Week Of March 1, 2010: Company And People Notes: Astellas Pharma Makes Bid for OSI Pharmaceuticals; Ringo Retiring From Pfizer; And More.

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ePT--the Electronic Newsletter of Pharmaceutical Technology

Astellas Pharma Makes Bid for OSI Pharmaceuticals; Ringo Retiring From Pfizer; And More.

Company Notes

Astellas Pharma (Tokyo) issued an unsolicited offer of $3.5 billion for outstanding shares of biopharmaceutical company OSI Pharmaceuticals (Melville, NY). OSI acknowledged receipt of the offer and advised stockholders to take no action at this time.

AstraZeneca (London) informed Merck & Co. (Whitehouse Station, NJ) it would obtain Merck's interest in AstraZeneca's non-proton, pump-inhibitor products. Merck will receive a payment of $647 million from AstraZeneca.

Biopharmaceutical company ARYx Therapeutics (Fremont, CA) retained Cowen and Company to explore strategic options. ARYx will explore the possibility of capturing full near-term value for its three lead programs rather than pursuing other licensing deals.

Global healthcare company Baxter International (Deerfield, IL) will acquire the outstanding equity of ApaTech (London), an orthobiologic products company, for up to $330 million. The transaction is expected to close in the first quarter of 2010.

Cephalon (Frazer, PA) acquired Ception Therapeutics (Malvern, PA) following release of positive data from a clinical study in adults with eosinophilic asthma. Ception's lead compound, CINQUIL (reslizumab), in 106 patients demonstrated improved asthma control in adult patients with moderate to severe asthma and eosinophilic airway inflammation.

Eli Lilly (Indianapolis, IN) and Covance (Princeton, NJ), a contract research organization, expanded their research and development collaboration. Covance will now also test Lilly’s developmental biologics.

GlaxoSmithKline (London) responded to the US Senate Committee on Finance report on the company's antidiabetes drug Avandia (rosiglitazone), saying it failed to present an accurate, balanced, or complete view of the currently available information on Avandia. In a press release, GSK denied allegations in the report that it concealed safety information or otherwise acted inappropriately; In other news, the US Food and Drug Administration and GSK announced joint efforts to investigate the theft of products that were stolen during transport from the distributor to wholesalers in Puerto Rico on January 29, 2010.

Merck & Co. (Whitehouse Station,NJ) announced that its new pipeline, following the recent merger with Schering-Plough (Kenilworth, NJ), includes more than 20 candidates in Phase III or under regulatory review, and more than 20 candidates in Phase II development.

NanoGuardian (Skokie, IL) and Capsugel (Morris Plains, NJ) agreed to collaborate to fight counterfeiting and illegal diversion. Capsugel will use NanoGuardian’s overt, covert, and forensic-security features directly on capsules, tablets, vial caps, and single-use syringes.


PPD (Wilmington, NC) opened its contract research facility in Athlone, Ireland. The new facility includes an 18,000-square-foot, analytical-testing laboratory and clinical-supplies business.

The contract development and manufacturing company Ricerca Biosciences (Concord, OH) has agreed to acquire the discovery and preclinical business MDS Pharma Services, which has facilities in Bothell, Washington; Lyon, France; and Taipei, Taiwan. Ricerca’s headquarters will remain in Concord, Ohio. The transaction is expected to close within the next two months.

Regulus Therapeutics (Carlsbad, CA) agreed to collaborate with GlaxoSmithKline (London) to develop and commercialize microRNA therapeutics targeting microRNA-122 in all fields with hepatitis C as the lead indication. Regulus will receive upfront and early-stage milestone payments with the potential to earn more than $150 million in miR-122-related combined payments.

Watson Pharmaceuticals (Morristown, NJ) agreed to divest its equity ownership of approximately 31% in the contract research and development company ScinoPharm (Taiwan). Watson, which expects the transaction to close during the first half of 2010, plans to use proceeds from the sale for general business purposes and future strategic business-development initiatives.

People notes

Pfizer (New York) announced the retirement of William Ringo, senior vice-president of worldwide business development, strategy and innovation. Ringo’s retirement will be effective Apr. 30, 2010. Ringo will be succeeded by Kristin Peck, senior vice-president of worldwide strategy and innovation.

Cytovance Biologics (Oklahoma City, OK) named Molly S. McGlaughlin vice-president of sales and business development, international, and William Dull as vice-president of sales and business development, North America.

Cook Pharmica (Bloomington, IN) named Veda Walcott vice-president of quality and corporate compliance officer. Walcott will be responsible for leading Cook Pharmica’s quality and compliance programs and will oversee regulatory and validation support activities.

Genzyme (Cambridge, MA) received notice from Icahn Partners and certain affiliates of their intention to nominate Carl C. Icahn, Steven Burakoff, Alexander J. Denner, and Richard Mulligan to Genzyme’s board of directors. In a press release, Genzyme said it would evaluate the nominees and make a recommendation to its shareholders.