August 2, 2007 Notes: Johnson & Johnson Consolidates Operations, Xceleron Leases New Facility, More

August 2, 2007
Pharmaceutical Technology Editors
ePT--the Electronic Newsletter of Pharmaceutical Technology

Johnson & Johnson consolidates operations, Xceleron leases new facility, more

Company Notes

Victoria, BC, Canada (July 25)-Aspreva Pharmaceuticals announced a reorganization of its operations to focus on core activities that are expected to foster long-term growth. The company expects to reduce its staff by approximately 25% or 33 positions worldwide.

London (July 26)-AstraZeneca will cut its workforce by 10% to reduce costs. The company will eliminate 7600 jobs, an increase from the 3000 job cuts it announced in February. AstraZeneca also is expanding its presence in China and transferring some of its business there to reduce costs.

Boca Raton, FL (July 25)-Breckenridge entered into an agreement with Midland HealthCare (Kansas City, KS) to develop and manufacture a liquid generic new drug product. Breckenridge plans to file an Abbreviated New Drug Application with the US Food and Drug Administration in late 2007. Upon FDA approval, Midland will manufacture and Breckenridge will market and distribute the product on an exclusive basis.

New York (July 26)-In a company press release, James Cornelius, chief executive officer of Bristol-Myers Squibb, described the company’s ongoing strategic review process designed to maximize resources. The process incorporates a comprehensive cost-reduction program that will include workforce reductions and the rationalization of some facilities. The company will present a comprehensive overview of its strategy, operations, and pipeline at an investor meeting in December.

New Brunswick, NJ (July 31)-Johnson & Johnson announced initiatives to generate pretax, annual cost savings of $1.3–1.6 billion for 2008. The company’s pharmaceuticals segment will consolidate certain operations while continuing to invest in recently launched products and its late-stage pipeline. The company estimates that position eliminations will be in a range of 3–4% of its global workforce, in accordance with local works councils and labor laws.

Princeton, NJ (July 31)-Laureate Pharma entered into a contract-manufacturing agreement with Enobia Pharma (Montréal, QC, Canada), a biotechnology company that develops enzyme-replacement therapies to treat hypophosphatasia. Laureate will produce Enobia Pharma’s fusion protein for treatment of hypophosphatasia, a rare, and sometimes fatal, metabolic bone disease. Terms of the manufacturing agreement were not disclosed.

Eden Prairie, MN (Aug. 1)-SurModics, a provider of surface modification and drug delivery technologies to the healthcare industry, acquired Brookwood Pharmaceuticals (Birmingham, AL), a provider of drug-delivery technology to the pharmaceutical industry, from Southern Research Institute for $40 million in cash at closing and as much as an additional $22 million in cash upon the successful achievement of specified milestones.

York, UK (July 23)-Xceleron signed a lease on a multimillion-dollar facility in Germantown, Maryland. The state-of-the-art facility will open in November 2007. The building will house a new accelerator mass spectrometer and employ at least 20 people in scientific, commercial, and administrative roles.

People Notes

Victoria, BC, Canada (July 25)- Dr. Richard Jones, chief scientific officer of Aspreva Pharmaceuticals will leave the company as part of its restructuring. Jones’s responsibilities will be assumed by Dr. Usman Azam, Aspreva’s chief medical officer.

Palo Alto, CA (July 31)-Affymax promoted Anne-Marie Duliege to chief medical officer and Christine Conroy to vice-president of regulatory affairs and good clinical practice compliance.

Mont-Saint-Hilaire, QC, Canada (July 30)-Axcan Pharma announced that Nicholas Franco joined the company as senior vice-president of international commercial operations. Franco will replace Jocelyn Pelchat, who is leaving Axcan to pursue other career opportunities.

Birmingham, AL (July 26)-BioCryst Pharmaceuticals announced that Stuart Grant will join the company’s senior management team as senior vice-president and chief financial officer, effective August 27, 2007.

Whitehouse Station, NJ (July 26)-Merck & Co., Inc. named Kenneth C. Frazier executive vice-president and president of global human health, effective Aug. 1. Frazier will continue to report directly to Richard T. Clark, Merck’s chairman, president, and chief executive officer, and serve on the company’s executive committee.

Boston (July 27)-Point Therapeutics announced further reductions of its management staff. Effective July 25, the company terminated Donald Kiepert, chairman and chief executive officer, Richard Small, senior vice-president and chief financial officer, Michael Duffy, senior vice-president and general counsel, and Barry Jones, senior vice-president and chief scientific officer. Some or all of these employees may form a cost consulting team to help the company seeks a buyer or partner.

Rancho Cordova, CA (July 30)-ThermoGenesis, a company that develops and manufactures product platforms to enable the processing and cryopreservation of stem cells for regenerative medicine, appointed William Osgood, PhD, chief executive officer and a member of the board of directors, effective July 30, 2007.