Week of Feb. 28, 2011: Company and People Notes: Pfizer Completes King Acquisition; ViiV Healthcare Names Chairman; and More. - Pharmaceutical Technology

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Week of Feb. 28, 2011: Company and People Notes: Pfizer Completes King Acquisition; ViiV Healthcare Names Chairman; and More.

ePT--the Electronic Newsletter of Pharmaceutical Technology

Company Notes

Almac added packaging, storage, and distribution capabilities for Schedule I–V controlled substances to its new North American headquarters facility in Souderton, Pennsylvania.

Aphena Pharma Solutions was formed from the merger of four pharmaceutical contract packaging and repackaging companies: Celeste Contract Packaging, PrePak Systems, TestPak, and Integrated Pharmaceutical Packaging. Aphena Pharma Solutions is headquartered in Cookeville, Tennessee.

BASF and Sigma-Aldrich signed a global distribution agreement for a number of BASF’s pharmaceutical excipients. Sigma-Aldrich will repackage the products into small pack sizes, making them available for academic-oriented research and development segments, such as universities and laboratories.

Carbogen Amcis, a Switzerland-based contract manufacturing organization, will restructure its operations in Bubendorf, Aarau, and Hunzenschwil. Under the restructuring plan, the Aarau site will focus more strongly on development and the Hunzenschwil site on the pilot production of early-phase projects. Large-volume production and the manufacturing of highly active agents will continue at the Bubendorf site. The company will reduce headcount by 60 employees.

Centocor Ortho Biotech, a subsidiary of Johnson & Johnson, received a decision from the Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit that overturned a 2009 federal court jury verdict that awarded the company $1.8 billion after finding Abbott Laboratories liable for patent infringement.
A panel of the court ruled that the patent relating to Centocor anti-tumor necrosis factor (TNF) -alpha rheumatoid arthritis treatments was invalid. The original verdict was returned in June 2009 by a US District Court jury in Marshall, Texas. The patent is co-owned by New York University and Centocor, the exclusive licensee.

Specialty chemical company Clariant has established a global medical and pharmaceutical segment within its Masterbatches Business Unit that will manage the development, production, marketing and technical support for Clariant’s MEVOPUR color masterbatches and custom performance compounds, which are manufactured exclusively for medical and pharmaceutical applications. The group will be led by Stephen Duckworth, head of the global market segment medical and pharmaceutical.

Daiichi Sankyo agreed to acquire Plexxikon, a pharmaceutical company with a late-stage oncology product, PLX4032, for $805 million. With the acquisition, Daiichi Sankyo obtains certain copromotion rights in the United States for PLX4032, which is being jointly developed by Plexxikon and Roche for the treatment of late-stage melanoma.

Biotechnology companies Elan and Celgene settled the patent dispute over the breast-cancer treatment Abraxane (paclitaxel injection). Elan initiated legal action in 2006 against Abraxis, and Abraxis was acquired by Celgene in October, 2010. Under the patent settlement and license agreement, Celgene will pay Elan a one-time fee of $78 million. Elan will not receive any additional payments for sales of Abraxane, or any other nab(R)-Paclitaxel product in the United States or globally. Celgene will acquire a fully paid up, exclusive, worldwide license to select Elan US and foreign patents for Abraxane.

Novavax agreed to license its proprietary recombinant virus-like-particle (VLP) vaccine technology to LG Life Sciences (LGLS). Under the agreement, LGLS receives an exclusive license to manufacture, develop, and commercialize influenza vaccines using Novavax’s recombinant VLP technology in South Korea. LGLS also receives a nonexclusive license to manufacture, develop, and commercialize influenza VLP vaccines in certain other countries.

Novavax was awarded a contract valued at up to $179 million by the Office of Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority within the Office of the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response at the US Department of Health and Human Services for the clinical and manufacturing development of recombinant vaccines for the prevention of seasonal and pandemic influenza. The contract includes $97 million in a three-year base period and $82 million in a two-year option period.

