Week of Feb. 1, 2010: Company and People Notes: Cephalon Buys Mepha; BASi's CEO Retires; and More.

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ePT--the Electronic Newsletter of Pharmaceutical Technology

Cephalon Buys Mepha; BASi's CEO Retires; and More.

Company Notes

Abbott Laboratories (Abbott Park, IL) and Pierre Fabre (Castres, France), an independent French pharmaceutical company, agreed to collaborate on the development and commercialization of h224G11, a preclinical monoclonal antibody that targets the cMet receptor, for the treatment of cancer. The companies will also collaborate on research to explore next-generation cMet antibodies.

Catalent Pharma Solutions (Somerset, NJ), which provides outsourced dose-form manufacturing and packaging to the global pharmaceutical industry, expanded its Schorndorf, Germany, site to include a new potent-products area. The expansion will allow Catalent’s Schorndorf facility to provide complex and innovative dose-form production, overencapsulation, and packaging solutions for potent products.

International biopharmaceutical company Cephalon (Frazer, PA) agreed to purchase Mepha (Switzerland), a privately held pharmaceutical company, for $590 million. Mepha specializes in dosage formulations and markets both generic and branded-generic products. The acquisition wlll diversify Cephalon’s business mix and double the size of its international business. Mepha manufactures and markets more than 120 products in 50 countries and reported 2009 sales of $380 million.

Biopharmaceutical company Enzon Pharmaceuticals (Bridgewater, NJ) sold its specialty-pharmaceutical business to a US subsidiary of Sigma-Tau Pharmaceuticals (Gaithersburg MD). Enzon received $300 million in cash and may receive as much as $27 million more, based on the achievement of success milestones and specified royalties.

Daiichi Sankyo (Tokyo) filed a new drug application in Japan for the influenza drug CS-8958, which is delivered using Hovione’s (Loures, Portugal) TwinCaps inhaler. CS-8958 is a laninamivir prodrug, a long-acting neuraminidase inhibitor developed as an inhaled drug by Daiichi Sankyo for the Japanese market. Hovione has licensed its inhalation device patents to Daiichi Sankyo and Biota Holdings (Victoria, Australia) and collaborated on the formulation development.

The contract manufacturing organization Lonza (Basel) reported 2009 sales of CHF 2.69 billion ($2.55 billion), down from sales of CHF 2.94 billion ($2.77 billion). The company attributed the sales reduction to lower demand across all businesses, including order reductions in large-scale biopharmaceutical projects in custom manufacturing and recession-related lower demand in life-science ingredients.

Merck KGaA (Darmstadt, Germany) started construction on a production plant that will manufacture inorganic salts at its Darmstadt, Germany, site. The new plant will increase Merck’s inorganic-salts capacity by about 50%. The company is investing around EUR 30 million ($42 million) in planning, developing, and constructing the plant, which will produce active ingredients and excipients for use in biopharmaceutical production processes, additives for the food industry, and laboratory reagents. The plant is scheduled to begin operation in mid 2011.


Penwest Pharmaceuticals (Patterson, NY), a drug-development company, signed a research and development agreement with Otsuka Pharmaceutical (Japan), a global-healthcare company, to develop a formulation of an undisclosed Otsuka compound utilizing Penwest's drug-delivery technology. Terms of the agreement were not disclosed.

Regis Technologies (Morton Grove, IL), a provider of synthesis and separation services for active pharmaceutical ingredients and intermediates, passed FDA’s preapproval inspection (PAI) for its manufacture of 4-aminopyridine, the active ingredient in Ampyra. Ampyra is produced by the biopharmaceutical company Acorda Therapeutics (Hawthorne, NY) and was approved by FDA in January 2010 as a treatment to improve walking in patients with multiple sclerosis. Regis Technologies also passed its general inspection by FDA, which was conducted during the same period as the PAI.

Sartorius Stedim Biotech (Aubagne, France) and Corning (Corning, NY), both suppliers to the pharmaceutical and biotechnology industries, will jointly market cell-culture products through a combined product catalogue. The companies will also work together on other marketing and sales initiatives and joint product development.

People notes

Bioanalytical Systems (West Lafayette, IN) announced that Richard M. Shepperd, its president and chief executive officer, has retired as president and intends to retire from his other positions later this month. Anthony S. Chilton, BASi's chief operating officer, Scientific Services, was appointed interim president.

Catalent Pharma Solutions (Somerset, NJ) appointed Kurt Nielsen chief technology officer and senior vice-president, innovation and growth, effective immediately. Nielsen will be responsible for innovation activities and investments across Catalent’s advanced dose forms and packaging technologies.

Cephalon (Frazer, PA) named Kevin Buchi chief operating officer; Wilco Groenhuysen executive vice-president and chief financial officer; and Alain Aragues executive vice-president and president of Cephalon Europe.