Week Of Feb. 15, 2010: Company And People Notes: Abbott Completes Acquisition Of Solvay; Merck Names President Of Consumer Healthcare; And More.

Feb 18, 2010
By PharmTech Editors

Company Notes

Abbott Laboratories (Abbott Park, IL) completed its acquisition of Solvay Pharmaceuticals (Belgium) for EUR $4.5 billion ($6.2 billion). Abbott expects the acquisition to add approximately $2.9 billion to the company’s 2010 total sales and about $500 million to Abbott's annual R&D investment.
 
Albemarle (Baton Rouge, LA), a provider of custom-manufacturing services, will partner with PharmaCore (High Point, NC) to provide manufacturing for customers needing high-volume capacity. PharmaCore provides organic synthesis.
  
The US Food and Drug Administration approved the Amgen (Thousand Oaks, CA) and Centocor Ortho Biotech Products (Horsham PA) risk evaluation and mitigation strategy for erythropoiesis-stimulating agents (ESAs), which include Aranesp (darbepoetin alfa), EPOGEN (epoetin alfa) and PROCRIT (epoetin alfa). The drugs are used to treat patients with breast, non-small cell lung, head, neck, lymphoid, and cervical cancers.
 
AstraZeneca (London) and drug-development company Rigel Pharmaceuticals (South San Francisco, CA) will collaborate on the global development and marketing of fostamatinib disodium (R788), Rigel’s late-stage investigational product for rheumatoid arthritis (RA) and additional indications. Fostamatinib disodium is the furthest developed oral-spleen tyrosine kinase inhibitor being evaluated for RA. AstraZeneca will make an upfront payment to Rigel of $100 million. Rigel could receive with an additional $345 million from AstraZeneca if specified development, regulatory, and sales milestones are reached.
  
Materials-characterization expert Malvern Instruments (Malvern Worcestershire UK) opened a third center of excellence in Delhi, India. The new center, designed to serve customers in the north and northeast regions of India, houses laboratories equipped with Malvern systems and staffed by a full-time applications team that will provide demonstrations, training, applications and technical support, and sample analysis.
 
Novartis (Basel) gained exclusive rights to develop and market Debio 025 (alisporivir), a potential first-in-class antiviral agent in Phase IIb development for the treatment of hepatitis C. Debio 025, the first in a new class of drugs called cyclophilin inhibitors, has been licensed from Debiopharm Group (Lausanne, Switzerland), an independent biopharmaceuticals company.
 
Regis Technologies (Morton Grove, IL), a provider of current good manufacturing practice and non-good manufacturing practice synthesis and separations services for active pharmaceutical ingredients and intermediates, received FDA approval to manufacture 4-Aminopyridine, the active ingredient in Ampyra.  FDA has approved Ampryra as a treatment to improve walking in patients with multiple sclerosis.

Roche (Basel) announced that results from the first five Phase III studies confirm Roche’s weekly taspoglutide has a positive effect on reducing blood glucose compared with other diabetes treatment options. Roche’s taspoglutide is the first weekly human GLP-1 analogue in late-stage development.
 
sanofi-aventis (Paris) completed its tender offer for all outstanding shares of common stock of Chattem (Chattanooga TN), which will become a wholly owned subsidiary of sanofi-aventis. The company hopes the transaction will strengthen its presence in the US healthcare market.
 
Generic-drug company Teva Pharmaceutical Industries (Petach Tikva, Israel) settled a patent dispute with Novartis (Basel) over a herpes treatment. In 2007, Teva launched a generic version of the Novartis’ drug famvir. Under the terms of the settlement, Teva will make a one-time payment to Novartis and provide royalties from US sales.
  
People notes

Merck & Co. (Whitehouse Station, NJ) appointed Bridgette P. Heller executive vice-president and president, consumer healthcare. Heller will report to Richard T. Clark, Merck’s chairman, president and chief executive officer.

NextPharma Technologies (Surrey, UK) appointed Ronald Collins interim general manager and Alan Sanders director of finance of its San Diego, California facility. Bruce Johnson was named director of operations; and Mary Richardson was named director of quality.