Company and People Notes: Amira and GSK Form Agreement, Xenome Appoints Ian Nisbet CEO, More

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ePT--the Electronic Newsletter of Pharmaceutical Technology

Amira and GSK Form Agreement, Xenome Appoints Ian Nisbet CEO, More...

Company Notes

San Diego, CA (Feb. 4)-Amira Pharmaceuticals and GlaxoSmithKline (GSK)entered into an agreement to develop, manufacture and commercialize “FLAP” (5-lipoxygenase activating protein ) inhibitors for the treatment of respiratory and cardiovascular disease. Under the terms of the agreement, GSK will be granted an exclusive, worldwide license to develop, manufacture and commercialize Amira’s FLAP inhibitors, including “AM103” and other compounds within the current development program. Amira could receive up to $425 million in upfront and milestone payments, as well as royalty payments based on sales. Initial development efforts will focus on AM103, a once-daily, oral, non-steroidal asthma treatment.

Miami, FL (Jan. 30)-Cavit Sciences, a biotechnology company, completed the relocation of its corporate headquarters to a research and technology complex in North Miami, Florida. The facility includes research labs, clinical testing labs, clean rooms, development labs, warehouse space, and corporate offices accommodating operations and marketing.

London (Feb. 1)-Chiltern, a contract research organization, acquired Drug Development Solutions (DDS), a Phase I unit located at Ninewells Hospital and Medical School, Dundee, Scotland. Ninewells is one of the United Kingdom’s major teaching hospitals. The purchase of DDS supplements Chiltern’s clinical research unit in Slough near London. The unit, which holds up to 60 beds, has completed more than 700 Phase I trials since its creation in 1982 and has been ISO 9001 certified since 1997.

Karlsruhe, Germany (Jan. 31)-Dr. Willmar Schwabe Pharmaceuticals acquired MH Pharma (Marlow, UK). Schwabe Pharmaceuticals, a family owned company founded in 1866, intends to gain access to the UK market through the acquisition of MH Pharma. Schwabe Pharmaceuticals has more than 20 subsidiaries and joint ventures worldwide.

Chalfont St. Giles, UK (Feb. 4)-GE Healthcare, a unit of General Electric Company, and Whatman (Maidstone, UK), a supplier of filtration products and technologies, reached agreement on the terms of an acquisition of Whatman by GE Healthcare. Under the terms of the agreement, each Whatman shareholder will receive 270 pence in cash for each Whatman share, valuing Whatman at approximately £363 million (approximately $713 million.) The transaction is subject to approval by Whatman’s shareholders as well as customary regulatory approvals.

Hoboken, NJ (Jan. 30)-Swiss-based Octapharma will relocate its US headquarters to offices in Hoboken, New Jersey. The company’s marketing and sales operations will move to Virginia in mid-February.

Redwood City, CA (Feb. 4)-PDL BioPharma entered into an agreement to sell its cardiovascular products to EKR Therapeutics (Cedar Knolls, NJ). EKR will acquire the rights to “Cardene I.V.” (nicardipine hydrochloride), “Cardene SR,” and new formulations of Cardene in development, as well as “Retavase” (reteplase) and the development product ularitide. Under the terms of the agreement, PDL would receive cash payments of $85 million at closing, up to an additional $85 million in development and sales milestones for the new Cardene formulations, and royalties on sales of the new Cardene formulations and ularitide.

St. Louis, MO (Jan. 30)-SAFC, a member of the Sigma-Aldrich Group , announced the second-phase of a $600,000-expansion of SAFC Pharmorphix, the company’s solid-state services research facility in Cambridge, UK.  The expansion, expected to be completed in the first quarter of 2008, will add 7500 ft2 of laboratory capacity to the 12,500-ft2 facility. The company plans to install spectroscopic and diffraction equipment later this year.

Pasadena, CA (Jan. 30)-Sanguine will open an office in West Chester, Pennsylvania, to house its newly formed life sciences division. The new office will also increase the company’s efforts to commercialize its flagship product, “PHER-02,” a second-generation formulation of the perfluorocarbon (PFC) emulsion, “Fluosol.”

People Notes

Cambridge, MA (Feb. 5)-Altus Pharmaceuticals announced that Sheldon Berkle has resigned as president, chief executive officer and a member of the board of directors, effective February 4, 2008. Board chairman David D. Pendergast, PhD, will assume the interim position of executive chairman while the company searches for a new president and CEO.


Crickhowell, UK (Feb. 1)-David Laskow-Pooley joined Bilcare Global Clinical Supplies Europe as its president. A subsidiary of Bilcare Limited (Pune, India), Bilcare GCS is a provider of the packaging and global distribution of clinical trial materials.

Singapore (Jan. 31)-China Agro-Technology appointed Jorge Cantonnet chief executive officer effective Feb. 1, 2008. Cantonnet replaces interim CEO Harry He.

Redwood City, CA (Jan. 30)-Genelabs Technologies, a biopharmaceutical company, announced the resignation of James A. D. Smith as president, chief executive officer and director of the company, effective January 29, 2008. Irene A. Chow, PhD, executive chairman of the board of directors, and Frederick W. Driscoll, chief financial officer, will assume leadership responsibilities until a successor is appointed.

Atlanta, GA (Feb. 4)-GeoVax Labs, a biotechnology company, announced the addition of company co-founder Dr. Harriet Robinson to its staff as vice-president of research and development. Robinson joined GeoVax part time in Nov. 2007 and will become full time Feb. 15, 2008. She is known for her work on retrovirus biology and development of DNA vaccines with special emphasis on HIV/AIDS.

La Jolla, CA (Feb. 1)-Immunosyn announced the resignation of G. David Criner as the company’s chief financial and accounting officer. Criner, hired in October 2007, is leaving due to family matters. Douglas A. McClain, Jr., will resume the duties of CFO effective February 1, 2008. McClain also serves as the company’s chairman of the board and corporate secretary.

Cincinnati, OH (Feb. 1)-Kendle, a full-service clinical research organization, hired Satish Tripathi, PhD, as vice-president of global regulatory and quality. Tripathi will be based in Kendle’s Chicago office and will oversee the multi-functional global regulatory group consisting of approximately 450 personnel.

Branford, CT (Feb. 4)-Neurogen, a drug discovery and development company, appointed Stephen R. Davis president and chief executive officer. Former CEO William H. Koster, PhD, retired and remains a member of the board of directors.

Concord, OH (Feb. 1)-Ricerca Biosciences appointed R. Ian Lennox chairman of the board of directors and chief executive officer of the organization. Lennox has been executive chairman at Ricerca since 2006.

Aliso Viejo, CA (Feb. 4)-Valeant Pharmaceuticals International appointed J. Michael Pearson chief executive officer and chairman of the board of directors, effective February 1, 2008. This follows the resignation of Timothy C. Tyson as president, chief executive officer and a director of the company. Former chairman Robert A. Ingram will remain on the board as the lead director.

Brisbane, Australia (Feb. 5)-Xenome, a biotechnology company, appointed Ian Nisbet, PhD, chief executive officer. Nisbet will also join Xenome’s board as managing director.