Sept. 21, 2006 Notes: AZ opens labs; Metrics expands; more

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ePT--the Electronic Newsletter of Pharmaceutical Technology

AstraZeneca, Schering AG, Bioxel Pharma

Company Notes

London, UK (Sept. 18)-AstraZeneca ( opened two new scientific laboratories this week. The company's cancer research area building, located in Alderley Park, Cheshire, was opened Sept. 18. The building, which incorporates state-of-the-art laboratories for 265 scientists, cost more than GBP 60 million (about $113,400,000) to build and is the company's largest single UK investment to date. AstraZeneca also opened a new biology building, which provides work space for as many as 75 scientists. The biology building is located in Charnwood, Leicestershire.

London, UK and Berlin, Germany (Sept. 15)-AstraZeneca ( and Schering AG ( will co-develop and jointly commercialize Shering's “SERD” (selective estrogen receptor downregulator) to treat breast cancer. Under the terms of the agreement, clinical development will be AstraZeneca's responsibility, while Schering will lead the nonclinical and process development as well as the manufacturing activities. The companies will copromote the product and equally share all development and commercialization costs and global profits.

Sainte-Foy, QC, Canada (Sept. 15)-Bioxel Pharma ( will manufacture the first industrial-scale CGMP batch of its key intermediate for docetaxel. According to the company's president and CEO, this milestone indicates that Bioxel is capable of efficiently manufacturing semisynthetic taxanes to meet the demands of leading pharmaceutical companies. Bioxel is pursuing commercial discussions with pharmaceutical companies that will ensure the efficient manufacturing and distribution of its docetaxel product.


Atlanta, GA (Sept. 13)-Invistics( joined forces with Clarkston Consulting ( to help manufacturers in asset-intensive industries streamline their manufacturing and supply-chain operations to improve performance and profitability using Invistics' “MachSix” methodology and manufacturing software. MachSix incorporates Lean Manufacturing and Six Sigma techniques to expose opportunites to improve operational performance by reducing inventory and cycle times and improving service levels and manufacturing throughput. Clarkston will map ERP and supply-chain systems to MachSix to provide new levels of visibility and control for plant floor operations.

Greenville, NC (Sept. 19)-Metrics Inc. ( announced that it is undertaking a $17.5-million facility expansion to supplement the company's clinical batch manufacturing and commercial production capabilities. The 47,000-ft2 expansion is due to be completed by June 2007 and will contain laboratories, additional storage capacity, and 17,000 ft2 of pharmaceutical manufacturing space geared toward larger-scale clinical batch manufacture and commercial production.

Nutley, NJ (Sept. 14)-Roche ( announced that a “Tamiflu” supply chain is now fully operational in the US. The supply chain, which is part of the global production network Roche established at the request of the US Department of Health & Human Services (Washington, DC,, has an annual production capacity of 80 million treatment courses. Roche hopes that its global production network will be capable of producing 400 million treatment courses of Tamiflu annually by the end of 2006.

People Notes

San Diego, CA (Sept. 14)-Avera Pharmaceuticals, Inc. ( appointed Dinu Sen as chief executive officer. Sen joins Avera from Corus Pharma, Inc., where he was chief commercial officer. He has also held management positions at Cubist Pharmaceuticals, PathoGenesis Corporation, and Amgen, Inc.

St. Louis, MO (Sept. 19)-Chemir Analytical Services ( appointed Lawrence R. Lima III, PhD, vice-president of pharmaceutical services. He will direct the drug development services of Chemir's Maryland Heights facility. Lima previously worked for Analytical Biochemistry Laboratories and he managed projects for Allergan Pharmaceuticals and Proctor & Gamble Pharmaceuticals.

Philadelphia, PA (Aug. 14)-Joseph B. Schwartz, PhD, died Aug. 14 of Leiomyosarcoma. He was 65. Schwartz was the Burroughs-Wellcome Professor of Pharmaceutics and Director of Industrial Pharmacy Research at the Philadelphia College of Pharmacy ( In addition, he served on the board of directors of the Controlled Release Society and the FDA's Generic Drug Advisory Committee. He also was the editor of the PDA Journal of Pharmaceutical Science and Technology. Schwartz is survived by his wife, Gloria; children Mike, Jeff, and Dori; and sister Meryl.

Kenilworth, NJ (Sept. 19)-The board of directors of Schering-Plough Corporation ( elected Thomas P. Koestler, PhD, executive vice-president and president of the Schering-Plough Reasearch Institute ( Koestler joined the company in 2003 as head of global regulatory and Project Management. Before joining Schering-Plough, Koestler held positions at Pharmacia Corporation, Novartis, and Bristol-Myers Squibb.