March 23, 2007 Notes: Cobra Joins Vaccine-Delivery Development Consortium, InterMune to Cut 50% of its Workforce, More

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ePT--the Electronic Newsletter of Pharmaceutical Technology

Cobra, InterMune, Pall, More

Company Notes

Keele, UK (Mar. 6)-Cobra Biomanufacturing Plc ( joined a consortium formed to develop a new oral vaccine-delivery system based on live bacterial spores. The consortium includes international experts in immunology and vaccine development. The research program will use genetically engineered spores to express vaccine determinants on their coat. The consortium initially will target malaria and tuberculosis, but it intends to broaden its research base in the future.

Brisbane, CA (Mar. 20)-In a bid to reduce annual operating expenses, InterMune, Inc. ( will cut 50% of its workforce–116 full-time and contract positions. Staff reductions will be primarily in the clinical, regulatory, medical-affairs, and commercial areas, and the majority are expected to occur in April. In addition, the company is terminating the "Inspire" trial, further reducing development, clinical, and regulatory costs. The changes are expected to reduce annual operating expenses by $40 to $50 million.

East Hills, NY (Mar. 15)-Pall Corporation ( filed a patent-infringement action against BioQuate, Inc. (Clearwater, FL). Pall alleges that BioQuate is manufacturing and selling disposable aseptic-connector devices that infringe on a patent on Pall's "Kleenpak" aspetic connector. Pall is seeking damages and an injunction preventing BioQuate from selling the product.


Nottingham, UK (Mar. 20)-A new contract manufacturing company, R5, was established on the BioCity campus in the United Kingdom. R5 will produce oral dosage forms in small quantities for use in Phase I and II trials. The company expects to expand to sterile injectables in the near future.

New Haven, CT (Mar. 21)-Vion Pharmaceuticals, Inc. ( extended its manufacturing agreement with SAFC (, a member of the Sigma-Aldrich Group. SAFC will continue to act as a high-potency active pharmaceutical ingredient manufacturing partner for Vion's "Cloretazine" anticancer drug. The amended contract extends the original 2003 agreement to 2009.


People Notes

Washington, DC (Mar. 16)-Kevin Sharer, Amgen's chief executive officer and president, was re-elected chairman of the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America (PhRMA, In addition, Richard Clark, chief executive officer and president of Merck, was elected chairman of PhRMA's board, and David Brennan, chief executive officer of AstraZeneca, was elected treasurer of PhRMA's board. Pfizer chairman ad chief executive officer Jeffrey Kindler was made a member of PhRMA's board of directors.

Albany, NY (Mar. 14)-Albany Molecular Research, Inc. ( named Jonathan D. Evans vice-president of pharmaceutical development and manufacturing. Evans will be responsible for AMRI's chemical development, small-scale CGMP manufacturing, quality-control and assurance, and large-scale commerical manufacturing. He joins the company after 13 years with General Electric's advanced materials division.

San Mateo, CA (Mar. 20)-James E. Pennington, MD, was appointed executive vice-president and chief operating officer of Anthera Pharmaceuticals, Inc. ( Pennington previously held executive vice-president positions with CoTherix, Inc. and InterMune, Inc.

Vancouver, BC, Canada (Mar. 22)-Chemokine Therapuetics Corp. ( appointed C. Richard Piazza chief executive officer. Piazza succeeds Hassan Salari, who will continue to serve as president and also take on the role of chief scientific officer for Chemokine.

Richmond, VA (Mar. 19)-Following its acquisition of Mimotypes Pty. Ltd, Commonwealth Biotechnologies, Inc. ( appointed former Mimotypes managing director Paul D'Sylva director and chief executive officer.

Rockville, MD (Mar. 22)-Emergent BioSolutions Inc. ( promoted several executives to support the company's global business-development strategies and manufacturing initiatives. Former senior vice-president and general counsel Daniel J. Abdun-Nabi was promoted to president of the company. Robert G. Kramer, Sr. was appointed executive vice-president of manufacturing operations. Denise Esposito was promoted to senior vice-president and general counsel, and Mauro Gibellini was appointed senior vice-president of corporate development. The changes will be effective April 1, 2007.

Gaithersburg, MD (Mar. 22)-Charles L. Dimmler III was promoted to president and chief executive officer of Gene Logic Inc. ( Dimmler joined the company in May 1996.

Foster City, CA (Mar. 19)-Pharmatech Asssociates ( named Gregg Ekberg director of project management. Ekberg previously served as general manager of ATS California Division.