PHARMACEUTICAL 

Pfizer to divest Capsugel?

Pfizer has said it is ‘reviewing strategic alternatives’ for drug delivery unit Capsugel and raised the possibility of divestiture. In 2009, the unit generated sales of $740 million (£460 million). Pfizer expects to give the results of its review process by the end of the first quarter of 2011.

US approval for Kombiglyze XR

The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has granted market approval to the combination diabetes candidate Kombiglyze XR (saxagliptin-metformin). The candidate, developed by AstraZeneca and Bristol-Myers Squibb, is a combination of the dipeptidyl peptidase-4 (DPP-4) inhibitor saxagliptin, marketed by Bristol-Myers Squibb as Onglyza, and metformin, a commonly used glucose lowering drug. Onglyza was approved in the US for type 2 diabetes in July 2009. It made sales of $85 million in the first nine months of this year.

Lilly buys Avid

Eli Lilly will acquire Avid Radiopharmaceuticals, which makes molecular imaging compounds, for up to $800 million. It will pay $300 million for all the shares of the privately held company. On top of that, it will pay up to $500 million for commercial and regulatory milestones achieved by florbetapir, Avid’s lead candidate. Florbetapir is a molecular imaging compound designed to detect amyloid plaque in the brain, thought to play a role in Alzheimer’s disease.

Merck wins Temodar ruling

A US court of appeal has ruled in favour of Merck & Co in a patent infringement case involving Israeli generics manufacturer Teva Pharmaceuticals. The court reversed a lower court ruling that the patent for Merck’s brain cancer drug Temodar (temozolomide) was unenforceable. Teva previously agreed not to launch a generic version of the drug during the appeal. Merck has said it will not object to Teva launching a generic version in August 2013, although its US patents will not expire until February 2014. Schering, now part of Merck filed the patent infringement lawsuit against Barr Pharmaceuticals, now part of Teva, in July 2007.

CHEMICAL

Lanxess buys Flexsys units

German synthetic rubber company Lanxess has agreed to buy two businesses from Flexsys, a division of US speciality chemicals company Solutia. Lanxess will buy the primary accelerator business and the anti-reversion agent Perkalink 900. Accelerators help to determine the speed of vulcanisation during the production of synthetic rubber products. Perkalink 900 is used to lower the risk of reversion during the vulcanisation. The companies have not disclosed financial details, although they have said that the affected employees will not be transferred to Lanxess.

Halliburton subpoena

US oil services company Halliburton has been subpoenaed by the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) after failing to supply information for an investigation into hydraulic fracturing, in which rock fractures are generated to increase the output of – for example – oil wells. The other eight companies asked in connection with the investigation ‘have agreed to submit timely and complete information’, the agency said. On September 9, the EPA asked for ‘information on the chemical composition of fluids used in the hydraulic fracturing process, data on the impacts of the chemicals on human health and the environment, standard operating procedures at their hydraulic fracturing sites and the locations of sites where fracturing has been conducted’.

Ashland sells distribution business

Chemical company Ashland has agreed to sell its global distribution business to private investment firm TPG for $930 million. The business generates annual sales of $3.4 billion and employs 2000 people across North America and Europe.

Andrew Turley

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