May 10, 2007 Notes: Althea Builds New Manufacturing Facility, Avecia Launches "pAVEway", Bosch to Acquire Pharmatec, More

May 10, 2007
Pharmaceutical Technology Editors
ePT--the Electronic Newsletter of Pharmaceutical Technology

Althea, AstraZeneca, Bosch, more

Company Notes

San Diego, CA (May 3)-Althea Technologies, Inc. (www.altheatech.com) completed the initial phase of construction on its new CGMP manufacturing facility. The warehouse and materials-management section of the facility are now complete, and the active pharmaceutical ingredient (API) and aseptic fill-and-finish wings are still under construction. The API facility houses a fermentation train leading to a 1000-L scale batch production with downstream processing facilities. The aseptic fill-and-finish wing will include automated vial and syringe filling, inspection, and labeling equipment capable of producing batch sizes larger than 100,000 units. Construction of the 30,000 ft2 facility began in January 2007. Once completed, Althea will occupy a total of 80,000 ft2.

Waltham, MA (May 7)-AstraZeneca (www.astrazeneca-us.com) began construction of a $100-million research and development expansion at its facility in Waltham. The 132,000-ft2 facility is scheduled for completion in mid-2009. Once complete, it will accommodate up to 100 additional researchers.

Billingham, Cleveland, United Kingdom (May 3)-Avecia Biologics (www.avecia.com) launched "pAVEway," its new biotherapeutic protein production technology. pAVEway enables microbial production of a wide range of proteins for use in vaccines, cytokines, and growth factors. The platform combines three expression systems, offering a method of fast-tracking process creation and development.

London (May 3)-The Blackstone Group (www.blackstone.com) acquired the Klockner Pentaplast Group (Gordansville, VA, www.kpfilms.com) from Cinven (London, www.cinven.com) and JPMorgan Partners LLC (New York, www.jpmorganpartners.com). The total purchase price is EUR 1.3 billion ($1.8 billion). The sale is subject to approval by regulatory authorities and is expected to close in June.

Stuttgart, Germany (May 2)-The Bosch Group (www.bosch.com) will acquire Pharmatec GmbH (Dresden, Germany, www.pharmatec.de/en), a provider of systems and lines with a focus on hygenic and aseptic process technologies. The acquisition includes Pharmatec's subsidiary Schoeller-Bleckmann Medizintechnik Ges.m.b.H (Ternitz, Austria, www.sbm-a.at/cms/index.php?en).

Muttenz, Switzerland (May 8)-Clariant (www.clariant.com) plans to sell its custom manufacturing business to International Chemical Investors Group (ICIG, Frankfurt, Germany, www.ic-investors.com) in order to focus on its core competencies in colors, surfaces, and performance chemicals. The custom manufacturing business supplies intermediates and active ingredients for the agrochemical, pharmaceutical, and polymer industries. The transaction value was not disclosed. Last year, Clariant sold its pharmaceutical fine chemicals business to the private equity firm TowerBrook Capital Partners, which later launched the business as Archimica (Frankfurt, Germany, www.archimica.com).

Lenexa, KS (May 3)-CyDex, Inc. (www.cydexinc.com) licensed its "Captisol" technology to Sunesis Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (South San Francisco, CA, www.sunesis.com). Sunesis will use Captisol to formulate an Aurora kinase inhibitor with potent antitumor activity. Captisol improves water solubility, bioavailability, and complexation characteristics of insoluble or unstable drugs. The agreement gives Sunesis global rights to Captisol for its Aurora kinase inhibitor.

Morrisville, NC (May 2)-Diosynth Biotechnology (www.diosynthbiotechnology.com) signed a process-development and CGMP production agreement with VGX Pharmaceuticals (Blue Bell, PA, www.vgxp.com). Diosynth will develop a process to produce clinical trial material for VGX's biological therapeutic drug candidate VGX-100.

Chalfont St. Giles, United Kingdom (May 3)-GE Healthcare (www.gehealthcare.com) completed a license agreement with NorDiag ASA (Bergen, Norway, www.nordiag.no) that gives NorDiag access to GE patents for the biomagnetic isolation of nucleic acids. The agreement gives NorDiag the rights to isolate and purify nucleic acids using GE's proprietary magnetic separation technology.

Whitehouse Station, NJ (May 4)-Merck & Co., Inc. (www.merck.com) issued a statement expressing disappointment in the Government of Brazil's decision to issue a compulsory license for Merck's HIV drug "Stocrin." The compulsory license breaks Merck's patent and makes it possible it attempted to negotiate with the Brazilian government and tendered a fair offer on Stocrin. Merck remains open to exploring a mutually acceptable agreement with the Brazilian government.

Oxford, United Kingdom (May 4)-Midatech Group Ltd. (www.midatechgroup.com) opened its specialist design and manufacturing facility for CGMP-grade nanoparticles in Bilbao, Spain. The facility, Midatech Biogune S.L., is the world's first CGMP-grade manufacturing plant for the production of nanoparticles at a scale commensurate with pharmaceutical applications, according to the company. Midatech Biogune initially will focus on designing and manufacturing nanoparticles to supply Midatech Group's nanotechnology projects.