PharmaKinetics Laboratories Inc., struggling to avoid bankruptcy, said yesterday it had found a buyer for its North American operations.
The company, which has been losing money for months, said it hoped that the move would be enough to salvage the 23-year-old Baltimore-based biotechnology company.
If the proposed sale of PharmaKinetics' 150-worker domestic operations to Applied Bioscience International Inc. goes through, PharmaKinetics will be left with its West German subsidiary, International Bio Research, and potential licensing fee income on products awaiting approval from the Food and Drug Administration.
The domestic operation, which includes a laboratory where employees determine from blood samples how fast drugs are being absorbed into the body, will be sold for up to $14.8 million, the company said.
Applied Bioscience, based in East Millstone, N.J., has signed a letter of intent to pay $4.8 million right away, assume some debt and may make payments of $2 million a year for up to five years.
The sale must be approved by the boards of directors of both companies and by the shareholders of PharmaKinetics.
In disposing of the division that serves pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies seeking government approval for new drugs, PharmaKinetics has eliminated the division that has caused the company its most severe troubles.
Last summer, the federal government began investigating charges that PharmaKinetics may have been involved in a scheme to speed generic drugs' approval by switching the unapproved generics with already approved brand-name drugs in tested samples. The FDA is still investigating some irregularities, sources said.
The controversy cost PharmaKinetics some of its biggest customers, which threw the company into financial trouble.
In a related matter, PharmaKinetics announced yesterday that it lost $3,768,483, or 40 cents a share, in its 1990 fiscal year, which ended June 30. In 1989, PharmaKinetics earned $2,784,626, or 30 cents a share.
Most of the loss came in the most recent quarter, the company said.
PharmaKinetics lost $3,078,750, or 33 cents a share, in its final fiscal quarter this year.
The company earned $808,707, or 9 cents a share, for the comparable three months ending June 30, 1989.
But the company said it took a write-down of $2,500,252 in the fourth quarter to pay for restructuring costs.
Both announcements came after the close of stock trading. In NASDAQ trading yesterday, PharmaKinetics closed at 50 cents, down 12.5 cents. Applied Bioscience closed up 75 cents at $31.