Company and People Notes: Fresenius to Acquire APP Pharmaceuticals, Arete Therapeutics Appoints James Sabry President and CEO, More...

ePT--the Electronic Newsletter of Pharmaceutical Technology

Also, Catalent Pharma Solutions to collaborate with One World Design and Manufacturing Group, Bioheart appoints Howard J. Leonhardt as CEO, more...

Company notes

Atlanta, GA (July 2)-The specialty pharmaceutical company Altea Therapeutics entered into a partnership with Hospira, a drug delivery company, for the development and commercialization of an undisclosed product using Altea’s “PassPort” transdermal delivery system. Under the terms of the agreement, Altea granted Hospira exclusive worldwide rights to develop and commercialize the product. Altea will fund certain Phase I clinical studies, after which Hospira will fund all further product development, manufacturing, and commercialization activities. In return, Hospira will provide an upfront payment, which includes an equity investment. In addition, Altea could receive clinical, regulatory, commercialization, and sales performance milestone payments of up to $109 million and undisclosed royalties on sales of the product over the term of the agreement.

Buffalo Grove, IL (July 3)-Akorn, a manufacturer of sterile specialty pharmaceuticals, and Bioniche Pharma (Lake Forest, IL), a manufacturer of injectables, entered into a five-year manufacturing and supply agreement for two undisclosed pharmaceutical products. Under the terms of the agreement, Akorn will manufacture and supply the two injectable products. Expected launch for both products is anticipated in the second half of 2008.

Somerset, NJ (June 30)-Catalent Pharma Solutions, a provider of packaging services, entered into a marketing and collaboration agreement with One World Design and Manufacturing Group (Warren, NJ), in which both parties will market One World’s “NextBottle” unit-dose compliance bottles to pharmaceutical manufacturers. One World will exclusively produce the injection-molded device, with Catalent providing filling and packaging services.  The NextBottle, winner of the Healthcare Compliance Packaging Council’s 2007 Innovative Package of the Year Award, is designed to improve patient compliance with a dial mechanism that dispenses one pill at a time and provides patients with a visual reminder of the “last day” that a pill was taken. This serves to minimize unintentional non-compliance, such as forgetfulness and confusion.

Bad Homburg, Germany (July 7)-The healthcare group Fresenius agreed to acquire APP Pharmaceuticals (Schaumburg, IL), a pharmaceutical company focused on injectables, for a cash purchase price of $3.7 billion. APP will join Fresenius as part of its Fresenius Kabi division. Fresenius Kabi will gain access to the US injectable generics market through the acquisition.

London, UK (June 30)-GlaxoSmithKline will sell four products, “Eltroxin,” “Lanoxin,” “Imuran” and “Zyloric” to a subsidiary of the pharmaceuticals group Aspen Global Incorporated (Durban, South Africa) for a cash consideration of £170 million ($336 million). Aspen will own these products in all major markets outside of the US, except for rights to “Zyloric” in Japan. The products require specialized manufacturing and no longer hold patent protection. Last year these products recorded sales of around £80 million ($158 million) in the markets concerned.

Austin, Texas (July 7)-Introgen Therapeutics announced a restructuring plan and a reduction of staff. The company will cut approximately 20 development and regulatory positions associated with the recently approved cancer drug “Advexin.” Some of Introgen’s 50 remaining employees and some new employees are expected to join Introgen’s manufacturing subsidiary, Introgen Technical Services, Inc.

Toronto, Canada (July 2)-Patheon, a contract manufacturing organization, formed a sales and marketing agreement with BSP Pharmaceuticals (Latina, Italy), a company focused on the development and manufacturing of cytotoxic pharmaceutical products, in which Patheon will promote BSP’s cytotoxic manufacturing capacity and development services. Aldo Braca, president of Patheon Europe, will be president and chief executive officer of BSP Pharmaceuticals. 

