SAN DIEGO, March 31 -- Mera Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (OTC Bulletin Board: MRPI) announced today that Albertson's, Inc., the nation's second largest grocery chain, will carry AstaFactor(R), the Company's astaxanthin nutritional supplement, in approximately 1200 of Albertsons' Sav-On and Osco drugstores. The initial order has been shipped, and the product will be on the shelves in mid-April.
Richard D. Propper, MD, Mera's chief executive officer, stated that "We have been working with Albertsons for several months now. Their product acceptance process is a long and careful one, and their decision to carry AstaFactor(R) is a strong endorsement of the product from an industry leader. Data show that AstaFactor(R) has the ability to promote health in a number of ways, from improving joint health and reducing inflammation to acting as a powerful anti-oxidant, thought by many to slow aging and reduce the risk of a number of diseases or conditions. Our plan is to make AstaFactor(R) the next high-value, high-volume nutraceutical product.
"The growing revenue base from AstaFactor(R) sales, coupled with recently implemented cost reductions, should enable us to become cash flow break even by calendar year-end, positioning Mera to achieve profitability in calendar 2004."
Jeff Primes, President of Mera's Nutraceutical Division, sees "the placement of AstaFactor(R) in Albertsons as an important step forward in accomplishing the mass retail, food and drug distribution prong of Mera's sales strategy. Adding Albertsons to Longs Drugs, which is already selling AstaFactor(R) in the Western U.S., will significantly improve the efficiency of our advertising and promotion expenditures. We have generated strong interest with a new ad campaign supporting AstaFactor(R) sales in Mays and Med X drug store chains in Oklahoma, and we expect that interest to carry over into the Albertsons and Longs markets, where advertising gets underway in April.
"The acceptance of AstaFactor(R) in our other distribution channels is also increasing. There has been a dramatic rise in the number of companies who are interested in acquiring nutraceutical grade astaxanthin from us to formulate with other ingredients. As a result of the superior product quality that we achieve using our patented technology, we anticipate solid margins on this business as well."
Mera Pharmaceuticals, Inc., based in Kona, Hawaii, and Solana Beach, California, is focused on identifying and producing valuable products from natural sources. Mera's patented technology and proprietary processes give it a significant advantage in exploiting the rich, untapped resource of microbial aquatic plants, long recognized for their potential medical and nutritional value, but not accessible through traditional means. Mera's first nutraceutical product, the AstaFactor(R), is a concentrated source of natural astaxanthin, found in a number of fish and seafood species, that is proven to be an extremely powerful antioxidant and an effective anti-inflammatory.
This press release contains forward-looking statements characterized by the use of words such as "believe," "expect," "anticipate," "feel" and similar expressions. Actual results might differ materially from those projected in, expressed in or implied by the forward-looking statements. The kinds of risks and uncertainties that could affect the future operating results of Mera include, without limitation: (i) the ability to attract new business for its existing products; (ii) the ability to identify new products and bring them to market; (iii) the ability to identify promising pharmaceutical candidates and, if they are identified, the ability to have them successfully complete the clinical trial process; (iv) the sensitivity of Mera to general economic conditions; (v) the inability to attract the additional investment needed to plans regarding the drug discovery and development business. Additional information concerning risk factors that could cause actual results to differ materially from those described in forward looking statements can be found in Mera's SEC filings, including its Annual Report on Form 10-KSB and other periodic reports that it files under the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, as amended.