Company and People Notes: King Announces Restructuring; SCOLR Pharma Appoints President and CEO; More...

ePT--the Electronic Newsletter of Pharmaceutical Technology

Also, PPD to acquire AbC.R.O.; Bilcare Global Clinical Supplies named Tony Moult general manager of Bilcare GCS Europe; more...

Company Notes

Seattle, WA (Feb. 6)-Cell Therapeutics, Inc. (CTI), a biopharmaceutical company, engaged the services of the consulting firm Adjuvant Global Advisors to assist in developing options for a partnership, asset divestment, or joint venture for Cell Therapeutics Europe Sede Secondaria (CTE, Bresso, Italy), the preclinical drug development arm of CTI.

Princeton, NJ (Feb. 3)-Covance, a drug-development services company, opened three new clinical-development offices in Kiev, Ukraine; Bratislava, Slovakia; and Tel Aviv, Israel. Covance adds the new offices to its Central and Eastern Europe business, which includes sites in Poland, Hungary, The Czech Republic, Bulgaria, Romania, and Russia.

Berlin, Germany (Feb. 4)-Haupt Pharma, a contract manufacturer and developer, completed the purchase of a Pfizer production site in Latina, Italy. The production plant focuses on the production of antibiotics, particularly beta-lactams like penicillin and cephalosporin. All 450 employees of the Latina plant will be transferred to Haupt.

Cambridge, MA (Feb. 6)-Idenix Pharmaceuticals and GlaxoSmithKline (GSK, London) formed a license agreement granting GSK exclusive worldwide rights to "IDX899," a novel non-nucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitor (NNRTI) in Phase II clinical development being developed by Idenix for the treatment of HIV/AIDS. Under the terms of the agreement, GSK will assume development responsibility and associated costs for IDX899, and Idenix will receive an upfront payment of $34 million and will be eligible to receive up to $416 million in milestones. Idenix will receive double-digit, tiered worldwide royalties if IDX899 is successfully commercialized.

Copenhagen, Denmark (Feb. 9)-The international pharmaceutical company H. Lundbeck announced that its subsidiary, Lundbeck, Inc., will acquire Ovation Pharmaceuticals (Deerfield, IL), a specialty pharmaceutical company focusing on central nervous system disorders. Under the terms of the agreement, Lundbeck will acquire Ovation in a cash transaction that values Ovation at up to $900 million (DKK 5.2 billion). The supervisory board at Lundbeck and the board of directors of Ovation have unanimously approved the transaction.

Bristol, TN (Feb. 3)-King Pharmaceuticals announced restructuring and workforce reduction plans designed to decrease operating expenses.  The company plans to eliminate roughly 760 positions, or approximately 22% of its workforce. Approximately 240 of these reductions are corporate positions associated with synergies from the Alpharma acquisition. About 380 of these reductions are field sales positions and approximately 140 are corporate positions.

Westlake, TX (Feb. 4)-MiddleBrook Pharmaceuticals, a pharmaceutical company focused on anti-infective products, selected Almac Pharma Services to provide packaging services for physician samples of "Moxatag" (amoxicillin extended-release) tablets, 775 mg. Almac will work with MiddleBrook's chosen commercial manufacturer, STADA Production Ireland.

Wilmington, NC (Feb. 9)-PPD, a contract research organization, agreed to acquire AbC.R.O., Inc. (AbCRO), a contract research organization operating in Central and Eastern Europe. The acquisition gives PPD entry into Romania, Bulgaria, Serbia, and Croatia, and adds to PPD's existing operations in Poland, Russia, and Ukraine. The acquisition is subject to customary regulatory approvals and is expected to close in the first quarter.

Ewing, NJ (Feb. 3)-Redpoint Bio, a company developing compounds to improve the taste of pharmaceutical, food and beverage products, announced a restructuring plan that will reduce its workforce by 12 research and development and administrative employees, or approximately 33%. As part of the restructuring, the company eliminated the position of vice-president of corporate development.

South San Francisco, CA (Feb. 3)-The drug-development company Rigel Pharmaceuticals, announced that it will delay further partnership discussions regarding “R788” until after results from the two Phase IIb clinical trials of R788 are available. The results from these clinical trials are expected to be available in July and August 2009, respectively. Rigel expects to have a collaboration partnership in place prior to initiating Phase III clinical trials. The company cut research programs in virology and oncology as well as certain related staff, which resulted in the elimination of 36 positions, or approximately 20% of the company's workforce.

Markt Schwaben, Germany (Feb. 10)-SeidenaderVision, a part of the Seidenader Group focused on vision-inspection applications, launched a modular system for product traceability for pharmaceuticals. The system is compliant with upcoming regulations such as ITS (Turkey 2009), French Coding (France 2011) and ePedigree (California 2015).

Rockville, MD (Feb. 4)-The US Food and Drug Administration posted new quarterly reports on its website listing potential signals of serious risks or new safety information that were identified using the Adverse Event Reporting System (AERS) database. The new reports cover the second and third quarters of 2008. FDA is investigating potential safety issues for the drugs listed in the reports, and the information is made available to the public in accordance with the FDA Amendments Act of 2007.

People Notes

Palatine, IL (Feb. 9)-Acura Pharmaceuticals, a specialty pharmaceutical company, named Albert W. Brzeczko vice-president of technical affairs. Brzeczko was vice-president of global pharmaceutical new product development and pharmaceutical technologies for the contract services group International Specialty Products from 1999 to 2009.

Phoenixville, PA (Feb. 4)-Bilcare Global Clinical Supplies, a provider of clinical-trial supplies and services, named Tony Moult general manager of Bilcare GCS (Europe) Ltd. Moult has more than 30 years of experience in clinical-trial supplies and processes.

Emeryville, CA (Feb. 4)-The biopharmaceutical company Neurobiological Technologies (NTI) appointed William A. Fletcher acting CEO. With this appointment, the board of directors has discontinued its previously announced search for a permanent, full-time president and CEO. Fletcher has been a director of NTI since February 2007.

Bothell, WA (Feb. 2)-SCOLR Pharma, a specialty pharmaceutical company, appointed Bruce S. Morra president and CEO. Morra has served as a member of the SCOLR Pharma board of directors since August 2007.

Lexington, MA (Feb. 9)-Synta Pharmaceuticals, a biopharmaceutical company, appointed Vojo Vukovic vice-president of clinical research. Vukovic will report to Eric Jacobson, senior vice-president and chief medical officer.

Ann Arbor, MI (Feb. 6)-The contract research organization Velesco Pharmaceutical Services added two members to its scientific team. Peter Angus was appointed director of analytical chemistry, and Lisa Crandall was appointed senior analytical scientist.

Cambridge, MA (Feb. 6)-The board of directors of Vertex Pharmaceuticals appointed Matthew Emmens president and announced that he will transition to president, CEO, and chairman in May 2009 upon Joshua Boger’s retirement. Emmens has been a Vertex director since 2004. Boger, who founded Vertex in 1989, will retire from his position as CEO of Vertex on May 23, 2009, but will remain a member of the board of directors.