Company and People Notes: Orexo Acquires Biolipox, Avalon Cofounder Resigns, More

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ePT--the Electronic Newsletter of Pharmaceutical Technology

Company and People Notes: Orexo acquires Biolipox, Avalon cofounder resigns, more...

Company Notes

Dayton, OH (Oct. 15)-AcuTemp Thermal Systems, a designer and manufacturer of high-performance insulation and temperature-sensitive packaging for the pharmaceutical and other industries, announced that its temperature-controlled air cargo container, the “AcuTemp AX2100L,” has received Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) approval. The unit was made in collaboration with AmSafe Bridport (a business unit of AmSafe, Phoenix, AZ), AcuTemp’s partner in the certification process and in marketing the unit to the air cargo industry. This is the first time the FAA has certified a compressor-driven refrigeration unit, permitting its use in the cargo section of an aircraft.

Deefield, IL (Oct. 16)-Baxter International signed an agreement with Kaketsuken, the Chemo-Sero-Therapeutic Research Institute based in Kumamoto, Japan, for the worldwide rights to develop, manufacture, and market the recombinant protein ADAMTS13. Recombinant ADAMTS13 is a bio-engineered version of a naturally occurring enzyme that plays a role in blood coagulation. Without ADAMTS13, patients develop a severe, often life-threatening condition called thrombotic thrombocytopenic purpura (TTP), marked by the formation of platelet-rich blood clots in blood vessels throughout the body. The development of ADAMTS13 will strengthen Baxter’s preclinical research and development pipeline for specialty therapeutics targeting rare diseases.

Reston, VA (Oct. 15)-Clinical Research Information eXchange (CRIX) International announced that Northrop Grumman will provide support and security services for the CRIX technology platform, a collaborative research environment for the drug development industry. Formed through initial capital contributions from Pfizer, Amgen, and Novartis, the CRIX platform will: provide life sciences organizations with a suite of services that will offer more efficient clinical work processes; lower operational costs; reduced development expenses; faster and increased access to information; and faster drug development times. Northrop Grumman will provide hosting, security, scaling, credentialing users, and helpdesk support for the CRIX platform, which will be fully operational in early 2008.


Uppsala, Sweden (Oct. 15)-Orexo will acquire Biolipox (Stockholm, Sweden), a research-based pharmaceutical company that develops therapies for inflammatory diseases. The transaction will take place through an issue in kind to Biolipox’s shareholders. The deal values Biolipox at SEK 856 million ($132.4 million), and payment will be made through an issue of a maximum of 8,560,000 Orexo shares. The company will retain the Orexo name, and headquarters will remain in Uppsala.

San Diego (Oct. 10)-PacificGMP, a contract manufacturing organization, signed an agreement with BD Biosciences, a segment of BD (Becton, Dickinson and Company), whereby PacificGMP will generate and provide storage for master and working cell banks and perform antibody manufacturing for BD Biosciences. Master and working cell banks are a well-documented two-level storage system of mammalian cells, which may be used in production of biopharmaceuticals such as monoclonal antibodies, viral vectors, or recombinant DNA products. PacificGMP will conduct the master cell bank and antibody manufacturing in compliance with current good manufacturing practices (CGMP) standards.

Marlborough, MA (Oct. 11)-Xcellerex raised $31 million in Series C financing. The company plans to advance the development and commercialization of its “FlexFactory” manufacturing system and “XDR” bioreactors for the production of biomolecules, including biotherapeutics and vaccines, and develop its own internal biomolecule products. VantagePoint Venture Partners, a new investor, led the financing. Existing investors, including Kleiner Perkins Caufield and Byers, and SCG Investments, also participated.


People Notes

Germantown, MD (Oct. 15)-Avalon Pharmaceuticals announced the resignation of Alan Walton, PhD, from the board of directors, effective November 1, 2007. Walton is a cofounder of Avalon and served as the company’s chairman from its inception in 1999 until July of this year, when Bradley G. Lorimier assumed the chairman’s role.

New York and Petach Tikvah, Israel(Oct. 12)-BrainStorm Cell Therapeutics, a developer of adult stem cell technologies and therapeutics, appointed Rami Efrati as chief executive officer. Efrati’s appointment comes as BrainStorm approaches the clinical phases of its research.

Aurora, ON, Canada (Oct. 15)-Jerome F. McElroy resigned as chairman and director of Helix BioPharma, a biopharmaceutical company specializing in the field of cancer therapy, to pursue his retirement interests. The company will designate a new Chairman to succeed McElroy in the near term.

Vaudreuil-Dorion, QC, Canada (Oct. 11)-The board of directors of Immunotec appointed James A. Northrop as president and chief executive officer, effective November 5, 2007. Northrop is a member of Immunotec’s board of directors.

Atlanta (Oct. 16)-Metastatix, a pharmaceutical company focused on the development of small- molecule therapeutics, appointed Carol G. Gallagher president and chief executive officer. Having recently closed a $35-million Series B round, Gallagher will lead the company as it conducts clinical trials of its candidate MSX-122 in cancer patients and as it advances development programs in inflammation and HIV infection.

San Diego (Oct. 15)-MicroIslet, a biotechnology company, named Amaresh Basu, PhD, vice-president of research and development.