Company Notes: Gibraltar Expands Facilities; Allozyne Appoints New President and CEO, More

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ePT--the Electronic Newsletter of Pharmaceutical Technology

Company Notes: Gibraltar expands facilities; Allozyne appoints new president and CEO, more.

Company Notes

Seattle, WA (Oct. 26)-Allozyne, a biotechnology company that develops and manufactures improved protein therapeutics, closed a $30-million Series B financing. Proceeds from the financing will advance Allozyne’s lead product candidate into clinical development and through the completion of Phase I clinical trials. The product is an improved version of Interferon beta for the treatment of multiple sclerosis.

Craigavon, UK (Oct. 23)-Almac today announced a £50-million ($103-million) investment in a headquarters facility in southeast Pennsylvania. The move will create at least 262 new jobs within three years and retain 495 existing positions. The new positions include software development and laboratory specialists. Almac provides integrated research, development, and manufacturing services to the pharmaceutical industry.

Cambridge, UK (Oct. 29)-Cambridge Antibody Technology (CAT) is changing its name to MedImmune to fit AstraZeneca’s (London) plan for its worldwide biologics business. The new business unit will unite the resources and expertise from CAT, the pre-existing MedImmune (Gaithersburg, MD), and other AstraZeneca biologics activities under the “MedImmune” name. AstraZeneca has thus created a vertically integrated biotechnology business with more than $1.3 billion in revenues in 2006.

Somerset, NJ (Oct. 24)-Catalent Pharma Solutions added rapid microbial methods (RMM) to its services. RMM uses flow cytometry and fluorescent cell labeling technologies to detect microbial organisms within one day. The US Food and Drug Administration has approved at least three pharmaceutical manufacturers’ use of RMM in sterility testing under the process analytical technology initiative. RMM providing rapid results, thereby minimizing regulatory risk and plant downtime.

Keele, UK (Oct. 22)-Cobra Biomanufacturing signed an agreement with Advaxis (North Brunswick, NJ) to manufacture Phase II clinical-trial material of a therapeutic cervical cancer vaccine known as Lovaxin C.

Fairfield, NJ (Oct. 29)-Gibraltar Laboratories, a life-science testing and consulting firm, completed the first phase of a 14,000-ft2 expansion of its laboratory facilities. The project is expected to generate approximately 10–20 new jobs in the areas of microbiology, chemistry, and quality assurance. The expansion provides Gibraltar with new microbiology laboratories to perform compendial pharmaceutical and biotechnology services.

London (Oct. 26)-GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) announced a significant new £1.5-billion ($3.1-billion) Operational Excellence program to improve the productivity of its operations. The program is expected to deliver total annual pretax savings of as much as £700 million ($1.45 billion) by 2010. About 40% of the savings will come from the company’s manufacturing operations. The total savings will partly mitigate the expected impact of generic competition and low sales of “Avandia.”

Loures, Portugal (Oct. 29)-Hovione’s Technology Transfer Center (TTC) in East Windsor, New Jersey, successfully passed a preapproval inspection by the US Food and Drug Administration. The inspection lasted three days, and the inspector indicated she would recommend approval of the site. This inspection covered the TTC’s first commercial product, a high-potency, small-molecule active pharmaceutical ingredient for an injectable formulation.

Stockholm (Oct. 25)-Meda agreed to acquire Recip (Haninge, Sweden), a Nordic pharmaceutical company. Meda will take over the existing Recip sales and organization. Meda also will obtain product rights, trademarks, and the right to the Recip name. The acquisition is expected to contribute sales of about SEK 850 million into Meda’s operation during 2008.


Rockville, MD (Oct. 25)-Novavax agreed with Allergan (Irvine,  CA) to terminate its manufacturing supply agreement for “Estrasorb,” an approved estrogen product to relieve hot flashes. Under agreement, Novavax will complete the manufacture of remaining orders for the product and will close its Philadelphia manufacturing facility during the next few months. Allergan will continue to sell Estrasorb from available inventory.

Stockholm (Oct. 29)-The pharmaceutical company Swedish Orphan International took over the assets of ViraNative (Umeå, Sweden), a biotechnology company. ViraNative filed for bankruptcy in September and Swedish Orphan International acquired the bankruptcy estate. Through the takeover, Swedish Orphan International acquires the worldwide rights for the drug “Multiferon,” approved in Sweden for the treatment of malignant melanoma.

Mumbai (Oct. 24)-Wockhardt Limited acquired Morton Grove Pharmaceuticals (Morton Grove, IL), a leading liquid generic and speciality dermatology company with sales revenue of $52 million. The acquisition will boost Wockhardt’s US revenue by providing dosage forms including tablets, capsules, liquids, and injectables. Wockhardt will now have 54 products for the US market, 23 of which are now being marketed.

People Notes

Berkeley, CA (Oct. 30)-Aerovance promoted Anthony M. Rimac to vice-president and chief financial officer. Rimac previously served as Aerovance’s vice-president of finance. He will report to Mark L. Perry, the company’s president and chief executive officer.

Seattle, WA (Oct. 26)-Allozyne appointed Meenu Chhabra as president and chief executive officer. Chhabra previously served as vice-president of business development and licensing for Novartis Consumer Health (Geneva). Chhabra has also held management positions at BioXell (Milan), NeurAxon (Toronto), and Fresenius Kabi (Bad Homburg, Germany).

Florham Park, NJ (Oct. 29)-BASF appointed Dr. Christof Herion director of production for its intermediates unit in Geismar, Louisiana. The unit produces diols, derivatives, and amines. Since joining BASF in 1989, Herion has held various technical and commercial positions in process licensing, catalyst marketing, petrochemical operations, and marketing of intermediate chemicals.

New York (Oct. 26)-Pfizer announced that Vice-Chairman David L. Shedlarz will retire at the end of this year after 31 years with the company. Shedlarz served on Pfizer’s senior management committee for 15 years and also served as chief financial officer for 10 years.

Princeton, NJ (Oct. 26)-David Natan, executive vice-president of reporting and analysis and chief accounting officer at PharmaNet Development Group, agreed to leave the company. Natan’s severance agreement is currently being negotiated. The material terms of his severance that are required by his current employment agreement were approved by the independent members of the board of directors on Oct. 24, 2007.

Gaithersburg, MD (Oct. 29)-Sequoia Pharmaceuticals named Steven D. Skolsky its president and chief executive officer. Skolsky will also serve as a member of the company’s board of directors. Sequoia discovers and develops novel antiviral therapeutics and pharmacokinetic enhancers.

Redwood City, CA (Oct. 24)-Threshold Pharmaceuticals appointed John G. Curd president and chief medical officer. Curd joins Threshold as a member of the company’s management team. He will lead the clinical development of the company’s product candidates and help identify additional opportunities for Threshold.