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Released September 8, 2004


HATTIESBURG - Max Draughn, CEO of Cypress Pharmaceutical in Madison, has been named the 2004 Distinguished Entrepreneur by the College of Business and Economic Development at The University of Southern Mississippi.

Draughn, a 1984 graduate of Southern Miss, will be honored with a reception and dinner to be held in conjunction with the college's fall Business Advisory Council meeting Sept. 17 in Hattiesburg. In addition, Draughn will be the featured speaker for the 2004 Distinguished Entrepreneur Lecture hosted by the College of Business and Economic Development in October.

Cypress Pharmaceutical is a specialty pharmaceutical company that develops, markets and distributes generic prescription and over-the-counter pharmaceutical products to the leading national wholesalers, chain drugstores, distributors, and other retail merchandisers. Since its inception, Cypress has earned its reputation as one of the most respected pharmaceutical companies in the United States.

Well-regarded by peers, the company has been a six-time recipient of one of the pharmaceutical industry's highest honors, the Supplier Quality Award from Cardinal Health. Cypress Pharmaceutical also was named the second fastest-growing privately held company in Mississippi by the Mississippi Business Journal in 2003.

In 1998, Draughn expanded the company by founding Hawthorn Pharmaceuticals, a branded division of Cypress. A patient-focused company, Hawthorn has sales representatives throughout the United States. Together, the two companies will generate $90 million to $100 million in revenue this year and have 125 employees nationwide.

A desire to see the world inspired the Petal native to finish college in three years with a degree in political science. Draughn got his first taste of the pharmaceutical industry while working as a sales representative for Forest Laboratories from 1987-1990, and for Wallace Laboratories in 1991. After spending a year as director of sales for Generic Distributors in 1992, Draughn decided to branch out on his own.

In 1993, Draughn's work ethic and intense drive led him to establish Cypress Pharmaceutical, a company which now produces more than 150 generic pharmaceutical products.

The Distinguished Entrepreneur of the Year Award was established in 2000 to recognize individuals who have received national distinction and who have made significant contributions to the field of business. Previous recipients of the award are Bruce Rossmeyer (2003), president of Rossmeyer Family Enterprises; Bill Hudson Jr. (2002), CEO and president of Hudson Salvage Inc.; and David Oreck (2001), chairman of the board and founder of Oreck Corp.


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September 9, 2004 1:19 PM