Sept. 14, 2006 Notes: BASF reorganizes Minden; GSK closing Bristol plant; more

September 14, 2006
Pharmaceutical Technology Editors

ePT--the Electronic Newsletter of Pharmaceutical Technology

Barr Pharmaceuticals,Inc.; Cardinal Health; GlaxoSmithKline

Company Notes

Woodcliff Lake, NJ (Sept. 11)-Barr Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (www.barrlabs.com) has had its tender offer for the purchase of 100% of the shares of Pliva d.d. (Zagreb, Croatia, www.pliva.com) approved for publication by the Croatian Financial Services Supervisory Agency (HANFA). Barr offered HRK 820 ($141.07 USD) per share, which amounts to $2.5 billion USD. The tender offer is expected to expire on Oct. 11, 2006. If the offer is accepted, Barr plans to retain the Pliva name and use the Croatia-based operations as Barr’s European headquarters.

Ludwigshafen, Germany (Sept. 4)-BASF PharmaChemikalien GmbH & Co. (www.basf.com) announced plans to reorganize and downscale its Minden production site to counter competition involving a wide variety of pharmaceutical active ingredients. The reorganization plans include a reduction in the workforce by about 200 full-time jobs. The workforce reduction is expected to be completed by mid-2007.

Dublin, OH (Sept. 12)-Cardinal Health (www.cardinal.com) entered an agreement with Trubion Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (Seattle, WA, www.trubion.com) to investigate a new method of rapidly producing biopharmaceuticals that are one third to one half the size of traditional protein-based medicines. Cardinal plans to use its patented "GPEx" technology for rapid genetic engineering of stable cell lines to produce Trubion’s proprietary "Small Modular Immunopharmaceutical" (SMIP) drug design technology. SMIP creates drug candidates of single-chain olypeptides that are one third to one half the size of monoclonal antibodies comprised of long-chain proteins.

London (Sept. 7)-GlaxoSmithKline(www.gsk.com) plans to close its manufacturing plant in Bristol, Tennessee. The plant, which produces penicillin-based antibiotics such as “Augmentin,” employs 253 workers. About 30 workers will be laid off at the end of next year, and the remainder will stay until the plant closes in either late 2008 or early 2009. The closing is the result of falling sales of Augmentin caused by the introduction of generic alternatives.

London and Philadelphia, PA (Sept. 11)-GlaxoSmithKline (www.gsk.com) has settled its transfer pricing tax dispute with the US Internal Revenue Service (IRS, Washington, DC, www.irs.gov). GSK has agreed to pay the IRS approximately $3.1 billion, which covers federal, state, and local taxes as well as interest and the benefit of tax relief on the payments made. The settlement covers the dispute for the period 1989-2000, which was due to go to trial in February 2007, and also covers the years 2001-2005.

Conshohocken, PA (Sept. 13)-NuPathe Inc. (www.nupathe.com) has completed a $15-million round of private-equity financing. The financing will support NuPathe’s clinical programs related to therapeutic products to treat migraine and other central nervous system disorders. The financing was co-led by Birchmere Ventures (Pittsburgh, PA, www.birchmerevc.com) and BioAdvance Ventures (Philadelphia, PA, www.bioadvanceventures.com) and included additional funding from Safeguard Scientifics, Inc. (Wayne, PA, www.safeguard.com)

Toronto, ON (Sept. 11)-Patheon’s (www.patheon.com) board of directors announced that it would form a special committee to evaluate the contract manufacturer’s strategic options. The company plans “a substantial noncash …impairment”  of some of the assets it acquired from Mova. In the same announcement, the company said that its general counsel, Riccardo Trecroce, would become CEO and that CFO Douglas Ludwig had resigned, to be succeeded by Nicholas Dowd. Patheon also said that its Caguas, Puerto Rico plant had resolved stability problems with one of the products made there and had resumed shipments to its client. (see full press release here)

Los Angeles, CA (Sept. 8)-Abraxis BoScience, Inc. (www.abraxisbio.com) has promoted Thomas H. Silberg to president of Abraxis Pharmaceutical Products (APP). Silberg previously served as Abraxis’s executive vice-president of commercial operations and operational excellence. In addition, Frank Harmon, who previously served as executive vice-president, global operations, will assume the role of chief operating officer for the APP division. Richard E. Maroun, currently the company’s chief administrative officer, will take on the additional roles of general counsel and corporate secretary.

Cambridge, MA (Sept. 11)-Advanced Magnetics, Inc. (www.advancedmagnetics.com) has appointed Louis Brenner, MD, as senior vice-president. In this role, Brenner will be responsible for the success of the “ferumoxytol” iron-replacement therapy program, including all aspects of the submission of the new drug application. He also will be building the medical-affairs group at Advanced Magnetics. Also, Mohammed A. Salem, PhD, has been appointed vice-president of regulatory affairs. He will provide strategic direction and leadership for all regulatory aspects of Advanced Magnetics’s drug-development programs.

Tees Valley, UK (Sept. 13)-Peter Williams has been appointed quality director of Avecia’s (www.avecia.com) biologics business. Williams previously served with Sanofi Synthelabo, Astra Pharmaceuticals, and GlaxoSmithKline. Avecia has also appointed Nicole O’Brien, PhD, commercial development manager, biologics for the US west coast. O’Brien was formerly a scientist in Biogen Idec’s oncology group.

New York, NY (Sept. 12)-Peter R. Dolan will leave his position of chief executive officer of Bristol-Myers Squibb (www.bms.com), effective immediately. The board of directors has appointed James M. Cornelius to act as interim chief executive officer. Richard K. Willard also will leave his position of senior vice-president and general counsel, effective immediately. Sandra Leung, vice-president and corporate secretary, will act as interim general counsel. Both Dolan and Willard have agreed to act as advisors to assist in the transitions.

Birmingham, AL (Sept. 13)-Southern Research Institute (www.southernresearch.org) has named John A. Secrist III, PhD president and CEO. Secrist has been with the institute for 27 years, most recently serving as vice-president of the Drug Discovery Division. His appointment is effective September 18.

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