Feb. 1, 2006 Notes: Akorn signs supply agreement with PrimaPharm, Inc., Alliance acquires Guangzhou Pharmaceuticals Corporation, more

February 1, 2007
Pharmaceutical Technology Editors
ePT--the Electronic Newsletter of Pharmaceutical Technology

Akorn, PrimaPharm, ARTEL, FMC, more

Company Notes

Buffalo Grove, IL (Jan. 30)-Akorn, Inc. (www.akorn.com) signed an exclusive supply agreement with PrimaPharm, Inc. (San Diego, CA, www.primapharm.net) for "Hydase," an NDA drug product designed to increase the absorption and dispersion of other injected drugs. Under the terms of the agreement, PrimaPharm will manufacture Hydase and Akorn will have exclusive maketing and distribution rights in the United States and Puerto Rico. Akorn expects to launch the product in the first half of 2007.

London (Jan. 29)-Alliance BMP Limited, an investment vehicle formed by Alliance Boots (www.allianceboots.com) and Beijing Med-Pharm Corporation (Plymouth Meeting, PA, www.beijingmedpharm.com) plans to acquire a 50% stake in pharmaceutical wholesaler Guangzhou Pharmaceuticals Corporation (Guangdong, China). The total cost is estimated to be approximately RMB 545 million ($69 million).

Palm Springs, CA (Jan. 30)-ARTEL (www.artel-usa.com) now offers liquid-handling quality-assurance services, an expansion of their previously launched quality assurance services for liquid delivery. The company is launching its new liquid-handler performance-verification service, which provides third-party, documented assessment of equipment accuracy and precision. Those using the new service will receive a service visit from a trained ARTEL application specialist, who will conduct device verification using ARTEL's multichannel verification system. The service will provide on-site verification of automated liquid handlers from multiple vendors.
 
Cambridge, UK (Jan. 29)-BioProgress plc (www.bioprogress.com) and Magenta Oral Dose Design (www.fmcmagenta.com), a business unit of FMC (Philadelphia, PA, www.fmc.com), finalized restructuring agreements regarding the licensing of the "NRobe" technology. NRobe is a solid oral-dose system that enrobes powders and particulates within dry polymer films to produce a dosage form comparable in appearance with film-coated or gel-dipped tablets or two-piece hard capsules. Under the agreement, BioProgress will receive enhanced royalties based upon NRobe income generated by FMC. FMC retains exclusive rights to NRobe and will continue to develop, commercialize, and promote the system.

Wellesley, MA (Jan. 22)-Following its decision to suspend development of its product candidate for the treatment of hepatitis C virus, Coley Pharmaceutical Group, Inc. (www.coleypharma.com) will reduce its workforce by approximately 22%, or 33 employees. The employees are mostly drug development staff and have been offered severance and outplacement support.

Cupertino, CA (Jan. 29)-Durect Corporation (www.durect.com) and Hospira Worldwide, Inc. (Lake Forest, IL, www.hospira.com) entered into a long-term manufacturing and supply agreement for Durect's postsurgical pain-management investigational drug "Posidur." Hospira will provide Durect with clinical and commercial supplies of Posidur. Both companies have begun manufacturing development activities in accordance with the agreement.

South San Francisco, CA (Jan. 29)-Genentech (www.gene.com) and Tanox, Inc. (Houston, TX, www.tanox.com) received a request for additional information and documentary materials from the US Federal Trade Commission (FTC, Washington, DC, www.ftc.gov) in connection with Genentech's proposed acquisition of Tanox. The FTC's review could now extend beyond the first quarter of 2007, though the companies expect the transaction to close within the first half of 2007.

Aachen, Germany (Jan. 30)-Grünenthal GmbH (www.grunenthal.com) extended its licensing agreement for tapentadol, a centrally-acting analgesic, with Ortho-McNeil Pharmaceutical, Inc. (Raritan, NJ, www.ortho-mcneil.com) to include the Japanese market. Ortho-McNeil's affiliate, Janssen Pharmaceutical K.K. will arrange for tapentadol to be developed for marketing in Japan. Grünenthal will be responsible for the commercial supply of the analgesic.

South Easton, MA (Jan. 24)-Tablet press manufacturer Korsch AG (www.korschamerica.com) formed a partnership with Thomas Engineering, Inc. (Hoffman Estates, IL, www.thomaseng.com), a distributor of tablet presses, tablet coating pans, and tablet-press tooling. Under the agreement, Thomas Engineering will work with Korsch to promote, sell, and support Korsch equipment in North America.

Princeton, NJ (Jan. 30)-Laureate Pharma, Inc. (www.laureatepharma.com) entered into an agreement to produce Trubion Pharmaceuticals, Inc.'s (Seattle, WA, www.trubion.com) "TRU-016" protein for the treatment of non-Hodgkin's lymphoma and chronic lymphocytic leukemia. Laureate will manufacture TRU-016 for preclinical and clinical testing, and Trubion will retain all development and commercialization rights for the program.

Indianapolis, IN (Jan. 29)-Eli Lilly and Company (www.lilly.com) completed its previously announced acquisition of ICOS Corporation (Bothell, WA, www.icos.com). Lilly acquired all outstanding shares of ICOS common stock for $34 per share, for a total of approximately $2.3 billion.

Paris (Jan. 29)-French financial newsletter La Lettre de l'Expansion has feuled speculation that a merger is about to take place between Sanofi-Aventis (en.sanofi-aventis.com) and Bristol-Myers Squibb Co. (London, www.bms.com). The newsletter reported that a premerger deal was thought to have been signed by both companies last week. If the merger does take place, it would create the world's biggest drug company. According to an Jan. 29 article from CNNMoney.com, a Sanofi spokesperson refused to comment on the matter, stating that the company did not comment on press speculation.

Somerset, NJ (Jan 24)-SommaTech Consulting (www.sommatechconsulting.com) announced a strategic collaboration with Pharmaceutical Technologies International, Inc. (Skillman, NJ, www.pt-int.com), which develops tablet formulation expert systems and compaction simulation technology that offers companies a cost-effective way to develop and manufacture new product formulations. The collaboration will provide SommaTech clients access to formulation design and characterization studies that analyze and identify potential performance issues early in the drug formulation process.

Birmingham, AL (Jan. 30)-Southern Research Institute (www.southernresearch.org) signed an agreement with Absorption Systems, LP (Exton, PA, www.absorption.com) that will allow the two organizations to collaborate in providing biotechnology and pharmaceutical clients with contract research services in the areas of toxicology and bioanalytical services. The organizations will work together to offer their clients expanded preclinical development services for new compounds about to enter clinical development. They also will conduct collaborative business development, comarketing, and scientific publication projects.

Fairfield, NJ (Jan. 29)-Unigene Laboratories, Inc. (www.unigene.com) will receive $2.5 million to supply Novartis (Basel, Switzerland, www.novartis.com) with a bulk peptide to support Novartis's development program for an osteporosis treatment. Unigene will develop a manufacturing process for the peptide, and Novartis will be able to purchase additional quantities of the peptide as necessary.