Company Notes for Apr. 13, 2006

April 13, 2006
Pharmaceutical Technology Editors

Pfizer, Stevens Institute of Technology, Sanofi-Aventis...

Pfizer (New York, NY, www.pfizer.com) will acquire Rinat Neuroscience, (South San Francisco, CA, www.rinatneuro.com) a privately held biotech company that develops and manufactures  therapeutic proteins to treat neurological diseases. Rinat was founded in 2001 when Genentech granted the company broad licenses to its key neuroscience assets.  Pfizer did not announce the financial terms of the agreement, but the deal is expected to close in mid-2006.

Stevens Institute of Technology (Hoboken, NJ, www.stevens.edu) and the Tallaght Institute of Technology (Dublin, Ireland, www.it-tallaght.ie) unveiled an initiative to create an International Center for Pharmaceutical Education (ICPE), which will provide technical education and training to pharmaceutical scientists worldwide. The program will use a remote laboratory developed by Stevens to conduct live and online experiments with pharmaceutical equipment and also may use a large pilot plant at the National Pharmaceutical Education Center at Tallaght. The ICPE will grant degrees and qualifications.

Sanofi-Aventis (Bridgewater, NJ, www.sanofi-aventis.com) purchased 11.54 acres of land in Oro, Valley, Arizona, on which it plans to build a new 100,000-ft2 R&D building. Construction is expected to begin in early 2007.

Life sciences company Burrill & Company (San Francisco, CA, www.burrillandco.com) formed a global strategic partnership with medical device specialist Beijing Pharmaceutical Group (BPGC, China, www.bpgc.com.cn). The Burrill Greater China Group (BGCG) will help BPGC acquire advanced Western technology and products to address unmet market needs in China. BGCG will help BPGC form strategic alliances with Western biotechnology and pharmaceutical companies in drug development and generic drug manufacturing.

Serono's (Geneva, Switzerland, www.serono.com) controlling shareholder, the Bertarelli family, terminated discussions of a sale of the company. Bertarelli said the offers it received did not reflect the future prospects of the company.

Adventrx Pharmaceuticals (San Diego, CA, www.adventrx.com) signed a definitive merger agreement with SD Pharmaceuticals (Carlsbad, CA, www.sdpharma.com). Under the terms of the agreement, Adventrx will receive rights to eight oncology and infectious disease product candidates and SD Pharma stockholders will receive 2,100,000 shares of Aventrx common stock.

SAFC Biosciences (Lenexa, KS, www.sigmaaldrich.com/SAFC/Biosciences.html), a member of the Sigma-Aldrich Group, and Vivalis (Nantes, France, www.vivalis.com), a vaccine and therapeutic protein manufacturer, completed the first stage of their "Ex-Cell EBx" viral growth and production media. The media is designed to support the  growth and production of viral vaccines.

On April 21, Adhesives Research (Glen Rock, PA, www.adhesivesresearch.com), a developer and manufacturer of pressure-sensitive adhesives, tapes, specialty coatings, films, and laminates, will break ground on a new 25,000-ft2 pharmaceutical manufacturing facility for the company's ARx Division. This division develops and supplies high-quality drug and biopharmaceutical delivery materials and technologies.

Biotech giant Amgen Inc. (Thousand Oaks, CA, www.amgen.com) completed the acquisition of Abgenix, a company specializing in the development and manufacture of human therapeutic antibodies.  Abgenix stockholders approved the acquisition of the company on March 29, 2006.

Ampac Fine Chemicals (Rancho Cordova, CA, www.apfc.com) opened an expanded quality control laboratory for the analysis of high-potency drug intermediates and APIs. The quality control facility features two enclosed weighing stations that are housed in glove boxes with optimized facial air flow. It also includes containment for waste disposal and a sample pass trough. The facility can handle compounds with an OEL as low as 0.1 µg/m3.

People


Biopharmaceutical company CoTherix, Inc. (South San Francisco, CA, www.cotherix.com) selected Abhay Joshi, PhD, as executive vice-president and chief technical officer. Joshi has more than 17 years of global manufacturing operations and product and process development experience in the biologics, pharmaceutical, and medical device industries in the United States, Europe, Latin America, and Asia. He will be responsible for the overall management of CoTherix's technical operations, including lifecycle development and planning.

Andrew von Eschenbach, President Bush’s pick to be the permanent commissioner of the US Food and Drug Administration, resigned as director of the National Cancer Institute (NCI, Washington, DC, www.cancer.gov), addressing a longstanding concern critics have had about him since his appointment as acting FDA commissioner last fall. Von Eschenbach made the announcement at the Food and Drug Law Institute’s annual conference April 6.

Mary B. Sliwkowski, PhD, has been promoted to Genentech's (South San Francisco, CA, www.genentech.com) vice-president of regulatory affairs and chemistry manufacturing and controls (CMC). Sliwkowski will be responsible for all regulatory aspects of CMC, including the filings of biologic licensing applications, new drug applications, and investigational new drug applications, as well as regulatory submissions for contract manufacturing organization operations.

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