Company and People Notes: AMRI Opens In Vitro Laboratory in Singapore; Bristol-Myers Squibb Names Quentin Roach Senior Vice-President and Chief Procurement Officer, More ...

July 24, 2008
Pharmaceutical Technology Editors

ePT--the Electronic Newsletter of Pharmaceutical Technology

Also, Niro changes its name to GEA Process Engineering; Frances K. Heller joins Exelixis as executive vice-president of business development, more...

Company Notes

Albany, NY (July 21)-AMRI opened its first in vitro biology laboratory in Singapore and completed a 10,000-ft2 laboratory expansion for medicinal-chemistry discovery services, more than doubling the capacity of its Science Park III facility. The in vitro biology group will test compounds synthesized by AMRI’s Singapore-based medicinal-chemistry teams to deliver high-quality potency data using cell-based or biochemical assays. AMRI anticipates hiring roughly 70 additional chemists and biologists to staff the Singapore facility during the next three years.

Columbia, MD (July 1)-Niro changed its name to GEA Process Engineering. The name change results from the expansion of the company’s business activities, which now include product lines beyond Niro’s traditional business. The company will continue to operate in its current structure, and client contacts remain unchanged.

Gurgaon, India (July 17)-Ranbaxy Laboratories and Daiichi Sankyo (Tokyo) reiterated that the agreement between Daiichi Sankyo, Ranbaxy, and the Singh family (Ranbaxy’s controlling shareholders) is binding and final, subject to regulatory approvals. The parties remain committed to the transaction and confirmed that the terms of the deal are unchanged.

Paris (July 18)-Sanofi-Aventis returned its territory rightsto Taiho Pharmaceutical (Tokyo) for the development and commercialization of the oral anticanceragent S-1.The termination follows Taiho’s announcement that the Phase III studyof S-1’s efficacy and safety in a multicentric trialin patients with locally advanced gastric cancer did not meet its primary end point of superior overall survival.

Exton, PA (July 15)-ViroPharma and Lev Pharmaceuticals (New York) signed a definitive merger agreement. Under the agreement, ViroPharma will acquire Lev, a biopharmaceutical company focused on developing and commercializing therapeutic products for the treatment of inflammatory diseases, for $442.9 million upfront, or $2.75 per Lev share. Contingent consideration of as much as $1.00 per share may be paid upon achievement of certain regulatory and commercial milestones. The transaction was unanimously approved by the boards of directors of both companies. The companies expect the merger to be completed by the end of 2008. Concurrently with the execution of the merger agreement, ViroPharma purchased $20 million of Lev common stock.

Prague (July 18)-Zentiva’s board recommended that the company’s shareholders not accept Sanofi-Aventis Europe’s unsolicited voluntary takeover offer of July 11, 2008. The board concluded that Sanofi's offer of CZK 1050 per share is not in the best interests of Zentiva, its shareholders, and all its other stakeholders because it undervalues Zentiva and fails to reflect its improved operational performance. Sanofi-Aventis Europe is a wholly owned subsidiary of Sanofi-Aventis (Paris).

People Notes

New York (July 21)-Bristol-Myers Squibb named Quentin Roach senior vice-president and chief procurement officer. In this role, Roach will be responsible for global leadership for supplier relationship management, company-wide sourcing strategies, and procurement of all materials and services.

South San Francisco, CA (July 17)-Frances K. Heller joined Exelixis as its executive vice-president of business development. In this position, Heller will lead business-development activities for the company’s pipeline of compounds for the treatment of cancer and other serious diseases.Heller has more than 15 years of pharmaceutical and biopharmaceutical industry experience.

Waltham, MA (July 16)-Parexel International, a leading global biopharmaceutical-services organization, promoted Mark A. Goldberg to chief operating officer. Goldberg previously served as president of clinical research services and perceptive informatics at Parexel. He will continue to oversee these areas of the company and report to Josef von Rickenbach, chairman and chief executive officer.

London (July 17)-Jeffery Vick resigned as group chief executive officer (CEO) of Silence Therapeutics and left the company for personal reasons. The company’s board of directors appointed Iain Ross chairman and group CEO, effective immediately. Jeremy Curnock Cook was appointed senior independent nonexecutive director.

Basking Ridge, NJ (July 21)-Christopher P. Schnittker joined VioQuest Pharmaceuticals as vice-president and chief financial officer (CFO). Schnittker succeeds Brian Lenz, who resigned to accept a CFO position with a biotechnology company. Lenz will stay with VioQuest until Aug. 14, 2008 to assist with the transition.