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Pharma/fine chemicals roundup—29 April 2014

8:17 AM MDT | April 29, 2014 | By DEEPTI RAMESH

Demand growth boosts Lonza’s first-quarter performance

Lonza, in its business update announcement for the first quarter of 2014, says that the year started with good momentum, leading to a better business performance than the year-ago period, and that the performance was in line with expectations. In the company’s specialty ingredients and pharma and biotech segments, Lonza hit its growth targets and performed better performance compared with the first quarter of 2013, Lonza says. Lonza experienced a considerable translational currency impact from the strong Swiss franc but was able to compensate the bottom-line impact in the quarter by productivity improvements. The specialty ingredients segment had a good start in 2014, with positive overall market demand in most areas, Lonza says. Demand in the pharma and biotech segment rose across all technologies and offerings. “The good results show that we have embarked on the right path with our transformational initiatives, which make us more competitive and more market oriented,” says Richard Ridinger, CEO of Lonza.

SAFC reports slight increase in first-quarter sales

SAFC Commercial, the custom-manufacturing and services business unit of Sigma-Aldrich, reports a 2.6% increase in sales in the first quarter of 2014 compared with the year-ago quarter, to $159 million. Earnings figures for the business have not been disclosed. “Growth in the life sciences products segment [of SAFC Commercial] moderated after a better-than-expected fourth quarter of 2013,” says Rakesh Sachdev, president and CEO of Sigma-Aldrich. “Our growth initiatives for the year remain on track. The life sciences services segment had another strong quarter of double-digit sales growth led by biopharma services. Sales of precursors to semiconductor customers were strong and continued the growth trend from 2013. However, sales in the Hitech segment overall were weak due to continuing price declines of metal organic precursors for the light-emitting diode market,” Sachdev says.

BASF restructures nutrition and health, 260 jobs to go by end of 2015

BASF says it is "implementing a series of measures" within its nutrition and health division aimed at strengthening the competitiveness of its performance products segment. The company says that it is adjusting its product portfolio to "better meet changing customer needs and regional demands." About 260 jobs are to be eliminated globally by the end of 2015 as part of the restructuring, BASF says. The job losses will be in production, marketing, and administration, according to BASF. The company says it is consulting with the responsible employee representatives. The nutrition and health division encompasses products for human and animal nutrition, flavors and fragrances, and products for the pharmaceutical industry. In the growing market of omega-3 fatty acids, BASF says it will focus its production on the segment for highly concentrated omega-3 fatty acids, which is a highly attractive market. The company says it plans to sell the Brattvåg, Norway, site, where it produces low concentrated omega-3 fatty acids.

Pfizer confirms interest in AstraZeneca

Pfizer announced on 28 April that it approached AstraZeneca last week to renew discussions that could lead to the two companies merging. The news follows Pfizer's initial approach in January, which AstraZeneca rejected. Pfizer says that such a transaction would bring together highly complementary, innovative, and established pharmaceutical businesses, enhancing the combined company’s ability to meet patients’ needs.

Cambrex board elects nonexecutive chairman

Cambrex (East Rutherford, NJ) says that the board of directors has elected Shlomo Yanai as its new nonexecutive chairman of the board, effective immediately, following the retirement of John Miller on 24 April. Miller had served as nonexecutive chairman since 2008 and has been a member of the Cambrex board since 1998. Yanai joined Cambrex in November 2012 as its nonexecutive vice chairman and as a member of the governance committee. Yanai served from 2007 until mid-2012 as president and CEO of Teva Pharmaceutical Industries (Petah Tiqwa, Israel), the largest generic pharmaceuticals manufacturer in the world, during which time Teva increased annual revenues from $8.4 billion to about $20 billion, Cambrex says. From 2003 to 2006, Yanai was the president and CEO of agricultural chemical company Makhteshim Agan Industries, which is now called Adama Agricultural Solutions (Tel Aviv).

Lonza appoints new COO for pharma and biotech segment

Lonza says that Marc Funk will take on the full leadership role for the pharma and biotech segment, effective 1 July. Funk will succeed Stephan Kutzer, who will be leaving Lonza. Kutzer will ensure that the handover is completed by that date, and for a period of time, he will continue to complete additional transitional activities as required, Lonza says. Funk has been Lonza’s chief legal officer and board secretary since 2009 and a member of Lonza’s executive committee since 2012.

Evonik invests in US biotech firm Algal Scientific

Evonik Industries says it is investing in the technology start-up Algal Scientific (Northville, MI). Evonik is part of an investors’ consortium that is investing more than $3 million in Series A financing round. Algal, under the trade name Algamune, markets 1,3-β-glucan, a polysaccharide that strengthens immune response. The polysaccharide is used as an additive in animal feeds and as a nutritional supplement as well as in pharmaceutical formulations, Evonik says.

Excipact certifies Croda as excipient supplier

Excipact says that Croda has received an Excipact certification from SGS ICS France, one of Excipact's certification bodies. The Excipact certification demonstrates that the Croda sites at Rawcliffe Bridge and Thorne, near Goole, UK, manufactures pharmaceutical excipients according to Excipact GMP certification standards. This site is the first in the United Kingdom to receive such certification; there are other certified sites in Canada, France, Germany, the Netherlands, and Saudi Arabia. Excipact, which was a project of the IPEC Federation (Brussels), became a free-standing, not-for-profit company at the end of January.












 
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