June 7, 2007 Notes: AstraZeneca Acquires Biologics Manufacturing Facility, Fraunhofer Receives $2.6-million Contract from the DOD, more

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ePT--the Electronic Newsletter of Pharmaceutical Technology

AstraZeneca, Barr Pharmaceuticals, Jubilant Organosys, Roche, more

Company Notes

London (June 4)-AstraZeneca acquired a biologics manufacturing facility in Montreal, Canada from DSM Biologics, Inc. The 66,000 ft2 facility will be used to manufacture antibody drug candidates for clinical trials.

London (June 6)-AstraZeneca completed its tender offer for all outstanding shares of MedImmune, Inc. AstraZeneca purchased nearly 220,000,000 shares, which represent approximately 91.6% of MedImmune's outstanding shares. AstraZeneca plans to effect a short-form merger on or about June 18, 2007 to complete the acquisition.

Woodcliff Lake, NJ (June 1)-Pliva d.d., a subsidiary of Barr Pharmaceuticals, Inc. was ordered by the commercial court of Zagreb, Croatia to pay HRK 43 million (approximately $8 million) to former employees in connection with the invetntion of a process for manufacturing azithromycin. The employees filed a complaint against Pliva in August 2001 seeking payment for inventing a procedure for obtaining azithromycin dehydrate from azithromycin monohydrate. Barr plans to appeal the decision.

Cleveland, OH (June 5)-Copernicus Therapeutics, Inc. has found that the methods used to produce DNA nanoparticles also can be applied to siRNA. Both DNA and siRNA nanoparticles are highly resistant to the degradative processes that would otherwise destroy the therapeutic benefit of the nanoparticles. DNA and siRNA nanoparticles could be used to treat numerous dieseases, including viral infections and genetic disorders.


Newark, DE (May 30)-The Fraunhofer USA Center for Molecular Biology was awarded a $2.6-million contract from the US Department of Defense (Arlington, VA) through the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA, Arlington, VA). The contract is to develop and validate a system for accelerated manufacturing of biopharmaceuticals for use in a pandemic. Under the first phase of the contract, Fraunhofer will validate its plant-based technology platform for the production of vaccines and monoclonal antibodies. The company has reached out to members of the industry and academia to help Fraunhofer complete the project. The process will be designed by the Fraunhofer USA Center for Manufacturing Innovation, Integrated BioPharma, Inc. will scale-up downstream protein purification, AMEC Biopharmaceuticals, Inc. will have responsibility for process and facility engineering, and Delaware State University will optimize nontransgenic seed production and storage.

Paris (June 1)-Ipsen is investing EUR 55 million to strengthen its manufacturing facility and pharmaceutical development center in Dreux, France. The investment will focus on formulation, analytical development, and manufacturing batches for preclinical and clinical research. The company intends to construct two new buildings by 2009 and will renovate an existing building. The investment also is expected to create 85 new jobs.

Utter Pradesh, India (June 1)-Jubilant Organosys Ltd. completed its acquisition of Hollister-Stier Laboratories (Spokane, WA). The total purchase price was $122 million.

Basel, Switzerland (May 29)-Roche formed an agrement with two African manufacturing companies, Addis Pharmaceutical Factory in Ethiopia and Varichem Pharmaceuticals in Zimbabwe, to transfer technology related to the manufacture of HIV medication. The agreement is part of Roche's Technology Transfer Initiative, which provides technical expertise and guidance for the processes to produce "Saquinavir," Roche's HIV medication. A team from Roche will work onsite at the manufacturing facilities in Africa and from the company's headquarters in Switzerland to transfer the technology. The companies will be able to produce Saquinavir for Ethiopia, Zimbabwe, and any other country within sub-Saharan Africa or defined as Least Developed by the United Nations.

Cheshire, UK (June 5)-DataLase's Packmark solution has been chosen by Schreiner MediPharm (Oberschleisseheim, Germany) to apply lot and bar codes to pharmaceutical labels. Packmark uses a low-power CO2 laster to produce a positive black image on a white background without ink ablation, producing a clean label.

Aliso Viejo, CA (June 5)-Valeant Pharmaceuticals International will sell its manufacturing facilities in Humacao, Puerto Rico and Basel, Switzerland to Legacy Pharmaceuticals International. The sale includes the divestiture of Valeant's product "Reptilase." Terms of the agreement were not disclosed.

Seattle, WA June 2)-Vical Inc. introduced the "RapidResponse" DNA vaccine platform, which is designed to quickly produce large quantities of vaccine. The platform uses a cell-fre manufacturing process and single-step vaccine purification, which can be easily scaled up by employing larger manufacturing equipment. The process involves the production of a small segment of DNA that includes only those DNA sequences essential for the specific vaccine.

People Notes

Emeryville, CA (May 31)-Bionovo, Inc. named Rob Frankenberg, PhD, vice-president of drug manufacturing. Frankenberg joins the company after serving in various positions with Bayer HealthCare.

San Diego, CA (June 4)-Carol G. Gallagher was promoted to senior vice-president of corporate development and commercial affairs with Anadys Pharmaceuticals, Inc. Gallagher joined the company as vice-president of commercial affairs in April 2006. She previously served as vice-president of sales, marketing, and product planning at CancerVax Corporation and senior director of oncology marketing at Biogen Idec, Inc.

San Diego, CA (June 5)-Cadence Pharmaceuticals, Inc. appointed Catherine J. Hardalo, MD, vice-president of cliical development. Hardalo joins the company from Schering-Plough Research Institute, where she directed the clinical development of antimicrobial products.