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Pharma/Fine Chemicals Roundup – May 22
7:15 AM MDT | May 22, 2012 | By DEEPTI RAMESH
MITSUBISHI TANABE PHARMA EXITS FINE CHEMICALS BUSINESS
Mitsubishi Tanabe Pharma (Osaka, Japan) says it will exit the fine chemicals business and transfer its fine chemical operations to two companies. Mitsubishi Tanabe Pharma’s pharmaceutical ingredient manufacturing and sales operations will be transferred to API Corp. (Osaka), a subsidiary of Mitsubishi Chemical; and the food chemical operations will be transferred to food additives firm Taisho Technos (Tokyo), a wholly owned subsidiary of Mitsui Sugar Co. (Tokyo). The transfer of these operations is scheduled for July 1, 2012, and the impact of the transfer on Mitsubishi Tanabe Pharma's operating results is expected to be minimal, the company says. Mitsubishi Tanabe Pharma did not disclose the reasons for exiting the business.
GSK ACQUIRES CHEMICAL PROTEOMICS COMPANY
GlaxoSmithKline (GSK; London) says it has entered into an agreement to acquire those shares it does not currently own in privately held Cellzome (Heidelberg, Germany), a leader in the development and advancement of proteomics technologies, for £61 million ($97 million) in cash. The acquisition is expected to be completed on May 21, 2012. GSK, which currently owns a 19.98% equity interest in Cellzome, will assume full control of the company. Cellzome has laboratories at Cambridge, U.K.; and Heidelberg, and it will become part of GSK’s research & development organization.
The acquisition of Cellzome will give GSK a proteomic mass spectrometry and screening capability, enabling greater knowledge of drug targets and their interactions with compounds in the early phases of drug discovery, and through the use of this technology, the company can reduce attrition of potential new medicines during the development phase, GSK says.
LONZA AND AVALANCHE BIOTECHNOLOGIES FORM MANUFACTURING COLLABORATION
Lonza and Avalanche Biotechnologies (San Francisco, CA), a privately held biotechnology company, have formed a manufacturing collaboration focused on process development and scale-up efforts for the manufacturing of adeno-associated viral (AAV) vectors for gene therapy. Terms of the agreement were not disclosed. Avalanche Biotechnologies, which was founded in 2006, develops technologies and products for delivery of therapeutic proteins to the eye to treat wet age-related macular degeneration (AMD), as well as other ophthalmologic disorders. Avalanche Biotechnologies and Lonza, as part of the deal, will make the technology available to third parties and share the revenue. The manufacturing collaboration will focus on the development and high-yield production of AAV vectors based on a novel technology that uses stable baculovirus. This technology was licensed by Avalanche from Virovek (Hayward, CA), who will also play a key role in the collaboration, Lonza says.
API BUSINESS OF DR. REDDY’S REPORTS RISE IN SALES
The pharmaceutical services and active ingredients (PSAI) business of Dr. Reddy’s Laboratories (Hyderabad, India) reported a 35% increase in sales in the fourth quarter ended March 31, 2012, compared with the year-ago period, to Rs7.5 billion ($136 million). Full-year sales for the PSAI business increased 21%, to Rs23.8 billion. Gross profit margin for the PSAI business was 32% for the fiscal year.
“The growth in the active ingredients business was led by sales to generic customers to support their generic product launches in line with patent expiries in the near term,” Dr. Reddy’s says. “The growth in pharmaceutical services business was led by new customer orders.”
During the fiscal year, 68 drug master files (DMF) were filed globally, with 14 each in the U.S. and Europe. The cumulative DMF filings as of March 31, 2012 are 543, the company says.
USPTO GRANTS CODEXIS PATENT FOR ENZYMES USED IN HEPATITIS-C THERAPEUTICS
Codexis (Redwood City, CA) says that the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO; Alexandria, VA) has granted Codexis’ patent covering the biocatalysts and biocatalytic processes used to make key pharmaceutical intermediates in the synthesis of hepatitis-C therapeutics. The term of this patent does not expire until 2029.
AMRI APPOINTS HEAD OF EUROPEAN OPERATIONS
Albany Molecular Research Inc. (AMRI; Albany, NY) says it has appointed Ian Shott as president of AMRI Europe, reporting to Thomas D’Ambra, chairman, president and CEO. In this newly created role, Shott will have responsibility for AMRI’s business operations in Europe, including the company’s site at Wales, U.K., and will work closely with AMRI’s European-based business development team. Shott was the founder and CEO of contract fine chemicals manufacturer Excelsyn (Holywell, U.K.), – now AMRI UK – which was acquired by AMRI in February 2010. Shott has more than 20 years experience working with global pharmaceutical, biotechnology, and chemical companies, and he will be instrumental in leading AMRI’s sales growth in European markets as well as the worldwide effort to continue to expand revenue growth at the Wales manufacturing location, AMRI says.
Beyond IHS Chemical Week
The end of drug discovery?
By Smitha Mundasad
Half a century ago, in the drug industry's golden era, we were bestowed with countless pills to lower blood pressure, control blood sugar and get rid of infections. But today it costs about $1bn to bring a new medicine to market, a process that can take 15 years.