Brisbane, Australia (July 2)-The biotechnology company Progen Pharmaceuticals will spin out its manufacturing business as a wholly owned subsidiary company, PharmaSynth. The new company will provide contract pharmaceutical development and manufacturing services for biopharmaceuticals and small molecule drugs. PharmaSynth will seek to expand its process development and manufacturing services to the biotechnology industry.

New Brunswick, NJ (July 3)-Senesco Technologies, a biotechnology company, contracted with Polyplus-transfection (Illkirch, France) to supply Polyplus's "in vivo-jetPEI" for systemic delivery of Senesco's combination therapy of siRNA against Factor 5A and a plasmid of the Factor 5A gene. Senesco previously reported positive preclinical in vivo results using "in vivo-jetPEI" against subcutaneous multiple myeloma tumors in immunodeficient mice. Senesco says the partnership with Polyplus-transfection will enable it to move its Factor 5A technology into planned clinical trials.

Basingstoke, UK (July 3)-The specialty biopharmaceutical company Shire will acquire Jerini (Berlin, Germany), a biotechnology company, for €328 million ($516 million). Shire will pursue the market introduction of the hereditary angioedema (HAE) drug “Firazyr” (icatibant) in Europe and marketing approval in the United States. HAE is a genetic disease characterized by unpredictable recurring swelling attacks in the hands, feet, face, larynx, and abdomen. The European launch of the product is anticipated for the second half of 2008.

Copenhagen, Denmark (June 26)-Upfront Chromatography, a developer of industrial-scale separation services, launched disposable adsorption units for capturing monoclonal antibodies. The disposable units adsorb therapeutic proteins directly from the bioreactor without the need for cleaning validation and clarification steps, such as filtration and centrifugation, which reduces the overall cost and environmental burden of manufacturing.

People Notes

Redwood City, CA (July 8)-A.P. Pharma, a specialty pharmaceutical company, appointed Ronald J. Prentki president, chief executive officer (CEO), and a member of the company’s board of directors, effective July 7, 2008. Prentki succeeds Gregory Turnbull, who will remain a company director, member of the board’s executive committee, and interim chief financial officer until a successor is found.

Hayward, CA (July 8)-Arete Therapeutics, a privately-held biopharmaceutical company, appointed James Sabry, PhD, president and CEO. Sabry has been an advisor and member of the board of directors since March 2008, and he succeeds Dinesh Patel in the position of president and CEO. Patel will remain a consultant to the company.

Sunrise, FL (July 3)-Bioheart, a biotechnology company, appointed Howard J. Leonhardt, Bioheart’s cofounder, chairman of the board, and chief technology officer, to serve as CEO, effective July 1, 2008. William M. Pinon resigned as the company's president, CEO, and as a member of the board of directors, and he will remain with the company through July 25, 2008 to assist in the transition process.

Edmonton, Canada (July 4)-Canadian biotechnology company Ceapro announced that Mark Redmond, PhD, has decided to step down as a director and an officer of the company, effective immediately. Gilles R. Gagnon, an independent director of the company, will act as president and CEO during the search period for a new CEO.

Palo Alto, CA (July 3)-Cell Biosciences, a provider of ultrasensitive protein-detection and characterization systems to life-science researchers, announced three additions to its management team. Jason Novi was named chief financial officer, Robert Gavin was named vice-president of engineering, and Wilhelm Lachnit, PhD, was named vice-president of research and development.

Erie, PA (July 3)-Eriez Magnetics, a provider of technology for magnetic, vibratory, and inspection applications, appointed Andy Lewis as vice-president, international. Lewis joined the company in 1976 and has served as managing director of Eriez-Europe since 1995. Paul Fears has been appointed to the position of managing director of Eriez-Europe and will report to Andy Lewis.

Ann Arbor, MI (July 8)-Pipex Pharmaceuticals, a specialty pharmaceutical company, announced that Nicholas Stergis, company cofounder and vice-chairman of the board of directors, joined the executive management team of Pipex as chief executive officer. Stergis replaces Steve H. Kanzer, who will continue to serve as the company’s chairman. Daniel J. Dorman, a director, and Charles L. Bisgaier, Pipex's president, resigned from the company.