Life Science Weekly inSite (Sep. 21 - 26)
A weekly round-up of biotech’s top stories from around the world
By Suvarna Bhatt, Feature Editor
SAN FRANCISCO – Czechoslovakian Generic drug maker, Zentiva accepted a $2.6 billion takeover offer from France’s Sanofi-Aventis last Monday. Earlier in the month, Zentiva rejected a $2.34 billion bid from Sanofi saying the company is worth more than that. The acquisition takes Sanofi deeper into the arena of generic pharmaceuticals. On the same day, Angiotech Pharmaceuticals, announced reorganization and cost reduction initiatives. The specialty pharmaceutical and medical device company will implement cost reductions in R&D and general administrative functions. The company will also close its research and manufacturing facility in Rochester, New York in December 2009.
Reorganization was also announced by Pfizer on Tuesday. The New York based giant said it’s stepping up sales in emerging markets including Brazil, China, India, Mexico, Russia, South Korea and Turkey, while reducing sales operation costs in U.S. Tuesday’s second top story was KaloBios’ announcement that it raised $20 million in financing. The South San-Francisco company said the financing was led by new investors, Mitsubishi UFJ Capital and Genzyme Ventures.
Warnings were in the air on Wednesday. Research published in the Journal of American Medical Association found Spitiva, an emphysema and chronic bronchitis drug made by Boehringer Ingelheim and marketed in the U.S. by Pfizer may increase the risk of heart problems and stroke. Genentech Inc. and OSI Pharma also alerted doctors through a letter posted on the FDA’s website about cases of liver damage in patients who were taking the cancer drug, Tarceva.
Another major acquisition rocked the biotech world on Thursday when Ligand Pharma agreed to buy Pharmacopia in deal worth $70 million in stock. Pharmacopeia stockholders will be entitled to a Contingent Value Right under certain circumstances to a cash payment of an total of $15 million. New Jersey-based Pharmacopeia cut 55 percent of jobs this summer in an effort to find strategic cost-saving alternatives. On the other U.S. coast, San Diego based TorreyPines said it will shut down discovery operations and reduce its workforce by 50 percent at the end of this month. The made was move so the company can focus on its three clinical development programs.
Last Friday, Alpharma rejected King Pharmaceutical’s unsolicited bid to acquire it for $37 per share. The company said it will continue to explore all strategic options. It is still open to the sale to King or another company for more than $37 per share. The second news-maker on Friday was NPS Pharma who said its partner, GlaxoSmithKline decided to stop a phase 2 study of
of Ronacaleret in post-menopausal women with osteoporosis. The company said the study is not being stopped due to safety concerns, rather due to an observed lack of efficacy.
That’s it for last week’s leading biotech news from the BioSpace news desk…stay tuned for the following week’s top movers and shakers…
Suvarna Bhatt is a Feature Editor for BioSpace.com. Click here to contact her.