Ranks high both in wealth and phi­lan­thropy

The Canadian Jewish News (Montreal) - - News - — MYRON LOVE

Bernard (Barry) Sher­man, born in 1942, par­layed an in­vest­ment in an un­cle’s phar­ma­ceu­ti­cal com­pany 50 years ago into an in­ter­na­tional phar­ma­ceu­ti­cal man­u­fac­tur­ing gi­ant, which has earned the Toron­to­nian fifth place in Cana­dian Busi­ness mag­a­zine’s 2016 rank­ing of Canada’s wealth­i­est in­di­vid­u­als.

Sher­man, the CEO and chair­man of Apo­tex, the big­gest phar­ma­ceu­ti­cal com­pany in Canada, showed prom­ise at an early age. At 16, he was the youngest stu­dent to join the en­gi­neer­ing sci­ence pro­gram at Univer­sity of Toronto. He re­ceived high­est hon­ours in his en­gi­neer­ing sci­ence grad­u­a­tion, and the Gover­nor Gen­eral’s award for his the­sis. He later earned his doc­toral de­gree at MIT.

While study­ing, Sher­man used to work for Louis Lloyd Win­ter, his un­cle, at Em­pire Labs, Canada’s largest wholly owned phar­ma­ceu­ti­cal com­pany at that time. When his un­cle would travel, Sher­man of­ten helped watch over the op­er­a­tions. In the sum­mer of 1967, di­rectly af­ter com­plet­ing his PH.D. in as­tro­physics, Sher­man pur­chased the Em­pire Group of Com­pa­nies from the es­tate of Louis and Bev­er­ley Win­ter, who had both died in 1965.

In 1972, Sher­man sold out Em­pire, and started Apo­tex. To­day, it is one of the top 15 generic phar­ma­ceu­ti­cal com­pa­nies in the world. The com­pany is re­spon­si­ble for sell­ing 89 mil­lion pre­scrip­tion drugs ev­ery year across 115 coun­tries world­wide. The com­pany em­ploys more than 10,000 peo­ple, man­u­fac­tures more than 300 generic drugs, and is in the process of de­vel­op­ing hun­dreds more.

Sher­man also be­came in­volved in nu­traceu­ti­cal man­u­fac­tur­ing and other busi­nesses, found­ing NION (Na­tional In­sti­tute of Nu­tri­tion), which he later sold.

On July 18, 2008, Teva Phar­ma­ceu­ti­cal In­dus­tries, one of the world’s largest phar­ma­ceu­ti­cal com­pa­nies, an­nounced its pro­posed ac­qui­si­tion of Barr Phar­ma­ceu­ti­cals, Inc. – in which Sher­man was also a share­holder – for US $7.46 bil­lion plus the as­sump­tion of net debt of ap­prox­i­mately $1.5 bil­lion.

Over the years, Sher­man has demon­strated that com­mu­nity is as im­por­tant to him as suc­cess in busi­ness. He has been a com­mu­nity leader and shared his wealth gen­er­ously with the com­mu­nity. He is a ma­jor con­trib­u­tor to Jewish or­ga­ni­za­tions, in­clud­ing the UJA – to which he has do­nated a recorded amount of $50 mil­lion – and the Joint Dis­tri­bu­tion Com­mit­tee.

He and his wife, Honey, have do­nated mil­lions to med­i­cal re­search and health-care fa­cil­i­ties, in­clud­ing an im­por­tant ad­di­tion to Bay­crest Health Sciences, and com­mu­nity cen­tres in Toronto and else­where.

Sher­man also gives through his com­pany, Apo­tex, and the Apo­tex Foun­da­tion. “One of our ma­jor com­mu­nity con­tri­bu­tions are to the United Way,” Sher­man states on the Apo­tex web­site. “We are proud to be rec­og­nized as the No. 1 phar­ma­ceu­ti­cal com­pany in Canada for to­tal cor­po­rate do­na­tions, be­ing one of the few com­pa­nies in the coun­try to raise over $1 mil­lion.”

The Apo­tex Foun­da­tion is a pri­vately held char­i­ta­ble or­ga­ni­za­tion, which has do­nated more than $50 mil­lion in medicines over the last 10 years. Crit­i­cal medicines have been shipped to ev­ery dis­as­ter zone around the globe to pro­vide as­sis­tance to hu­mans in need.

“Our spe­cific pri­or­ity at Apo­tex is to work col­lab­o­ra­tively with mem­bers of the phar­macy pro­fes­sion and to pro­vide fi­nan­cial sup­port for a wide va­ri­ety of pro­fes­sional pro­grams and re­search ini­tia­tives on both na­tional and re­gional lev­els,” Sher­man states on the web­site. “Ul­ti­mately, these ac­tiv­i­ties will ben­e­fit not only the pa­tient but also the phar­ma­cist in the hospi­tal, com­mu­nity or univer­sity en­vi­ron­ments.”

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