Company and People Notes: AVI BioPharma Acquires Ercole Biotech, Cytomedix Appoints Martin P. Rosendale Executive Vice-President and COO, More

ePT--the Electronic Newsletter of Pharmaceutical Technology

Also, Pipex Pharmaceuticals implements cost-cutting measures, Pfizer's Senior Vice-President and General Counsel Allen Waxman leaves the company, more...

Company Notes

Portland, OR (Mar. 17)-AVI BioPharma will acquire Ercole Biotech (Research Triangle Park, NC). The companies have collaborated since December 2006 to develop drug candidates including AVI-4658, which is in clinical testing in the United Kingdom for treatment of Duchenne muscular dystrophy (DMD).

New York (Mar. 12)-China Aoxing Pharmaceutical Company (CAPC) announced that its subsidiary, Hebei Aoxing Pharmaceutical Group Company, signed a definitive acquisition agreement to acquire Shijiazhuang Lerentang Pharmaceutical (LRT, Shijiazhuang City, China). LRT is a pharmaceutical company specializing in the manufacturing and distribution of modernized Chinese traditional medicines, with a strong portfolio of pain management products. Under the terms of the agreement, CAXG will acquire 100% ownership of LRT for 80 million RMB (approximately $10.8 million) in cash and 8 million shares of the company's common stock. Completion of the transaction, subject to regulatory approval, is expected to occur within the next 70 days.

Teaneck, NJ and Buenos Aires, Argentina (Mar. 11)-Cognizant, a provider of consulting and IT services, announced the inauguration of its 35th global delivery center in Buenos Aires, Argentina. The new center will provide a base for Cognizant to service customers in South America and will support the company’s North American customers in a similar time zone.

Leiden, The Netherlands (Mar. 17)-Dutch biotechnology company Crucell and DSM Biologics (Parsippany, NJ), a business unit of DSM Pharmaceutical Products, announced that MorphoSys (Planegg, Germany) has decided to extend the “PER.C6” technology licensing agreement entered in September 2004, exercising an option for clinical and commercial production of antibodies. Financial details of the agreement were not disclosed.

Minneapolis, MN (Mar. 13)-Mocon, a manufacturer of instrumentation equipment, announced that its Lippke division recently broke ground for a new headquarters building in Neuwied, Germany.  The company expects the new 8,400-ft2 facility will be completed by September. It will house office, laboratory and warehousing functions.

Ann Arbor, MI (Mar. 11)-Pipex Pharmaceuticals, a specialty pharmaceutical company, announced that it has implemented cost reduction measures due to the anticipated delay in refiling its New Drug Application for oral tetrathiomolybdate (oral TTM) for the treatment of initially presenting neurologic Wilson's disease. The cost reductions included the elimination of 14 positions, including the position of the chief scientific officer, to which David A. Newsome was appointed in October 2007. Also, the company’s president, Charles L. Bisgaier, agreed to reduce his salary from $295,000 per year to $0.

Salt Lake City, UT (Mar. 17)-Q Therapeutics, a biopharmaceutical company, selected Goodwin Biotechnology (Plantation, FL), a contract manufacturing organization, to manufacture its monoclonal antibody (mAb). Goodwin has begun process development and will be manufacturing the mAb for Q Therapeutics to use with its cell therapy product, “Q-Cells.” Q Therapeutics plans to begin Phase I trials for the treatment of transverse myelitis, a rapidly paralyzing subset of multiple sclerosis, in 2009.

Jerusalem (Mar. 10)-Ivax Pharmaceuticals, part of Israel’s Teva group, will receive and investment of 1 billion Kc ($60.7 million) from Teva in a new facility at Ivax’s Opava-Komarov campus in the Czech Republic. Construction on the new facility will begin this year. When completed, Ivax expects to have tripled its drug-production capacity. The announcement came during a visit by Prime Minister Mirek Topolánek to Teva’s Jerusalem facility. Topolánek also met with Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert last week, and the prime ministers agreed to establish a joint Czech-Israeli research and development fund focused on biotechnology, pharmaceuticals and anti-terrorism weaponry, according to a report by the Prague Post.

People Notes

Dublin, OH (Mar. 13)-Cardinal Health appointed company veteran Michael C. Kaufmann as group president of its Healthcare Supply Chain Services Pharmaceutical Segment. He replaces Scott A. Storrer, who will leave the company later this month. Kaufmann will continue to report to George S. Barrett, vice-chairman of Cardinal Health and chief executive officer of the company's Healthcare Supply Chain Services sector.

Rockville, MD (Mar. 17)-Cytomedix appointed Martin P. Rosendale executive vice-president and chief operating officer. Rosendale will be responsible for the company's operational aspects including sales and marketing, manufacturing, business development and administrative operations, and will assist and support the research and development activities.

Chadds Ford, PA (Mar. 12)-Endo Pharmaceuticals Holdings named David P. Holveck president, chief executive officer and a director of the company, effective April 1, 2008. Mr. Holveck was previously president of Johnson & Johnson Development Corporation and vice-president, Corporate Development of Johnson & Johnson.

New York, NY (Mar. 12)-Immtech Pharmaceuticals’s Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Eric L. Sorkin and Vice-Chairman Cecilia Chan have volunteered to take a pay cut during fiscal year 2008. Immtech filed Form 8K with the US Securities and Exchange Commission with updated information on the company's operations. As detailed in the 8K, due to recognition of deferred revenue, the company's stockholders' equity exceeds $6.0 million and the company expects that it will continue to exceed that amount as of March 31, 2008.

Burlingame, CA (Mar. 13)-Juvaris BioTherapeutics named Grant E. Pickering chief executive officer and a member of the board of directors. Pickering replaces Martin D. Cleary, who founded the company in February of 2003. In conjunction with Mr. Pickering's appointment, the corporate headquarters will now be located within the company's recently expanded research, development, and manufacturing facilities in Burlingame, California.

Canton, MA (Mar. 17)-Damien Bates, PhD, joined Organogenesis as vice-president of medical affairs. A board-certified plastic and reconstructive surgeon, Bates will lead the company's clinical study department and collaborate with Organogenesis research and development teams to guide new product development from lab science through to approved products.

New York, NY (Mar. 11)-Pfizer’s Senior Vice-President and General Counsel Allen Waxman is leaving the company for personal reasons. Waxman will remain outside counsel to Pfizer through a transition period. David Reid, Pfizer’s current senior vice-president and managing director, will assume Waxman’s responsibilities temporarily while the company conducts a search for a permanent successor.