Week of Nov. 14, 2011: Ablynx, Merck Sorono Expand Osteoarthritis Partnership; Genzyme Makes Senior Appointments to Multiple Sclerosis, Rare Diseases Businesses; and More

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Ablynx, Merck Sorono Expand Osteoarthritis Partnership; Genzyme Makes Senior Appointments to Multiple Sclerosis, Rare Diseases Businesses; and More.

Company Notes

Ab Sciex, a provider of life-sciences analytical technologies, has acquired the mass spectrometry business of Labindia Instruments, a life-sciences service provider.

Ablynx, a biopharmaceutical company, has expanded its osteoarthritis partnership with Merck Serono, and entered into a third agreement to codiscover and codevelop Nanobodies against two targets in osteoarthritis. The companies plan to develop multispecific products, which are designed to extended half-lives. Under the terms of the agreement, Ablynx will receive an upfront payment of EUR 20 million ($27 million) payable in two tranches over the next three months and will be fully responsible for all activities and costs for each program, excluding manufacturing costs and costs relating to certain in vivo models, up to the delivery of the preclinical package that will form the basis of an investigational new drug (IND) filing or IND-equivalent filing. Ablynx is entitled to receive a further EUR 15 million ($20.3 million) for each program if the preclinical packages are accepted by Merck Serono. Ablynx has the option to continue with Merck Serono on a 50:50 codevelopment basis and share the resulting profits or to convert this collaboration into an exclusive, worldwide licensing deal with milestone payments and tiered royalties.

Baxter International has completed its acqusition of Baxa Corporation for a cash consideration of $380 million. Baxa develops pharmacy technology that enhances the efficiency and safety of oral and intravenous dose preparation and delivery.

The CDMO Bend Research has entered into a licensing agreement with Merck & Co. Under the terms of the agreement, Bend Research will provide Merck access to its proprietary spray-dried dispersion technology. Depending on Merck’s additional needs, Bend may also provide Merck with access under the license agreement to additional drug-delivery platforms and intellectual property, including modified-release technologies and drug-discovery formulation tools.

The biotechnology company ArQule and Daiichi Sankyo have entered into a license agreement for the development of a new AKT inhibitor called ARQ 092, the first compound to emerge from the companies’ November 2008 agreement to collaborate on research using the AKIP (ArQule Kinase Inhibitor Platform) technology to generate selective and potent small-molecule kinase inhibitors. Under the license agreement, Daiichi Sankyo will obtain exclusive rights for development, manufacturing, and marketing of ARQ 092 on a worldwide basis.

FEI, an instrumentation company providing imaging and analysis systems for research and industry, has acquired TILL Photonics, a provider of high-speed imaging systems for live cell fluorescence microscopy. The purchase price for the acquisition was EUR 14.5 million ($20 million), plus an earn-out payable in two years based on attainment of specified milestones.

Laboratoires Thissen, the Belgian subsidiary of the CDMO NextPharma Technologies, will file a petition for bankruptcy with the commercial court of Nivelles in Belgium. No other companies in the NextPharma group are affected by this decision. After the bankruptcy filing, it is anticipated that the court will appoint a receiver for the site who will review the potential options for its future. The principal activity at Laboratoires Thissen SA is the commercial-scale manufacturing of sterile cytotoxic products. The site currently employs a staff of approximately 300 employees.

Metrics has added neat API capsule-filling to its potent and cytotoxic facility. The company secured for its potent facility a Capsugel Xcelodose system, a powder microdoser and automated encapsulator that places API directly into capsules with a high level of accuracy. Metrics also installed a custom-built isolation system for the equipment, achieving total containment at levels approximating 30 nanograms per cubic meter of room air.

Mylan has entered into an agreement with Pfizer for the exclusive worldwide rights to develop, manufacture, and commercialize Pfizer’s generic equivalent to GlaxoSmithKline’s Advair Diskus (fluticasone propionate, salmeterol xinafoate) and Seretide Diskus, which uses Pfizer’s dry-powder inhaler delivery platform, for treating asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disorder. Pfizer will grant Mylan rights to its dry-powder delivery platform to develop and commercialize additional brand and generic pharmaceutical products, including rights of negotiation for certain existing Pfizer compounds currently in various stages of development. In connection with the transaction, Mylan will employ select key members of the former Pfizer respiratory inhalation development team based at Discovery Park in Sandwich, United Kingdom (UK), where Mylan will establish a respiratory development division. Some employees also will be based in Cambridge, UK. As part of the agreement, Mylan will pay for remaining development and capital expenditures to bring products to market. Pfizer will be due a payment of $17.5 million at closing of the transaction and will be eligible for additional payments, contingent upon regulatory and commercial success, including profit-sharing. Mylan will have exclusive commercialization rights for the generic equivalent to GlaxoSmithKline’s Advair Diskus and Seretide Diskus in the United States, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, and in the European Union and European Free Trade Association countries. In the rest of the world, Mylan and Pfizer will have copromotion rights to the product. The transaction is subject to regulatory approval and is expected to close by year-end.


The CRO Quintiles has completed its acquisition of Advion BioServices, a bioanalytical laboratory. The new subsidiary has been renamed Advion Bioanalytical Labs as a result of the transaction.

In other news, Quintilies has sold its minority interest in Invida, an Asia–Pacific commercial solutions joint venture, to the Italy-based Menarini Group, which is acquiring Invida in its entirety. Invida was formed in 2006 by Quintiles, the Zuellig Group, and TLS Beta, an Asian investment company.

Sartorius, a process- and laboratory-technology provider, has agreed to acquire the liquid-handling business of the Finnish laboratory supplier Biohit Oyj.

People Notes

BioStorage Technologies, a provider of biomaterial storage and cold-chain logistics for the bioscience industry, has appointed Barb Dunn as director of resource management. Dunn will direct and conduct all activities for BioStorage Technologies’ biorepository facilities including space management, network infrastructure, and communication services.

The CDMO Catalent Pharma Solutions has appointed Jonathan Arnold as vice-president and general manager of sterile technologies, effective immediately.

Genzyme, a subsidiary of Sanofi, has named William Sibold head of the multiple sclerosis division, and Rogério Vivaldi as head of the rare-diseases division. Both appointees will report to David Meeker, president and CEO of Genzyme, and will join Genzyme’s executive team.

Merck KGaA has named Joachim Christ head of corporate controlling, effective Jan. 1, 2012. He will report to Matthias Zachert, a member of the executive board of Merck and chief financial officer.

Novartis has appointed Timothy Wright as global head of development, effective immediately. Wright joined Novartis in 2004 and most recently served as senior vice-president and global head of translational sciences at Novartis Institutes for BioMedical Research.