August 16, 2007 Notes: Biomira Inc. and Merck KGaA Update Agreement, Tikvah Names Vice-President and CFO, More

August 16, 2007
Pharmaceutical Technology Editors
ePT--the Electronic Newsletter of Pharmaceutical Technology

Biomira Inc. and Merck KGaA update agreement, Tikvah names vice-president and CFO, more.

Company Notes

New York (Aug. 8)-American Oriental Bioengineering, Inc., a manufacturer and distributor of plant-based pharmaceutical and nutraceutical products, signed a legally binding letter of intent to acquire Guangxi Boke Pharmaceutical Company Limited, a privately owned plant-based healthcare company, in a transaction valued at approximately $40.0 million.

Paoli, PA (Aug. 13)-AMETEK, Inc. acquired CAMECA SAS, a manufacturer of elemental analysis systems used in advanced laboratory research, semiconductor and nanotechnology applications. CAMECA, based in Paris, was purchased from an investment group led by the Carlyle Group for approximately EUR 82 million ($112 million). CAMECA has estimated annual sales of EUR 60 million ($82 million).

Edmonton, AL, Canada (Aug. 8)-Biomira Inc. and Merck KGaA, of Darmstadt, Germany, signed amended and restated collaboration and supply agreements related to “Stimuvax.” Biomira is entitled to development and sales-based milestone payments and a royalty on net sales; and it retains responsibility for the manufacture of Stimuvax, including process development and scale-up for commercial manufacturing. Merck will exclusively purchase Stimuvax from Biomira; with respect to purchases for commercial sales, the purchase price will be subtracted from Biomira’s royalty. The restated agreements provide Biomira with revised payments based on certain milestones related to manufacturing scale-up and process transfer. Stimuvax is an investigational therapeutic cancer vaccine designed to induce an immune response to cancer cells that express MUC1, a protein antigen widely expressed on common cancers.

Winnipeg, MB, Canada (Aug. 13)-Cangene Corporation met the regulatory and manufacturing requirements for the “usable product” milestone on contracts with the US government for products to treat botulism and inhalational anthrax. The contracts, the largest in Cangene history, were signed last year and are managed by the US Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority within the Department of Health and Human Services. The usable product designation means the company met specific regulatory and manufacturing requirements that allow it to deliver the products to the US Strategic National Stockpile and begin invoicing once delivery has been accepted.

Vienna, VA (Aug. 14)-CEL-SCI Corporation entered into an agreement with a biomedical real estate group under which CEL-SCI acquires long-term use of a dedicated manufacturing facility near Baltimore, Maryland for its cancer drug “Multikine.” The financial value of this transaction to CEL-SCI is about $15 million. Once fully built out to CEL- SCI’s specifications, the facility will produce Multikine for both Phase III clinical trials, and following marketing approval, for sale.

Chicago (Aug. 8)-Celsis reports that GlaxoSmithKline’s recently approved new drug application for “Veramyst” nasal spray referenced use of Celsis’s rapid microbial system. The system is an alternative testing method, based on ATP bioluminescence, to screen products for microbiological testing.

Sydney, Australia (Aug. 9)-EvoGenix, a biotechnology company, shareholders voted in favor of a proposed merger of the company with the Australian biotechnology company Peptech Limited. In the decision, to be approved in court on Aug. 17, Peptech will acquire 100% of the issued shares in EvoGenix for 15 cents (12 cents USD) cash and 0.5055 Peptech shares for each EvoGenix share held.

London (Aug. 9)-Hikma Pharmaceuticals PLC, a multinational pharmaceuticals group, agreed to acquire the entire issued share capital of Alkan Pharma, an Egyptian pharmaceuticals company, for a cash consideration of $60.5 million. The acquisition is scheduled to be completed in the second half of 2007, subject to meeting certain regulatory requirements. The acquisition will be funded entirely by debt.

Armonk, NY (Aug.9)-IBM introduced a radio frequency identification (RFID) system that will allow pharmaceutical companies to create an electronic certificate of authenticity (known as an electronic pedigree or ePedigree) for every drug that passes through the supply chain. This will allow all participants in the drug supply chain-manufacturers, distributors, pharmacies and hospitals-access to historical data on individual bottles or packages of medicine.

