Week of Apr. 14, 2011: Company and People Notes: Alynlyam forms drug-delivery pact with the University of British Columbia; Linda S. Mayer Joins Schott North America; and More.

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Alynlyam forms drug-delivery pact with the University of British Columbia; Linda S. Mayer Joins Schott North America; and More.

Company Notes

AlCana Technologies, the University of British Columbia, and Alnylam Pharmaceuticals have extended the companies' RNA interference (RNAi) therapeutics research collaboration for a third year. The research collaboration was initiated in August 2009 and focused on the discovery of cationic lipids used in lipid nanoparticles for the systemic delivery of RNAi therapeutics.

Amgen has expanded its operations in Brazil with the acquisition of Bergamo, a privately held Brazilian pharmaceutical company. Amgen also has agreed to reacquire rights in Brazil to its products that were previously granted to Mantecorp, a Brazilian pharmaceutical company.

The contract manufacturing organization AMRI has entered into a development and long-term exclusive commercial supply agreement with Parnell Manufacturing, an Australian company specializing in the research, development, and manufacture of veterinary products.

FDA has approved AstraZeneca's orphan drug vandetanib, a kinase inhibitor to treat medullary thyroid cancer that cannot be removed by surgery or that has spread to other parts of the body.

Camargo Pharmaceutical Services announced its expansion into Research Triangle Park with the opening of a new office in North Carolina.

The pharmaceutical and manufacturing company Cangene is making organization changes in its Canadian operations to reflect decreased US government contract-manufacturing activity and align its workforce with the company’s strategic focus on commercial products. The company is eliminating 40 positions and had previously eliminated 60 positions between Aug. 1, 2010 and Jan. 31, 2011, bringing the total positions eliminated in the current fiscal year to 100, or 12% of the company’s workforce. The company’s US contract-manufacturing operations, Cangene bioPharm, based in Baltimore, are not affected.

The biopharmaceutical company Cephalon said in a preliminary consent revocation statement filed with the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) that its board of directors has recommended that shareholders reject the specialty pharmaceutical company Valeant Pharmaceuticals International's proposals to remove and replace Cephalon's current board of directors and not deliver any consent solicitation cards to Valeant. On Apr. 5, 2011, Cephalon's board rejected Valeant's unsolicited proposal to purchase the company for $73 per share, concluding that the nonbinding proposal is inadequate and not in the best interests of Cephalon's shareholders.

Compass Biotechnologies, an Edmonton-based company developing biosimilars and biobetters, has signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with PanGen Biotech, a South Korean company that develops Chinese hamster ovary cell lines. The terms of the MOU lay down the foundation for a definitive agreement to be signed within the next 60 days between the parties, whereby PanGen will manufacture under cGMP conditions, active pharmaceutical ingredients, which will be used to produce the biobetter versions of various drug products.

Eisai has established a new pharmaceutical sales subsidiary in Brazil, which will be named Eisai Participações Ltda. (Eisai Brazil). As a direct subsidiary of the company's US pharmaceutical operation Eisai Inc., Eisai Brazil will be based in San Paulo.


Algeta, a company specializing in anticancer therapeutics, has formed a research collaboration with Genzyme to evaluate the potential of its Thorium platform. Under the terms of the collaboration, Genzyme will provide access to a proprietary tumor-targeting antibody, and Algeta will provide access to its thorium platform to attach the alpha-emitting payload thorium-227. Both companies will contribute resources toward the collaboration, which is expected to last for up to a year initially.

GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) has agreed to form a joint venture with the Medical Research Council, Imperial College of London, King's College of London, and the University College London that assumes responsibility for the facilities and operations at GSK's Clinical Imaging Center. Under the agreement, the center's operations and staff are expected to transfer to the newly formed joint venture in the third quarter of 2011. GSK has agreements with the joint venture to support its long-term engagement in drug discovery and imaging research.

Millennium, the oncology arm of Takeda Pharmaceuticals, and the biopharmaceutical company Sunesis Pharmaceuticals have formed a license agreement for the development of Sunesis' oral, selective pan-Raf kinase inhibitor and one additional undisclosed kinase inhibitor program in oncology.

NextPharma, a contract development and manufacturing company, announced that it has enhanced its clinical trials services (CTS) facility in Göttingen, Germany, through the installation of a ModuC LS IPC encapsulation/over-encapsulation capsule filling machine.

Novartis has completed its acquisition of the eye-care company Alcon. In other news, Novartis has licensed from GW Pharmaceuticals Sativex (delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol and cannabidiol), an endocannabinoid modulator developed and manufactured by GW. The drug is designed to treat spasticity due to multiple sclerosis.

OctoPlus, a drug-delivery company, has signed a feasibility agreement with an undisclosed top-10 biopharmaceutical company to develop a controlled-release formulation.

Zacharon Pharmaceuticals, a company specializing in glycobiotechnology, has entered into a strategic research collaboration with Pfizer to develop drugs for orphan diseases, including lysosomal storage disorders. The potential value of the collaboration to Zacharon is approximately $210 million. The collaboration includes the potential development of compounds that may be discovered using Zacharon’s platform for developing small-molecule drugs targeting specific carbohydrate polymers or glycans.

People Notes

Schott North America, a specialty glass and materials company, has appointed Linda S. Mayer as president and CEO, effective Apr. 1, 2011.