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Actavis, Altus Pharmaceuticals, Covance, more
Reykjavik, Iceland (Nov. 21)-Actavis Group (www.actavis.com) acquired a 51% stake in Russian pharmaceutical manufacturer ZiO Zdorovje (Podolsk, Russia) for EUR47 million (approximately $60 million). Nearly half the investment will be used to create a platform for increased production and capacity at ZiO Zdorovje’s manufacturing site.
Allschwil, Switzerland (Nov. 20)-Actelion Ltd. (www.actelion.com) entered into an agreement to acquire CoTherix, Inc. (Brisbane, CA, www.cotherix.com) for approximately $420 million. Actelion is offering $13.50 per CoTherix share, which represents a 21% premium over the stock’s closing price on Nov. 17. The transaction is expected to be completed early in the first quarter of 2007.
San Dieto, CA (Nov. 15)-Aegis Therapeutics (www.aegisthera.com) announced the results of a study that confirms the effectiveness of its “Intravail” transmucosal absorption enhancement agents in oral delivery of antisense drugs. The study, which was conducted by an independent third party, found that antisense drugs administered orally in conjunction with the Intravail agents showed systemic bioavailability of as much as 18%. Drugs administered without Intravail showed zero absorption.
Craigavon, UK (Nov. 10)-Almac Pharma Services (www.almacgroup.com/pharmaServices) plans to expand its formulation facilities by opening a revamped, 10,500 ft2 building later this month. The building, located at the company’s headquarters in Craigavon, cost approximately $10.5 million and will provide extended formulation development services in solid oral-dosage forms from preclinical through to pilot scale.
Cambridge, MA (Nov. 17)-Altus Pharmaceuticals Inc. (www.altus.com) signed a long-term agreement with Lonza Group Ltd. (Basel, Switzerland, www.lonza.com) that allows Altus to commercially manufacture its “ALTU-135” drug substances at Lonza’s facility in Kourim, Czech Republic. ALTU-135 is an orally administered enzyme-replacement therapy for patients with pancreatic insufficiency.
Princeton, NJ (Nov. 15)-Covance (www.covance.com) entered into a nonexclusive agreement with Xceleron (York, UK, www.xceleron.co.uk) to obtain ultrasensitive analysis. Xceleron developed accelerated mass spectrometry (AMS) technology that detects molecules at high levels of sensitivity. Covance hopes to use AMS technology for microdose studies, which study the behavior of compounds in vivo through the administration of doses low enough to avoid producing whole-body effects, but high enough to observe pharmacokinetic effect. Using AMS should help cut waste because only very small biological samples for specific biochemical seprations are needed.
Leiden, Netherlands (Nov. 21)-Crucell N.V. (www.crucell.com) signed an agreement to acquire SBL Vaccin AB (SBL, Stockholm, Sweden, www.sblvaccines.se) for EUR39.4 million (approximately US $51 million). The acquisition is expected to be completed Nov. 23. Crucell also announced plans to raise EUR80 million (approximately $103 million) by issuing new ordinary shares to fund the acquisition of SBL, refinance the acquisition of Berna Products Corporation that was completed on Oct. 2, 2006, and repay the outstanding debt of Berna Biotech AG.
Lake Forest, IL (Nov. 20)-Hospira (www.hospira.com), STADA Arzneimittel AG (Bad Vibel, Germany, www.stada.de), and Bioceuticals Arzneimittel AG announced development, manufacturing, and distrbution agreements for a biosimilar version of erythropoietin for use in the treatment of anemia in dialysis and certain oncology applications. Hospira will obtain exclusive distribution rights for Bioceuticals’ erythropoietin in the European Union and several other European countries, except Germany, where it will hold semiexclusive rights. In addition, Hospira will retain exclusive distribution rights in the United States and Canada and will be solely responsible for the development and manufacture of the product in those countries. Bioceuticals will receive an approximately $21 million upfront payment and an additional $34 million if specified objectives are met over the next several years. The company also will receive incremental royalty payments on commercial sales.
San Diego, CA (Nov. 21)-Specialty pharmaceutical company Santarus, Inc. (www.santarus.com) announced that its license agreement with Schering-Plough HealthCare Products, Inc. (www.sphcp.com) is now effective. The agreement involves the development, manufacturing, and commercialization of “Zegerid” for the over-the-counter (OTC) market. Santarus will receive a $15-million upfront license fee and will continue to manufacture, promote, and sell Zegerid in 40 and 20 mg dosages for the US prescription market. Schering-Plough will develop, manufacture, and commercialize OTC Zegerid products with the lower dosage strength of 20 mg for heartburn-related indications.
Albany, NY (Nov. 20)-Following the recently announced restructuring of its large-scale manufacturing facility in Rensselaer, New York, Albany Molecular Research, Inc. (AMRI, www.albmolecular.com) announced two leadership changes. Steven R. Hagen, PhD, was promoted to vice-president for quality and analytical chemistry. In this role, he will be responsible for regulatory activites and for overseeing analytical and quality functions at AMRI’s facilities. He previously served as senior director of analytical quality services. In addition, Paul F. Vogt, PhD, was appointed director of manufacturing at the Rensselaer manufacturing facility. Vogt joined AMRI in 1997 as a senior research chemist and eventually waspromoted to director of chemical development.
San Diego, CA (Nov. 20)-Anadys Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (www.anadyspharma.com) appointed Lawrence C. Fritz, PhD, president and chief executive officer. Fritz previously served as president and chief executive officer of Conforma Therapeutics Corporation, which he also founded.
Baltimore, MD (Nov. 20)-Lentigen Corporation (www.lentigen.com) announced that Adam L. Sachs was named president of commercial operations. Sachs previously served as director of manufacturing for Life Technologies and QIAGEN Sciences.
Boston, MA (Nov. 15)-Ramond T. Oji was appointed senior consultant at Parexel Consulting (www.parexelconsulting.com). Oji brings to the position 40 years of experience performing pharmaceutical inspections and drug and device analyses as a former microbiologist and consumer-safety officer with the US Food and Drug Administration.
San Mateo, CA (Nov. 20)–Alfred Rudolph, MD, chief operating officer of SciClone Pharmaceuticals (www.sciclone.com), left the company on November 17. The company appointed Friedhelm Blobel, PhD, president and chief executive officer, to assume Rudolph’s duties until a successor is found.
Chennai, India (Nov. 16)-Shasun Chemicals and Drugs (www.shasun.com) promoted N. Govindarajan to the position of CEO and managing director. Govindarajan joined the company in January 2000 as general manager of research and development, project, and planning and rose to the position of vice-president of research and development.
Boston, MA (Nov. 16)-Robert Speziale, vice-president of business development with Invetech, was named chair of the Society for Biomolecular Sciences’ Partners in Commerce Committee (SBS, www.sbsonline.org). He will ensure a balance between the interests of commercial vendors and the research and development community. In addition, he will be responsible for upholding the mission of the society, which is to advance the understanding and technology of biomolecular sciences.