Week of Nov. 22, 2010: Company and People Notes: Genzyme Sells Business Unit to Sekisui Chemical; Ablexis Names VP of Research; and More.

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Genzyme Sells Business Unit to Sekisui Chemical; Ablexis Names VP of Research; and More.

Company Notes

The US Food and Drug Administration approved Amgen’s (Thousand Oaks, CA) Xgeva (denosumab), a drug designed to help prevent skeletal-related events (SREs) in patients with bone metastases from solid tumors. Xgeva is a monoclonal antibody that targets a protein involved in cancer-related bone destruction called human RANKL.

AstraZeneca (London) said last week that it commenced a review of its strategic options for Astra Tech, a business unit that develops, manufactures, and markets dental implants and healthcare (urological and surgical) products.

Baxter International (Deerfield, IL) agreed to acquire all of the hemophilia-related assets of Archemix (Cambridge, MA), a biopharmaceutical company. Baxter also entered into an exclusive license agreement for certain related intellectual property assets. The lead product associated with the arrangement is ARC19499, a synthetic, subcutaneously-administered hemophilia therapy currently in a Phase I clinical trial in the UK.

Bristol-Myers Squibb (New York) and Pfizer (New York) discontinued their Phase III clinical trial in patients with recent acute coronary syndrome (ACS) treated with apixaban or placebo in addition to mono or dual antiplatelet therapy. The study was stopped early based on the recommendation of an independent Data Monitoring Committee after evidence showed an increase in bleeding among patients using apixaban.

Healthcare services company Cardinal Health (Dublin, OH) agreed to acquire Kinray (Whitestone, NY), a pharmaceutical distributor serving the New York metropolitan area, for $1.3 billion in cash. The transaction will expand Cardinal’s ability to serve retail independent pharmacies in the northeastern United States.

Genzyme (Cambridge, MA) agreed to sell its diagnostic-product business to Sekisui Chemical for $265 million. Sekisui agreed to offer employment to the unit’s approximately 575 employees, and plans to maintain operations in all of the business’s current locations. The companies expect the sale to close by the end of the year.

Laboratory Corporation of America Holdings (LabCorp, Burlington, NC) reported last week that it had received clearance from the Federal Trade Commission for its $925-million acquisition of Genzyme Genetics from Genzyme (Cambridge, MA). Genzyme had announced its agreement to sell it genetic-testing business to LabCorp in September 2010. Genyzme Genetics provides reproductive, maternal fetal medicine, and oncology testing services.


People Notes

Ablexis (San Francisco), a biotechnology company developing the AlivaMab Mouse, a next-generation platform for antibody drug discovery, appointed Sean Stevens as vice-president of research. Stevens will report to Larry L. Green, the company’s CEO.

C3 Jian (Los Angeles), a biotechnology company, appointed Todd Patrick as its president and CEO. The company’s former CEO, Max Anderson, will remain a special advisor and a member of the company’s board of directors.

CytomX Therapeutics (Santa Barbara, CA), a biotechnology company focused on the development of proteolytically-activated antibodies, appointed Mark Rolfe as its chief scientific officer and Henry Lowman as vice-president of research.  

Omeros (Seattle), a biopharmaceutical company focused on treatments for inflammation and disorders of the central nervous system, appointed Kenneth M. Ferguson vice-president of development.

Prolong Pharmaceuticals (South Plainfield, NJ) named Richard Prince vice-president of quality and Andy Burger vice-president of information services. The company also recently announced $30 million in funding from a private investment group.

Topaz Pharmaceuticals (Horsham, PA), a specialty pharmaceutical company, appointed Bob Radie president and CEO. Thomas Beck, who was serving as interim CEO, will resume his role as chief medical officer of the company.