Pasadena, CA (Aug. 14)-Jacobs Engineering Group Inc. received a contract from Pfizer Limited to provide construction management services for a new small-scale clinical biotech manufacturing center in Shanbally, Ireland. Officials did not disclose the value of the contract. The facility will accommodate a production plant, laboratories, administration, and associated infrastructure.

Emeryville, CA (Aug. 14)-KineMed, Inc., a pathway-based drug discovery and development company, extended its strategic alliance with CMIC Co., Ltd., a contract research organization providing clinical development services in Asia. KineMed and CMIC initiated their collaboration in May 2006. Under the terms of the extended agreement, CMIC will seek compounds within Japanese pharmaceutical firms for in-licensing by KineMed, with a focus on metabolic disease, fibrosis and reverse cholesterol transport. According to the agreement, CMIC will have the option to become KineMed’s partner and cofund clinical development for the Japanese market.

New York (Aug. 10)-Schering-Plough Corp priced nearly $3.9 billion of securities offerings to help fund a large acquisition. The company said it intends to use these funds to finance part of its EUR 11-billion ($15-billion) acquisition of Organon BioSciences, the human and animal health care businesses of Akzo Nobel NV.

People Notes

Palo Alto, CA (Aug. 14)-Robert F. Venteicher, PhD, joined Affymax, Inc. as the company’s vice-president of technical operations. In this position, Venteicher will oversee manufacturing and process development, quality, and facility operations for Affymax.

Westbrook, ME (Aug. 13)-ARTEL, a provider of liquid-handling quality assurance, appointed Bjoern Carle, PhD, laboratory applications scientist. Carle will play an integral role in ARTEL’s research and development and will also provide instrument validation and on-site customer training as part of ARTEL’s liquid-handling quality assurance suite of services.

Markham, ON, Canada (Aug. 13)-Joel Z. Melnick, MD, joined Cytochroma Inc’s management team as vice-president of clinical and regulatory affairs. Melnick will be responsible for managing the clinical development of Cytochroma’s new Vitamin D therapies and for obtaining marketing approvals from the US Food and Drug Administration and Canada’s Therapeutic Products Directorate.

New York (Aug. 10)-ImClone Systems Incorporated, a company focused on the development and commercialization of novel cancer therapeutics, appointed John H. Johnson as its chief executive officer, effective August 27, 2007.

Toronto, ON, Canada (Aug. 9)-PharmEng International Inc., a consulting and contract manufacturing company, appointed David G. Leonard the Keata Pharma president for the Sydney, Nova Scotia, Canada, and Perth, Ontario, Canada, manufacturing sites. Keata Pharma is a wholly owned subsidiary of ParmEng with manufacturing facilities in Perth and new facilities in Sydney scheduled to open in the fourth quarter of this year.

Vancouver, BC, Canada (Aug. 10)-ProtoKinetix Inc.’s Board of Directors appointed Ross L. Senior its president and CEO. Senior brings corporate and executive management experience in technology research and business development.

Bridgewater, NJ (Aug. 9)-Sapphire Therapeutics, a private biopharmaceutical company, announced a promotion and a new addition to the firm. Eleanor de Groot was promoted to vice-president of technical operations, with increased responsibilities for all drug development and manufacturing activities at the company. Brenda Marczi will join Sapphire as vice-president of regulatory affairs. 

Atlanta, GA (Aug. 9)-Tikvah Therapeutics, Inc., a biopharmaceutical company, named Jack W. Callicutt vice-president and chief financial officer.

Monmouth, NJ (Aug. 13)-TyRx Pharma, Inc. hired Mark Citron as vice-president of clinical and regulatory affairs. Citron replaces Mason Diamond, who elected to pursue other opportunities.

Shanghai, China (Aug. 13)-WuXi PharmaTech, a provider of pharmaceutical research and development outsourcing services, appointed Edward Hu executive vice-president of operations. Hu will report directly to Ge Li, chairman and chief executive officer of the company.