At the annual shareholders meeting of Nova Pharmaceutical Corp. yesterday, some stockholders wanted to know if the 9-year-old company will ever turn a profit.
Nova's response could be paraphrased in three words: Please be patient.
The name of Nova's game is research and development. The Baltimore company is working to bring four products at different stages of development to the marketplace. Executives hope to gain Food and Drug Administration approval for all of them by 1994.
In the meantime, profits from existing products will continue to be plowed back into testing, according to Nova's vice president of administration, Michael J. Demchuk.
"We are unprofitable now because we are investing heavily in research and development for future product generation," Mr. Demchuk said after yesterday's meeting at the Marriott Inner Harbor. "We've always been a research and development company. The process itself isn't something that takes place overnight."
The Gliadel implant is one product that may generate a significant revenue stream, he said. A polymer wafer designed to be implanted in the brain, the device will release a chemical to combat brain tumors.
Nova is also working to develop a chemotherapy drug that will be used against bone marrow cancer, a pharmaceutical to combat asthma and others targeting central nervous system problems.
At least one shareholder, Jerry Wittik, said he was willing to wait while Nova stays the course.
"They have a lot of good research in the works," he said. "But the difference between having a lot of good research in the works and having it work out are two different things.
"I'm willing to be patient," he said. "I bought the stock for the future, not to trade it next month."