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Pharma/Fine Chemicals Roundup – February 7
8:32 AM MST | February 7, 2012 | By DEEPTI RAMESH
LONZA REPLACES CEO AFTER DECLINE IN EARNINGS
Lonza has suddenly fired CEO Stefan Borgas following a series of weak financial results. The company announced plans last month to appoint a new CEO and, during a transitional period Rolf Soiron, Lonza chairman, will coordinate its management committee.
The weak results follow Lonza’s acquisition of biocides maker Arch Chemicals (Norwalk, CT) for $1.4 billion last October. “With the acquisition of Arch in 2011, Lonza achieved another step in its transformation toward a global life science company,” Soiron says. “This continuous change characterized the past years and Stefan Borgas has led this process as Lonza’s CEO. In the challenging years ahead, Lonza will enter a period of focus and improvement of return on capital. This led the board of directors to the decision to initiate a change of CEO.” Borgas had been CEO of Lonza since 2004, when he was hired from BASF.
DISHMAN MAY SELL API FACILITY IN CHINA
Dishman Pharmaceuticals & Chemicals (Ahmedabad, India), tells CW that it may sell its large-scale facility in the Shanghai Chemical Industrial Park at Caojing, China, which produces pharma intermediates, active pharmaceutical ingredients (APIs), and highly potent APIs. “We are still evaluating our options for the Shanghai plant, and this includes discussions with interested parties,” says Christian Dowdeswell, commercial director at Dishman. The company declined to comment on the reasons for the possible sale, and did not disclose the names of the companies it is in discussions with. Dishman is trying to reduce its debt totaling Rs9.7 billion ($197 million), say press reports. The Caojing facility started operating in 2010 and it was expanded to manufacture class II and III highly potent APIs in 2011.
AESICA TO EXPAND HPAPI CAPACITY AT TWO SITES IN U.K.
Aesica Pharmaceuticals (Newcastle upon Tyne, U.K.), a provider of active pharma ingredients (API), formulations, and custom synthesis, says it plans to upgrade its API manufacturing facilities, enabling it to manufacture high potency APIs (HPAPIs) at commercial scale. The expansion will be carried out at Aesica’s facilities at Cramlington and Queenborough in the U.K., the company tells CW. The new HPAPI investment "will be staggered and will amount to about $6.6 million over the next three years. HPAPI capabilities are a definite priority for us at present," Aesica says. Aesica, in November 2011, opened a new £3-million ($4.7 million) potent formulated products manufacturing facility at Queenborough, U.K., where it also manufactures potent APIs. The planned upgrade will enable Aesica to manufacture SafeBridge category 3 APIs and formulated products from pilot to commercial scale from the two U.K. sites, the company says.
NOVOZYMES COLLABORATES ON SEAWEED-TO-BIOFUELS PROJECT IN INDIA
Enzymes group Novozymes says it has created an “exploratory research agreement” with Sea6 Energy (Chennai, India), a start-up biotech firm, to jointly develop an enzymatic process for converting seaweed-based carbohydrates to sugar, which can then be fermented to produce ethanol for fuel, fine chemicals, proteins for food, and fertilizers for plants. Financial terms were not disclosed. Novozymes will research, develop, and manufacture enzymes for the conversion process, while Sea6 Energy will contribute its offshore seaweed cultivation technology. Novozymes’ Indian arm will work closely with Sea6 Energy to develop the conversion technology, Novozymes says.
DSM FORMS API MARKETING AND SALES ALLIANCE WITH INDIAN FIRM
DSM says it has signed an agreement with Indoco Remedies (Mumbai) for a commercial cooperation for eight active pharmaceutical ingredients (APIs). APIs manufactured by Indoco will be marketed and sold by DSM and the alliance will leverage Indoco's product development and manufacturing capabilities and DSM's market access. The agreement represents a step to forge an alliance to expand presence in markets across the globe, and DSM will use its operation and quality systems to allow faster growth in regulated markets, the company says.
Indoco Remedies, which was established in 1947, is a leading manufacturer of APIs and finished dosages forms in India for various therapeutic classes, and the company has annual sales of about $120 million. Indoco Remedies has nine manufacturing facilities for finished dosage forms and APIs in India.
AMPAC FINE CHEMICALS EXPANDS INTO CONTROLLED SUBSTANCE MANUFACTURING
Ampac Fine Chemicals (AFC; Rancho Cordova, CA), a subsidiary of American Pacific Corp. (Las Vegas, NV), says it has been granted registration as a manufacturer of controlled substances from the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA; Springfield, VA). AFC’s entry into the field of controlled substances is enabled by a commercial arrangement with a large pharmaceutical company, AFC says. These developments position AFC for significant growth in the controlled substances area, AFC adds.
JOHNSON MATTHEY’S FINE CHEMICALS DIVISION REPORTS RISE IN QUARTERLY SALES
Johnson Matthey’s (London) fine chemicals division reported a 15% increase in sales in the third quarter ended December 31, 2011, compared with the year-ago period, to £62 million ($98 million). The division also had good growth in operating profits, the company says. The active pharmaceutical ingredient (API) manufacturing businesses performed well aided by sales of a new API for the treatment of drug addiction, Johnson Matthey says.
ASTRAZENECA TO CUT 7300 JOBS
AstraZeneca announced last week new restructuring initiatives aimed at improving productivity and strengthening the company’s operations. AstraZeneca expects that this restructuring program will affect about 7,300 positions. This includes about 3,750 positions job cuts in the company’s selling, general and administrative (SG&A) functions; 2,200 job cuts in its research and development (R&D) function; and 1,350 job cuts in the company’s operations function.
AstraZeneca also announced its financial results for the fourth quarter. The company has reported a 10% fall in operating profits in the fourth quarter, compared with the year-ago period, to $2.16 billion. Fourth-quarter sales remained nearly unchanged at $8.6 billion.
“Since 2007, when we announced our first major restructuring program, we have taken decisive steps to improve returns on investment, recognizing that this demands concerted, enterprise-wide action. Today’s initiatives should be seen in this strategic context as we continue to reshape our business to improve productivity and innovation and with it our long-term ability to compete in a rapidly changing healthcare environment,” says David Brennan, CEO of AstraZeneca.
The program is expected to deliver an estimated $1.6 billion in annual benefits by the end of 2014, at an estimated total cost of $2.1 billion.
The announcement by AstraZeneca follows the announcement by Takeda Pharmaceutical (Osaka, Japan) last month that it will reduce its global workforce by 2,800 positions, by the end of the fiscal year ending March 31, 2016. Novartis (Basel, Switzerland) also said last month it plans to restructure the company’s business in the U.S. and as a result, the workforce will be reduced by about 1,960 positions.
PETER NIGHTINGALE APPOINTED PRESIDENT OF HIKAL’S CONTRACT RESEARCH SUBSIDIARY
Hikal (Mumbai), an outsourcing partner to companies in the pharma, biotech, agchem, and specialty chemical industries, says that Peter Nightingale has been appointed as the president of its wholly owned contract research subsidiary Acoris Research (Pune, India).
Acoris partners with biotech, healthcare and innovator companies early in the lifecycle of their products providing contract research and manufacturing services. Peter Nightingale is a process development chemist with over thirty years of experience in development, scale up, technology transfer in the pharmaceutical, agchem and fine chemical sectors.