pristine Pharma became a subsidiary of Michelex Corporation, which once employed 200 people there.  Kakani says he visited and fell in love.

When we travel from a busy metropolitan area in New York City and suburbs of New Jersey, the pureness of the water that is available in Massena, it’s a nice place to be around.

Kakani says he sells a lot of medicines to Canada and to Russia and the Ukraine, so Massena made strategic sense.

The ports in Montreal are easy access for my customers so they save a lot of money.

Kakani says he plans to begin production at the old Michele Audio plant with a staff of 25 people.  He says he expects 70 to 80 percent of those to be local hires.

Massena has been starving for new jobs.  General Motors laid off hundreds of people when it shut down late last year.  More than a hundred more people have been idled by an extended layoff at Alcoa.

Pristine Pharma CEO Venkat Kakani says he wants to expand and raise employment to 100 people, but he would need local and state help to do it.  He’s been talking with the St. Lawrence County Industrial Development Agency.  IDA director Ray Fountain described the talks as “moving forward” but “preliminary”.

Pristine Pharma also plans to apply for low cost power from the new St. Lawrence River Valley Redevelopment Agency.  Kakani says he plans to submit the application soon.

For North Country Public Radio, I’m David Sommerstein.

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