Company and People Notes: Pfizer's Lipitor Patent Revoked in Germany, Promotions at Charles River Labs, More

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ePT--the Electronic Newsletter of Pharmaceutical Technology

Pfizer's Lipitor patent revoked in Germany, promotions at Charles River Labs, more.

Company notes

Palo Alto, CA (Nov. 5)-Alexza Pharmaceuticals and Autoliv ASP Inc., the North American subsidiary of Stockholm-based Autoliv Inc., completed a commercial manufacturing and supply agreement for chemical heat packages, a key component of Alexza’s novel single-dose “Staccato” system. The portable, single-dose Staccato devices each contain a metal heat package that is chemically heated through a battery-initiated reaction of energetic materials. The devices are used in a majority of Alexza’s current product candidates. Autoliv will manufacture the chemical heat packages of the Staccato system.

Phoenixville, PA (Nov. 2)-Bilcare Global Clinical Supplies, a provider of global clinical supplies and services, completed and opened five state-of-the-art primary packaging rooms at its Phoenixville facility. During the fourth quarter of 2007, Bilcare will complete the next phase of upgrades with the release of five additional primary rooms. This expansion will give Bilcare a total of 10 primary and 16 secondary packaging rooms within its 153,000- foot2 US operation.

Oak Brook, IL (Oct. 31)-Bio-Bridge Science, a biotechnology company engaged in the commercial development of vaccines for the prevention and treatment of human infectious diseases, executed a non-binding letter of intent to acquire 51% of Lanzhou Roya Biotechnology, a bovine serum manufacturer in China. The serum market size in China is estimated to be RMB 500 million ($67 million) per year.

Parsippany, NJ (Nov. 6)-DSM Pharmaceuticals, a global supplier of pharmaceutical manufacturing services, expanded its service offerings to include formulation development and clinical trial manufacturing for solid dosage form products. With more than 20 product launches per year, DSM has a 37-year history of successfully manufacturing complex solid dosage forms for the commercial pharmaceutical market. 

Martinsried/Munich, Germany & Princeton, NJ (Nov. 6)-GPC Biotech announced that a three-arbitrator panel of the American Arbitration Association, which was appointed to resolve a dispute over claims raised by Spectrum Pharmaceuticals (Irvine, CA) against GPC Biotech regarding their codevelopment and license agreement for satraplatin, has issued its decision in favor of GPC Biotech. The panel unanimously rejected all of Spectrum’s claims of breach of contract and found no violations of the agreement by GPC Biotech.


New York (Oct. 29)-Pfizer announced that the Federal Patent Court in Munich, Germany, has revoked the company’s patent covering Lipitor’s active ingredient atorvastatin calcium. Ranbaxy Laboratories (Gurgaon, India) and Basics GmbH, (Leverkusen, Germany) both generics manufacturers, had challenged the patent. The court decision has no immediate commercial impact as neither generics company has received regulatory approval in Germany for their generic versions of the drug, and because Pfizer’s basic patent covering atorvastatin remains in force, and expires after the enantiomer patent, which expires in November 2011. Pfizer said it will appeal the decision.

Shanghai (Oct. 30)-ShangPharma, a China-based pharmaceutical and biotechnology research and development outsourcing company, received a $30-million investment from the global private investment firm TPG, through its TPG Growth Fund and TPG Biotech Fund. ShangPharma, through its subsidiaries, is a contract research provider in China, offering services in lead generation, lead optimization, synthetic chemistry, library design and production, process research, and pharmaceutical development with an emphasis on preformulation development and analytical service.

People Notes

Dublin, OH (Nov. 5)-Cardinal Health, a global provider of products and services to the health care industry, announced that Mark W. Parrish is stepping down as chief executive officer of the company’s Healthcare Supply Chain Services (HSCS) sector to pursue other interests, effective Nov. 5, 2007. Chief financial officer Jeffrey W. Henderson will assume the additional role of interim CEO of HSCS until a permanent successor is named. The company has commenced an external search for the HSCS position.

Wilmington, MA (Nov. 2)-Charles River Laboratories International made several senior promotions, including: Brian Bathgate, PhD, to corporate senior vice-president and president, European preclinical services; Jorg Geller, DVM, PhD, to corporate senior vice-president, Japanese operations and global large research model and avian operations; and Christopher Perkin to corporate senior vice-president and president, Canadian preclinical services.

Mississauga, Canada (Oct. 31)-Dr. Martin Barkin informed the board of directors of DRAXIS Health that he will retire as the president and chief executive officer of the company effective Dec. 31, 2007. Barkin joined the senior management of DRAXIS in 1992. Until a successor is appointed as president and CEO, Dan Brazier, presently chief operating officer, will take on the roles and responsibilities currently held by Barkin.

Gaithersburg, MD (Nov. 5)-MedImmune announced several new senior appointments across the organization. Joining the company are Alexander A. Zukiwski, MD, senior vice-president, clinical research; Timothy J. Hahn, PhD, vice-president, antibody manufacturing; and Timothy J. Maines, vice-president, corporate quality assurance. In addition, new executive promotions include Jonathan Klein-Evans, JD, vice-president, intellectual property; and Timothy Pearson, vice-president and chief financial officer.

Woburn, MA (Nov. 5)-SRU Biosystems, a provider of highly sensitive labeled and label-free detection technologies, appointed Richard Wagner, PhD, president, chief executive officer, and a member of the board of directors. Wagner, who has been an advisor to the company since 2002, replaces Owen Dempsey, who resigned from the company to pursue other interests.

Tokyo (Nov. 6)-Sucampo Pharma, a wholly owned Japanese subsidiary of Sucampo Pharmaceuticals, a company developing prostone-based therapies for age-related and other diseases, named Kunihiko Soneoka representative director, president and chief executive officer, effective Nov. 2, 2007. With more than 35 years of experience in the pharmaceutical industry, Soneoka’s goal in his new position will be to lead the international expansion of Sucampo Pharmaceuticals’ prostone-based therapies in the Asia-Pacific region.