PDL BioPharma announced that the Technical Board of Appeal of the European Patent Office (EPO) has cancelled its hearing in which three appellants sought to have a 2007 decision upholding PDL's European Patent No. 0 451 216B overturned and the patent revoked. The effect of the termination of the opposition appeal proceeding is that the 2007 EPO decision upholding the claims of PDL's patent as valid will become the final decision of the EPO.

Pfizer completed its acquisition of King Pharmaceuticals, and King is now a wholly owned subsidiary of Pfizer. The companies began joint operations on Mar. 1, 2011.

Pilgrim Software, a provider of enterprise risk, compliance and quality management software solutions, formed an alliance with QPharma, a provider of regulatory and compliance services, to offer software for validation services. The collaboration makes QPharma’s validation, quality, and regulatory compliance consulting services available to Pilgrim’s customers in collaboration with Pilgrim’s SmartSolve suite of products.

Contract research organization Quintiles agreed to make a minority 10% investment of approximately $30 million to start a new joint venture company with the Samsung Group in the first half of 2011 to provide biopharmaceutical contract manufacturing services in South Korea. Samsung will own the remaining 90% of the joint venture company. The joint venture marks Samsung’s entry into the biopharmaceutical market.

sanofi aventis completed the acquisition of BMP Sunstone, a specialty pharmaceutical company with a portfolio of pharmaceutical and healthcare products in China. Stockholders approved the merger agreement that had been previously amended in November 2010.

Contract manufacturing organization SCM Pharma expanded its high-potency capabilities following a £500,000 ($812,000) investment at its UK-based facility. The expansion includes 500-ft2 cleanroom dedicated to making potent products, and a production technique designed to handle continuous throughput via isolators to boost its aseptic processing capacity.

Thermo Fisher Scientific is planning a new manufacturing facility in China within the Suzhou Science and Technology Town, part of the company's strategy to expand its presence in the Asia-Pacific region, according to a company press release. The new facility, scheduled for completion in early 2012, will develop and manufacture laboratory instruments, equipment, and consumables for China's life-sciences markets.

Thermo Fisher Scientific will sell its Athena Diagnostics and Lancaster Laboratories businesses for a total of $940 million in cash. Thermo agreed to sell Athena Diagnostics to Quest Diagnostics for $740 million. Thermo also agreed to sell its contract-testing laboratory Lancaster Laboratories to Eurofins Scientific for $200 million, subject to a post-closing adjustment.

People Notes

Omni Bio Pharmaceutical named James Crapo as its CEO, and the company’s board of directors anticipates appointing him as a director in the near term. Charles Dinarello, who has served as Omni Bio's acting CEO since its inception in March 2009, will become the company’s chief scientific officer and chief medical director.

MorphoSys, a biotechnology company, appointed Jens Holstein CFO and a member of the executive management board, effective May 1, 2011. Holstein currently serves as regional CFO and director at Fresenius Kabi. Holstein will succeed Dave Lemus, who will leave his position of CFO in March 2011.

Pearl Therapeutics appointed Chuck Bramlage president, CEO, and a member of the board of directors. Bramlage previously held several executive positions at Covidien, most recently president of pharmaceutical products.

Rochem International, an ingredients supplier, appointed Matt Thiel as its COO. He previously served as the company's executive vice-president. Rochem promoted Charles Dods from vice-president of operations in Europe/Asia and global planning to the position of executive vice-president. During his six years with Rochem International, Dods has assumed greater responsibilities within the executive management team. He will to draw on his industry experience to oversee Rochem’s operations in China, the company's Pharmaceutical New Business Development group, and Rochem’s European sales team.

Biotechnology company Verenium will make the following changes to its management team, effective Mar. 31, 2011: Carlos Riva, currently director, president and CEO, will retire; James Levine, currently executive vice-president and CFO, will be promoted to president and CEO, and will be elected to the board of directors; Jeffrey Black, currently senior vice-president and chief accounting officer, will become CFO.

David Redfern was named the new chairman of the board for ViiV Healthcare, a specialist HIV company established by GlaxoSmithKline (GSK), and Pfizer. Redfern’s appointment is effective Apr. 1, 2011, following the retirement of Julian Heslop. Redfern will continue to serve as chief strategy officer at GSK.

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