Since appearing on last year’s Profit Track 100, Kent Pharmaceuticals has bought Polyfarma, a company which owns 100 of its own licences to make and distribute drugs across Europe. The acquisition helped Kent Pharmaceuticals to increase imports from Europe and so benefit from the strong pound. This move, together with increasing sales, has seen profits increase 70% a year, from £1.5m in 1997 to £7.5m in 2000, when sales reached £43.5m. The company was set up by Denis O’Neill and Michael Overy in 1986 to distribute drugs to wholesalers, hospitals and the Ministry of Defence. But the company later expanded into the over-the-counter market with the launch of its Early Bird pregnancy test kits. These were a success and two further diagnostic products were launched in 1997 under the name Health Check. In 1992, Kent Pharmaceuticals also bought Athlon Laboratories in Ireland, which allowed it to manufacture and supply a range of its own penicillin products.
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