United Research Laboratories Inc. was begun in 1946 by chemist Albert Roberts, making adrenocorticotropic hormone for doctors to treat patients with arthritis. In the 1980s, Roberts and his brother, Theodore, started a generic-drug arm called Mutual Pharmaceutical Co. Richard H. Roberts joined his father, Albert, in the family business in 1988 and spent his time figuring out which brand-name drugs about to lose patent protection would make good targets for lower-cost generic versions. In 1997, Richard Roberts became chairman, president, and CEO of the company, based in the city's Juniata Park section, as part of the sale of a majority interest to two New York venture-capital firms, Elliott Associates L.P. and Momar Corp. Renamed URL Pharma Inc. in 2008, the company is probably unfamiliar to anyone who doesn't have gout or doesn't treat some of the more than eight million Americans diagnosed with the painful disease. That's because its brand-name Colcrys drug costs far more today than the 9 cents per dose that the longtime remedy, called colchicine, once did. Such success attracted Takeda Pharmaceutical Co. Ltd., Japan's largest drug company, which agreed to buy URL Pharma in April 2012 for $800 million, with more possible, based on certain goals.