May 17, 2007 Notes: Actavis Reviews Novator's Takeover Offer, Albemarle Moves to Michigan, Aptuit Establishes New Facility, more

May 17, 2007
Pharmaceutical Technology Editors
ePT--the Electronic Newsletter of Pharmaceutical Technology

Aptuit, Actavis, BASF, Bristol-Myers Squibb, more

Company Notes

Hafnarfjordur, Iceland (May 11)-The directors of Actavis (www.actavis.com) are reviewing a takeover offer made by Novator (London, www.novator.co.uk), an investment company led by Bjorgolfur Thor Bjorgolfsson, Actavis's chairman. Novator is offering EUR.98 (approximately $1.30) per share.

Baton Rouge, LA (May 15)-Albemarle Corp. (www.albemarle.com) is moving the operations of its Dayton, Ohio manufacturing plant to its recently acquired facility in South Haven, Michigan. The company expects to begin the move before the end of the second quarter of 2007. As part of the move, Albemarle will reduce personnel at its facility in Dayton. Some employees will be moved to South Haven or other Albemarle sites.

Greenwich, CT (May 10)-Aptuit (www.aptuit.com) will establish a new clinical-packaging and logistics facility on the east coast of the United States and build a larger, more modern facility in Deeside, United Kingdom. The US facility will be located near Philadelphia and will accommodate formulation development, analytical testing, and manufacturing operations. The 400,000–500,000-ft2 site is expected to be completed by summer 2008. The site in Deeside also is expected to be completed in 2008.

Milford, MA (May 16)-Avecia OligoMedicines (www.aveciabiotech.com) plans to further expand its manufacturing facility in Milford to enhance its capabilities in siRNA and aptamer manufacturing. Avecia expects the new facility and equipment to be online by September 2007. As part of the expansion, the company will install new large-scale cleavage-deprotection vessels and equipment to enable large-scale siRNA manufacture.

Ludwigshafen, Germany (May 9)-BASF (www.basf.com) is expanding its manufacturing capacity for the intermediate tetrahydrofuran (THF) by 30,000 tons per year. The decision to expand is a response to growing demand for THF in the European pharmaceutical industry. The expansion will raise the company's total annual production of THF to 210,000 metric tons.

Evans City, PA (May 8)-BASF USA (www.basf.com/usa) will present its online seminar on Suzuki–Miyaura cross-coupling technology on May 24 at 10 a.m. EST. Suzuki–Miyaura cross coupling is a synthetic tool for forming carbon-carbon bonds that help pharmaceutical companies build complex molecules more efficiently. The presentation will be given by Karl Matos, PhD, BASF's research manager, inorganics. More information can be found here.

New York (May 10)-Bristol-Myers Squibb Company (BMS, www.bms.com) reached an agreement with the Antitrust Division of the United States Department of Justice (DOJ, Washington, DC, www.usdoj.gov) to resolve DOJ's criminal investigation of the proposed settlement agreement between BMS, its product partner sanofi-aventis, and Apotex Inc. regarding "Plavix" patent litigation. BMS will plead guilty to criminal charges, including two counts of violating Section 1001 of US Code Title 18 relating to false statements to a government agency. The charges carry a maximum fine of $1 million.

London (May 11)-CMPi (www.cmpinformation.co.uk) will debut CPhl South America in 2008. The show will be held in São Paulo, Brazil September 9–11 and complements other CPhl events in Japan, China, and India. The last CPhl event to be launched, CPhl India, drew more than 11,000 attendees and 325 exhibitors.

Newcastle-Upon-Tyne, UK (May 4)-Excelsyn (www.excelsyn.com) received a $9.8-million coinvestment from Endless LLP (Leeds, UK, www.endlessllp.com) and NorthStar Equity Investors (Newcastle, UK, www.northstarei.com). Excelsyn plans to use most of the investment to upgrade and expand its pharmaceutical development and manufacturing facility in Holywell, United Kingdom. The first phase will be completed in 2007, and the second phase is scheduled for completion in 2008.

Rockville, MD (May 9)-The US Food and Drug Administration (www.fda.gov) approved "Neupro," a skin patch that treats symptoms of early Parkinson's disease. Neupro is the first transdermal patch approved for this treatment. It is manufactured by Schwarz Bioscience (Research Triangle Park, NC, www.schwarzpharma.com)

Plantation, FL (May 7)-Goodwin Biotechnology (www.goodwinbio.com) is doubling its manufacturing space with an expansion begun in mid-2006. The company is installing two new stir-tank bioreactors and relocating, upgrading, and tripling the size of its process development laboratory.

