Week of June 7, 2010: Company and People Notes: Grifols to Acquire Talecris; Elan's CEO to Stay Until 2012; And More.

Jun 10, 2010
By PharmTech Editors

Company Notes

Albemarle (Baton Rouge, LA), a supplier of fine-chemistry services, is building a kilo laboratory in Louvain la Neuve, Belgium. The facility is expected to be operational by the third quarter of 2010.

Ascenta Therapeutics (Malvern, PA), a biopharmaceutical company, signed an agreement with sanofi-aventis (Paris) focused on several early-stage agents being investigated for their potential to restore tumor cell apoptosis (programmed cell death). Ascenta will receive an upfront payment, and milestone payments that could reach a total of $398 million, plus royalties on product sales.

Grifols (Barcelona) a producer of plasma protein therapies, agreed to acquire Talecris (Research Triangle Park, NC), a biotherapeutics products company, for $3.4 billion. The transaction will be a combination of cash and newly issued Grifols non-voting shares.

Hospira (Lake Forest, IL), a specialty pharmaceutical and medication delivery company, signed a pact with specialty pharmaceutical company Durect (Cupertino, CA) to develop and market Durect's Posidur (SABER-bupivacaine) a long-acting version of the anesthetic bupivacaine currently in Phase III clinical trials. Hospira will make an upfront payment of $27.5 million, potentially $185 million in milestone payments, plus royalties on product sales. Phase III trials are expected to be completed in 2011.

Immunovaccine (Halifax, Canada), a developer of vaccine-delivery technology, signed a collaborative research agreement with Vaxil BioTherapeutics (Nes-Ziona, Israel), a developer of vaccines, focused on Vaxil’s cancer antigens in Immunovaccine’s DepoVax vaccine enhancement platform.

Pharmalucence (Bedford, MA), a producer of radiopharmaceuticals, will construct a 70,000-ft2 contract manufacturing facility and new corporate headquarters in Billerica, Massachusetts. The company expects to create 25 to 30 new jobs as a result of this expansion and that the facility will be operational in 2012.

QPharma (Morristown, NJ), a provider of regulatory and compliance solutions, launched its Engineering Services group. The group will provide services designed to aid in implementing and maintaining systems, processes, and facilities.

Royal Philips Electronics (Eindhoven, The Netherlands) signed a pact with RXi Pharmaceuticals (Worcester, MA), a biopharmaceutical company, to research combining proprietary technologies from both companies for the targeted delivery of experimental therapeutics based on RNA interference (RNAi). The joint research program between Philips and RXi will focus on RNAi drug delivery by exploring, in preclinical studies, using RXi's sd-rxRNA (self-delivering rxRNA) in conjunction with Philips's ultrasound technology to achieve the targeted delivery and monitoring of RNAi-based compounds in cells.

sanofi-aventis (Paris) signed a research agreement with the Charité University of Berlin. The public-private partnership is the first of this kind in Germany, according to a company press release. In a separate announcement, sanofi said it formed an alliance with the Massachusetts Institute of Technology Center for Biomedical Innovation (Cambridge, MA), which will be known as the sanofi-aventis Biomedical Innovation Program (SABIP).

TransTech Pharma (High Point, NC), a pharmaceutical company, and Forest Laboratories (New York) entered into a drug-development deal for small-molecule compounds discovered and developed by TransTech for up to $1.105 billion. These compounds are functionally liver-selective glucokinase activators (GKAs), designed for the treatment of diabetes. Under the agreement, Forest will pay an upfront license fee of $50 million. TransTech could receive up to $1.105 billion in upfront and milestone payments for the development and commercialization of the GKA compounds, plus royalty payments.

VaxGen (South San Francisco, CA), a biopharmaceutical company, agreed to acquire diaDexus (South San Francisco, CA), a privately held diagnostics company, in a stock-for-stock merger. Upon the closing of the transaction, diaDexus will become a wholly owned subsidiary of VaxGen. The officers of the combined company will be the current officers of diaDexus, and the combined company will be renamed diaDexus. The companies anticipate that the merger will close in the third quarter of 2010.

People notes

Biotechnology company Biogen Idec (Cambridge, MA) is in the final stages of selecting a new CEO and expects to announce the selection soon. James C. Mullen, president, CEO, and director, retired June 8, 2010. The company also announced that Chief Operating Officer Robert A. Hamm will retire on Dec. 31, 2010.  In addition, John G. Cox was promoted to the new position of executive vice-president of pharmaceutical operations and technology.

Kelly Martin will remain CEO and director of Elan (Dublin) through May 1, 2012. It is expected that Martin will then serve as executive advisor to the board of directors through Jan. 31, 2013.

Par Pharmaceutical (Woodcliff Lake, NJ) announced the resignation of Lawrence A. Kenyon, executive vice-president and chief financial officer, effective June 30, 2010. Michael A. Tropiano, Par's treasurer, will replace Kenyon.

ProChon Biotech (Woburn, MA), a biotechnology company focused on tissue regeneration, appointed Brian Callahan executive vice-president of regulatory and quality affairs. Callahan will coordinate with regulatory authorities on the company’s clinical trial programs and will be responsible for ensuring quality compliance for its internal and outsourced operations.

Talecris Biotherapeutics (Research Triangle Park, NC) promoted John R. Perkins to the position of executive vice-president of global commercial operations. Perkins will be responsible for the global commercial business, including portfolio management, sales, and marketing.

Specialty pharmaceutical company ULURU’s (Addison, TX) President and CEO Renaat Van den Hooff resigned. Kerry P. Gray, chairman of the company's board of directors, has been appointed by the board to serve as the company's president and CEO.

YM BioSciences (Mississauga, Canada), a life sciences product development company, appointed Nick Glover to the newly created position of president and CEO. Glover was previously the president and CEO of Viventia Biotech (Mississauga, Canada), a biopharmaceutical company.