IHS Chemical Week


Pharma/fine chemicals roundup—9 December 2014

4:18 AM MST | December 9, 2014 | By DEEPTI RAMESH

Johnson Matthey acquires pharmaceutical ingredients facility in UK

Johnson Matthey says that it has completed the acquisition of a pharmaceutical manufacturing facility at Annan, UK. The site, which was originally constructed by Glaxo in 1980, changed hands several times and was most recently owned by Bakhu Pharma (Bromborough, UK). A multimillion-pound refurbishment will start in early 2015 to update and enhance the facility's operational and quality standards. The site is expected to be fully operational by early 2016, Johnson Matthey says. Once updated, the Annan site will focus on the production of pharmaceutical intermediates and active pharmaceutical ingredients (APIs). The 109,000–square meter site was acquired to meet increasing demand for custom pharmaceutical services and APIs using enhanced manufacturing capabilities, the company says. The purchase price has not been disclosed. The previous owners of the facility include Shasun (Chennai, India) and Rhodia.

Sigma-Aldrich shareholders approve merger with Merck KGaA

Merck KGaA (Darmstadt, Germany) says that the shareholders of Sigma-Aldrich (St. Louis) have approved the previously announced merger with Merck, at a special meeting held at St. Louis. Merck announced in September that it has reached an agreement to acquire Sigma-Aldrich for $17 billion. About 78% of Sigma-Aldrich shareholders approved the proposed transaction. Shareholder approval was one of the conditions the transaction is subject to. Merck continues to expect the transaction, which is subject to regulatory approvals, to close in mid-2015. The acquisition had already unanimously been approved by Sigma-Aldrich’s board of directors in September. A Merck shareholder vote is not required. Merck will acquire all of the outstanding Sigma-Aldrich shares for $140/share in cash. Sigma-Aldrich has three business units—research, applied, and SAFC Commercial. The company has about 9,000 employees worldwide and had sales of $2.7 billion in 2013.

Competition Commission of India okays Sun Pharma’s acquisition of Ranbaxy

Sun Pharmaceutical Industries (Mumbai) and Ranbaxy Laboratories (Gurgaon, India) say that the Competition Commission of India (CCI; New Delhi) has on 5 December approved the previously announced acquisition of Ranbaxy by Sun Pharma, subject to compliance with certain conditions. Sun Pharma announced in April that it will acquire Ranbaxy in an all-stock transaction valued at about $3.2 billion. Sun Pharma and Ranbaxy filed a notice with CCI in May and sought its approval for the deal. CCI has asked the companies to divest seven products, which constitute less than 1% of the combined entity's revenues in India. Sun Pharma and Ranbaxy say they will comply with the conditions laid down by the CCI within the specified time. The CCI approval “is an important milestone for the transaction,” says Dilip Shanghvi, managing director of Sun Pharma. “It revalidates our view that the Sun Pharma and Ranbaxy businesses complement each other with limited product overlap, and will offer a comprehensive product basket to enable future growth,” Shanghvi says.

ICIG plans second phase of investment in fine chemicals site

The WeylChem group of companies, which is part of the International Chemical Investors Group (ICIG), a private industrial holding company, says that ICIG will proceed with the second phase of its €25.0-million ($30.8 million) investment program in WeylChem at Frankfurt. An investment of €9.00 million will improve the energy infrastructure and enhance technical capabilities at the site. The first phase expanded the capacity for certain products, such as intermediates for herbicides, and was commissioned in 2014. The next phase will be installed by 2017.

Codexis develops enzyme therapeutic candidate for treatment of phenylketonuria

Codexis (Redwood City, CA), a developer of biocatalysts for the pharmaceutical and fine chemical industries, says that it has developed a novel enzyme therapeutic product candidate for the potential treatment of phenylketonuria (PKU) via oral administration. PKU is an inherited metabolic disorder in which the enzyme that converts the essential amino acid phenylalanine into tyrosine is deficient. As a result, phenylalanine accumulates in high levels in the brain causing serious neurological problems, including intellectual disability, seizures and cognitive and behavioral problems. Phenylalanine is found in many foods, including meat, dairy products, fish, poultry and many fruits and vegetables. Codexis has filed patent applications covering the composition of matter for its therapeutic enzymes and the use of these enzymes as a treatment for PKU. Codexis is seeking partners for its PKU program to advance its development. Codexis expects to begin preclinical studies for its enzyme therapeutic candidate in 2015.

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