Company Notes for Apr. 6, 2006

April 6, 2006
Pharmaceutical Technology Editors

Company Notes for Apr. 6, 2006

Company News

As part of an ongoing effort to optimize its manufacturing operations, Watson Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (Corona, CA, www.watsonpharm.com) announced plans to divest its injectable manufacturing facility located in Phoenix, Arizona. The Phoenix facility currently manufactures fifteen products, including several manufactured for third parties.

Novartis AG (Basel, Switzerland, www.novartis.com) raised its bid to acquire Chiron Corporation (Emeryville, CA, www.chiron.com) to $48 per share for the remaining 56% of Chiron shares it already does not own. Two key shareholders-CAM North America and ValueAct Capital-have informed Novartis and Chiron that they will vote in favor of the deal. The merger is expected to close April 19, 2006.

GlaxoSmithKline PLC (GSK, London, England, www.gsk.com) and Sirna Therapeutics Inc. (San Francisco, CA, www.sirna.com) formed an exclusive, multiyear strategic alliance for the discovery, development, and commercialization of RNAi-based therapeutics for respiratory diseases. GSK will make a $12-million initial payment to Sirna. Sirna may receive milestone payments in excess of $700 million for collaboration and clinical development events and royalties sales. It also will be eligible to receive contract-manufacturing revenues.

Abbott Laboratories (Abbott Park, IL, www.abbott.com) announced on Tuesday that it will implement two environmental projects and pay a penalty of $57,372 to settle allegations of clean air violations with the US Environmental Protection Agency (Washington, DC, www.epa.gov). Alleged violations include failing to comply with leak-detection and repair requirements for hazardous air pollutants.

3M (St. Paul, MN, www.3m.com) announced that it is exploring strategic alternatives for its global branded pharmaceuticals business, including selling off the division. The pharmaceuticals division, part of 3M's Health Care business, discovers, develops, manufactures, and sells branded drug products related to dermatology, women's health, cardiology and respiratory medicine.

Airgas (Radnor, PA, www.airgas.com) announced on Monday that it acquired Byrne Specialty Gases (Seattle, WA, www.byrnegas.net). Airgas will run the acquired operations, which include two facilities in Seattle and Vancouver, Washington, as a dedicated unit within Airgas Nor Pac, one of its regional companies.

Sigma-Aldrich Corporation (St. Louis, MO, www.sigmaaldrich.com) expanded its presence in China by establishing a wholly foreign-owned enterprise Sigma-Aldrich (Shanghai) Trading Co., acquiring Beijing Superior Chemicals and Instruments Company Ltd., its primary distributor in China, increasing the size of its administrative staff in Shanghai, and opening a leased transit warehouse in the PuDong area of Shanghai. 

Crucell NV (Leiden, the Netherlands, www.crucell.com) plans to divest the biopharmaceutical and vaccine manufacturer Rhein Biotech GmbH (Düsseldorf, Germany, www.rheinbiotech.com) to Dynavax Technologies Corporation (Berkeley, CA, www.dynavax.com) for €10 million ($12 million). The deal is expected close in the second quarter 2006.

HollisterStier Contract Manufacturing (Spokane, WA, www.hollister-stier.com) signed a letter of intent with Prism Pharmaceuticals Inc. (King of Prussia, PA, www.prismpharma.com) to develop a process for compounding and fill–finishing Prism's PM 101, a cardiovascular drug. HollisterStier is producing "PM 101" registration material for clinical trials and is supporting Prism's new drug application. PM 101 will be filled into vials and syringes.

Novartis (Basel, Switzerland, www.novartis.com) has raised its bid to purchase Chiron (Emeryville, CA, www.chiron.com) by $3 per share, from approximately $5.1 billion to $5.4 billion.

Millipore Corporation (Billerica,WA, www.millipore.com) agreed to acquire Newport Bio Systems Inc. (Anderson, CA, www.newportbio.com), a provider of process containers used in biopharmaceutical production.

Shasun Chemicals & Drugs Ltd. (Chennai, India, www.shasun.com) completed its acquisition of the pharmaceutical custom synthesis business of Rhodia SA (Paris, France, www.rhodia.com).

Astellas Pharma US Inc. (Deerfield, IL, www.us.astellas.com) agreed to buy worldwide rights to "Amevive" (alefacept), an anti-inflammatory drug by Biogen Idec Inc. (Cambridge, MA, www.biogenidec.com). Biogen Idec will continue to manufacture Amevive and supply product to Astellas. The deal is expected to close in mid-April.

Lubrizol Corporation (Cleveland, OH, www.lubrizol.com) agreed to sell its active pharmaceutical ingredient and intermediate compounds businesses with facilities in Raubling, Germany and Chennai, India to the private equity firm Auctus Management GmbH (Munich, Germany, www.auctus.de). This is Lubrizol's fifth and last planned divestiture of noncore businesses that tallied combined revenues of $500 million.

People

Baxter International Inc.  (Deerfield, IL, www.baxter.com) appointed Cheryl L. White to corporate vice-president of quality. White had been serving in an interim capacity in the role since November 2005.

Merck & Co. Inc. (Whitehouse Station, NJ, www.merck.com) named Peter Loescher, president and CEO of GE Healthcare Bio-Sciences (www.gehealthcare.com, Little Chalfont, UK) and member of GE's Corporate Executive Council, to Merck's newly created position of president, global human health, effective May 1, 2006. Loescher will have direct responsibility for Merck's four marketing and sales divisions: US Human Health, Human Health Asia Pacific, Human Health Intercontinental (Europe, Middle East, Africa, Canada and Latin America), and Merck Vaccines.

Boris D. Lushniak, MD, assistant commissioner at the US Food and Drug Administration (Rockville, MD, www.fda.gov) and captain in the Commissioned Corps of the United States Public Health Service, was promoted to assistant surgeon general and rear admiral by direction of the surgeon general, Vice-Admiral Richard Carmona.

Arch Pharmalabs (Mumbai, India, www.archpharmalabs.com) annouced that Raj Iyer will become president of the company’s US subsidiary effective April 15. Iyer will be based in the San Francisco area and lead Arch’s strategic, commercial, and marketing initiatives for the North American pharmaceutical and biotech sectors.

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