Company and People Notes: SAFC Expands in Wisconsin, Amgen Reduces Rhode Island Staff, More

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ePT--the Electronic Newsletter of Pharmaceutical Technology

Company and People Notes: SAFC Expands in Wisconsin, Amgen Reduces Rhode Island Staff, More.

Company Notes

Fremont, CA (Aug. 28)-PDL BioPharma will now focus on the discovery and development of novel antibodies in oncology and select immunological diseases. The company decided that its commercial products and cardiovascular development programs are no longer a strategic fit, and plans to sell the rights to "Cardene," "Retavase," "IV Busulfex" and ularitide, and related assets, in one or more transactions. The company is seeking to retain staff in approximately 250 positions that support its commercial and cardiovascular products through the completion of the planned sale, but expects to later eliminate these positions.

St. Louis, MO (Aug. 29)-SAFC, a member of the Sigma-Aldrich Group, announced a $4.5-million capacity expansion program at the SAFC Pharma high-potency API facility in Madison, Wisconsin. The program, scheduled for commission in early 2008, builds upon existing capabilities at the SAFC Madison facility and adds to a $12-million, 38,000-ft.2 expansion program completed in 2006.

La Mirada, CA (Aug. 30)-The E.T. Horn Company, a distributor, supplier, marketer, and manufacturer of specialty chemicals and food ingredients, entered into an exclusive distribution agreement with Biothera (Eagan, MN) to represent its entire line of immune and health ingredients throughout the United States. Under terms of the agreement, E.T. Horn will market and distribute Biothera’s proprietary product portfolio through its FoodTech, Nutraceuticals, and Personal Care product groups.

Foster City, CA (Aug. 30)-Entelos, a life-sciences company, entered into an agreement to acquire Iconix Biosciences (Mountain View, CA), a privately held predictive toxicology company, in an all-share transaction. The effective date of the acquisition was August 31, 2007.

Ridgefield, CT and Liberty, MO (Sept. 4)-Planet Technologies, a pharmaceutical company focused on allergen avoidance products, entered into a definitive agreement to acquire Antigen Laboratories, a privately held, FDA-licensed manufacturer of allergenic extracts for immunotherapy. Under the agreement, Planet will acquire all of the outstanding equity of Antigen for $10 million, plus the payment of certain liabilities, contingent upon Planet procuring the required financing to complete the transaction.

Leuven, Belgium (Sept. 4)-ThromboGenics, a biotechnology company, announced the completion of the technology transfer to Bharat Biotech International Limited (Hyderabad, India) for the manufacture of THR-100, a variant of recombinant staphylokinase. THR-100 is a thrombolytic agent developed for the treatment of acute myocardial infarction (AMI or heart attack) and other vascular diseases, based on its ability to dissolve blood clots. ThromboGenics completed the successful transfer of its proprietary and scaled-up process for the production of THR-100, a recombinant protein. Bharat Biotech will use its manufacturing capabilities, along with technological expertise acquired from ThromboGenics, to produce clinical-grade material for upcoming clinical trials.

Midland, MI (Aug. 30)-Dow Wolff Cellulosics, a business unit of The Dow Chemical Company (Midland, MI), announced a commercial contract with Bristol-Myers Squibb (New York) to use Dow’s foam granulation technology in the development and manufacture of tablets intended for clinical and commercial use.

Corona, CA (Sept. 4)-Watson Pharmaceuticals, a specialty pharmaceutical company, received its first US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) product approval at its Goa, India facility. During the next several months, the company plans to seek FDA approval to manufacture additional solid-dosage products at the facility. By early 2008, the Goa facility is expected to be producing over 1 billion tablets and capsules annually for the US market.

Gordonsville, VA (Sept. 4)-The Klöckner Pentaplast Group will add to its North American production capacity for polyester films. Primarily used for thermoformed packaging and food-packaging applications, the new polyester-film capacity will be located at the company’s Beaver, West Virginia, manufacturing facility. Startup is targeted for March 2008 and is expected to add 15 new employees.

Wichita, KS (Sept. 4)-JCB Laboratories was granted a sublicense from Accentia Specialty Pharmacy and Mayo Medical Ventures (Rochester, MN) to compound antifungal nasal solutions and irrigations for patients undergoing treatment for chronic rhinosinusitis. Only two pharmacies in the country are currently licensed to compound the solutions. 


People Notes

Reinach, Switzerland (Sept. 3)-Nitec Pharma appointed Anders Harfstrand to chief executive officer, and Andrea Buscaglia to chief financial officer.

San Diego (Sept. 4)-Takeda San Diego named Keith Wilson, PhD, president and chief scientific officer. In this position, he is responsible for overseeing all activities related to Takeda San Diego, Takeda Pharmaceutical Company Limited’s US-based drug discovery company. 

Dresden, Germany (Sept. 4)-JADO Technologies, a developer of novel cell membrane-targeted drugs, appointed Charl van Zyl to chief executive officer. Van Zyl will take over for Dr. Gary Jennings, cofounder and former CEO/CSO, who will continue as chief scientific officer.

West Greenwich, RI (Aug. 31)-Amgen began reducing its Rhode Island staff as the company prepares to shut down one of the two drug production facilities at its West Greenwich complex. A segment of the plant’s 1,600 employees was offered a buyout package that includes a lump-sum payment, a period of continued health insurance and career counseling, Amgen spokesman Larry Bernard said.

South San Francisco, CA (Aug. 30)-Hana Biosciences, named S. Michael Imperiale, Jr., M.D. as vice-president of clinical research operations. Imperiale will oversee all aspects of clinical operations related to the development of Hana’s drug candidates.

Branford, CT (Aug. 30)-Neurogen Corporation, a small molecule drug discovery and development company, appointed George D. Maynard, PhD to the position of vice-president of early development.

Washington (Aug. 30)-Prestwick Pharmaceuticals, a privately held biotechnology company, hired Martin Stogniew, PhD as executive vice-president and chief technology officer. Stogniew will be responsible for Prestwick’s preclinical development, and regulatory and patent activities around its portfolio of products.

Copenhagen (Sept. 4)-Egalet, a Danish specialty pharmaceutical company, named Michael Fiorini as the company’s new chairman, and Peter Nordkild, formerly chief commercial officer of Pharmexa, as chief executive officer.