Week of October 1, 2012: Merck Returns Brinavess Rights to Cardiome; Sigma-Aldrich Expands in Scotland; and More

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Merck Returns Brinavess Rights to Cardiome; Sigma-Aldrich Expands in Scotland; and More.

Ablynx and a Merck & Co. subsidiary have agreed to develop and commercialize Nanobody candidates directed toward a voltage gated ion channel with the option to develop and commercialize a Nanobody to a second target. Under the agreement, Merck gains exclusive global rights to Nanobodies against the selected target, with an option for similar rights to a second target. Upon signing, Merck will pay Ablynx a EUR 6.5-million ($8.4 million) upfront payment and a EUR 2-million ($2.6 million) fee for research funding. In addition, Ablynx will be eligible to receive up to EUR 448 million ($580 million) in research, regulatory, and commercial milestone payments associated with the progress of multiple candidates as well as tiered royalties on any products derived from the collaboration. Ablynx will be responsible for the discovery of Nanobody candidates and Merck will be responsible for the research, development, manufacturing, and commercialization of any Nanobody product resulting from the collaboration. Read More

Catalent Pharma Solutions has established a global alliance with Parexel International to help streamline the clinical-trial supply process. The alliance will provide a fully integrated service offering aimed at ensuring the timely and efficient delivery of clinical-trial materials. Read More

In other news, Catalent has agreed to supply to the biopharmaceutical company Vivus Qsymia once-daily combination extended-release capsules. Qsymia was recently been approved by FDA as a once-daily combination treatment for chronic weight management in adults who are obese or overweight with a weight-related comorbidity. Read More

Janssen Biotech has entered into a license agreement with Astellas Pharma for the worldwide development and commercialization, except in Japan, of ASP015K, an oral, small-molecule Janus Kinase inhibitor. ASP015K is currently in Phase II-b development as a once-daily treatment for rheumatoid arthritis, following a successful Phase II-a study demonstrating its potential in the treatment of moderate-to-severe plaque psoriasis. Read More


SAFC, part of Sigma-Aldrich, plans to expand its operations in Scotland by investing in the development of a new powder-manufacturing facility on its Irvine site. SAFC’s new facility in Irvine is its second powder manufacturing facility, which will support SAFC’s risk-management program, providing an internal back-up supplier for its customers. The new facility will be used to service customers across Europe and will create 24 new jobs. The project is being supported by a £1.5-million ($2.42 million) Regional Selective Assistance grant from Scottish Enterprise. Read More

A roundup of additional company and people news from pharmaceutical and biopharmaceutical companies, their suppliers, and contract-service providers. Read More