Pasadena, CA (May 15)-Jacobs Engineering Group (www.jacobs.com) received a contract from Biogen Idec (Cambridge, MA, www.biogenidec.com) to provide engineering, procurement, validation, and site-support services for a cell-culture manufacturing facility in Hillerod, Denmark. The facility, the first of its kind in Hillerod, will produce multiple sclerosis treatment "Tysabri." The facility is scheduled for completion in 2009.

Baltimore, MD (May 14)-Students at Johns Hopkins University (www.jhu.edu) developed a thin strip that dissolves in the mouth and is capable of delivering rotavirus vaccine to infants. The film dissolves within one minute, prompting the baby to swallow the vaccine. The medication is coated with a material that protects it from stomach acids but allows it to be released in the small intestine. The vaccine will be especially useful in developing countries, where rotavirus currently causes more than 500,000 deaths per year. Current vaccines must be chilled for transport and storage, making delivery to impoverished areas difficult and expensive. The strips are easy to transport and do not require refrigeration.

Montabaur, Germany (May 11)- The Klöckner Pentaplast Group (www.kpfilms.com) plans to build a manufacturing plant in Aurangabad, India. The $20-million plant will produce films for pharmaceutical and food packaging. The location also will house a center of excellence for pharmaceutical films. The center will pursue process development, technology transfer from other Klöckner excellence centers, best practice implementation, and special services to the pharma industry. Klockner expects the facility to be operational by early 2008.

Basel, Switzerland (May 9)-Lonza Group Ltd. (www.lonza.com) will start large-scale production of antibody drug conjugates. Antibody drug conjugates are used primarily in the treatment of cancer because they offer accurately targeted application possibilities. Lonza will invest in a new production unit and in supporting development and analytical laboratories, all of which will be located in Visp, Switzerland. Construction of the commercial-scale plant in Visp began at the end of 2006. The first stage is expected to be on line in 2008.

Oss, Netherlands (May 16)-Organon (www.organon.com) entered into a collaborative agreement with Medarex, Inc. (Princeton, NJ, www.medarex.com) to develop and commercialize human antibody therapeutics for treating cancer and autoimmune disorders. The companies will use Medarex's "UltiMAb" human antibody development system and will share all development and commercialization responsibilities for any antibody-based therapeutics that result from the collaboration.

Goettingen, Germany (May 15)-Sartorius (www.sartorius.com) signed a new supply agreement with Thermo Fisher Scientific Inc. (Waltham, MA, www.thermofisher.com). The agreement covers the reciprocal supply of products for biopharmaceutical process applications between Sartorius and TC Tech Corp (Maple Plain, MN, www.tc-tech.com), an affiliate of Thermo Fisher. TC Tech will supply Sartorius with disposable process containers through 2007 and with disposable process containers assembled with Sartorius filter capsules until 2012. Sartorius will continue to supply TC Tech with filter units for an additional five years.

People Notes

Cambridge, MA (May 14)-Biogen Idec Inc. (www.biogenidec.com) named Lewis J. Klunk, PhD, vice-president, drug metabolism and pharmacokinetics. Klunk will be responsible for developing and managing all pharmacokinetic and metabolism studies for products Biogen submits to regulatory authorities. Klunk joined the company in 2005 after serving as executive director of discovery with Bristol Myers Squibb.

Los Angeles, CA (Apr. 30)-Christopher M. Haqq, MD, PhD, has been appointed senior director of clinical research and development and Arturo Molina, MD, was named senior vice-president of clinical research and development with Cougar Biotechnology, Inc. (www.cougarbiotechnology.com). Haqq joins the company from Amgen Inc., where he led the early development oncology group. Molina served as senior director and acting head of the oncology/hematology therapeutic area at Biogen Idec.

Foster City, CA (May 10)-Gilead Sciences, Inc. (www.gilead.com) promoted Paul Carter to senior vice-president, international commercial operations. Carter joined the company in 2006 as leader of Gilead's European commercial organization. He previously held various positions at GlaxoSmithKline.

South San Francisco, CA (May 14)-Hana Biosciences (www.hanabiosciences.com) appointed Steven R. Deitcher, MD, executive vice-president and chief medical officer. Deitcher joins the company from Nuvelo, where he served as vice-president and chief medical scientist.

Nutley, NJ (May 14)-Roche's (www.rocheusa.com) current global head of pharma development operations, Dan Zabrowski, PhD, was promoted to global head of Roche pharma partnering. Zabrowski will oversee the company's strategic alliances with biotech companies and will create new alliances. He joined the company in 1995, after holding a variety of positions in regulatory affairs with Syntex, Inc.

Marlborough, MA (May 15)-Adrian Adams was named president and chief operating officer of Sepracor Inc. (www.sepracor.com). Adams joined the company in March 2007 after serving as president and chief executive officer of Kos Pharmaceuticals, Inc.