Chesapeake Biological posts profit turnaround

June 30, 2000|By Julie Bell | Julie Bell,SUN STAFF

Chesapeake Biological Laboratories, the Baltimore-based drug manufacturing contractor, reported a $2.4 million profit yesterday for the year ending March 31 - a marked financial turnaround for a company that posted a $5.4 million loss last fiscal year .

The profit, Chesapeake's first in three years, came after the company tapped former pharmaceutical industry executive Thomas P. Rice to take over in December 1998 as chief executive officer. At the time, Chesapeake had a new Baltimore plant but faced widening losses and needed more customers.

Within 15 months, Rice had broadened the company's marketing efforts beyond small biotech firms to attract large pharmaceutical companies such as Searle. Chesapeake also expanded its manufacturing capabilities beyond filling vials and now can provide pre-filled syringes, as well as medicines delivered via intravenous bags or cartridges.

As a result, Rice said, Chesapeake has increased its number of customers to about 75 from 50. It did so while increasing revenue 61 percent over last year without adding to its 100 employees. The company reported revenue of $10.8 million, versus $6.7 million a year ago. Earnings per share were 43 cents, compared with a year-ago loss of $1.02 per share.

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