July 13: Company and People Notes

Published on: 

ePT--the Electronic Newsletter of Pharmaceutical Technology

AAI Pharma, Alexion Pharmaceuticals, Altana, Athenagen, Cardinal Health, Nektar, Roche


AlexionPharmaceuticals, Inc. (Cheshire, CT, www.alexionpharm.com)purchased Dow's former manufacturing facility in Smithfield, RhodeIsland. The biopharmaceutical manufacturing facility will be usedprimarily to produce "Soliris" (eculizumab), the company's lead productcandidate for paroxysmal nocturnal hemoglobinuria, an acquired geneticblood disorder. Financial terms of the transaction were not disclosed.

Altana (Konstanz,Germany, www.altanapharma.com)opened a new tablet production facility in Cork, Ireland. The new plantwill extend the company's capacity for the manufacturing of existingand future products. At full operational level, the plant is expectedto produce three billion tablets per year.

Private biopharmaceutical companies Athenagen, Inc. (South SanFrancisco, CA, www.athenagen.com)and Zapaq, Inc.(Oklahoma City, OK) signed a letter of intent to merge the twocompanies. The companies both have programs focused on neurologicaldiseases, including several proprietary compounds targeting Alzheimer'sdisease. The merger is expected to close before the end of August andthe combined company will be called Athenagen, Inc.

Cardinal Health (Dublin, Oh,



)signed agreements to manufactureand package "Tamiflu" (oseltamivir) antiviral therapy for Roche (Basel, Switzerland,


)to help meet current and future demand for the influenza medicine.Under the terms of the manufacturing agreement, Cardinal Health willmanufacture 75-mg hard gelatin capsules of Tamiflu on behalf of Rocheat one of Cardinal Health's manufacturing sites in Europe. Thecompanies also have arrangements in place for Tamiflu packaging andprinted insert production at facilities in the United States.

NektarTherapeutics (San Carlos, CA, www.nektar.com) and the University of Alabama inHuntsville (UAH, Huntsville, AL, www.uah.edu) settled UAH's litigation againstNektar and Nektar founder Milton Harris (a former UAH employee)for a total cash payment of $25 million. Under the terms of theagreement, Nektar and Harris jointly made an upfront paymentof $15 million to UAH. In addition, Nektar will pay UAH $1 million peryear for ten years. UAH currently plans to apply thefunds towards its endowment and to fund scholarships for the entirecampus, including chemistry and biology programs. In exchange, UAH hasagreed to dismiss all claims related to the Nektar PEGylation patentportfolio and Nektar has agreed to dismiss all counterclaims.


AAIPharma Inc.(Wilmington, NC, www.aaipharma.com)appointed Ninad Deshpanday, PhD, to the position ofvice-president of pharmaceutical business development. In this role,Deshpanday will be responsible for all North American businessdevelopment activities in pharmaceutical development, includinganalytical, biotechnology, formulations development, GMP manufacturing,and clinical trial materials for both oral and parenteral dosage forms.

Jason Hansonjoined specialty pharmaceutical company Medicis (Scottsdale, AZ, www.medicis.com) asexecutive vice-president and general counsel. Hanson will assumeresponsibility for all legal matters and will provide guidance on awide range of legal, compliance, and operational issues.

XOMA Ltd.(Berkeley, CA, www.xoma.com)promoted Patrick J. Scannon, MD, PhD,toexecutive vice-president and chief biotechnology officer. Scannonfounded XOMA in 1980 and has been a member of the company's executiveteam and board of directors since that time. In his new role, Scannonwill drive key initiatives in national defense, serve as XOMA's chiefliaison with lawmaking branches and federal agencies of the government,and continue to oversee US-based, investigator-sponsored trials andEuropean activities for its product candidate, "NEUPREX."