Categories: The Commercial Chemist | 1 Comment
Novartis buys Genoptix for $470 million…
Swiss pharma company Novartis has agreed to buy US diagnostic services company Genoptix for $470 million (£300 million), equivalent to $25 per share, in cash. According to Novartis, the offer represents a premium of 39 per cent over the Genoptix ‘unaffected’ share price on 13 December 2010. Genoptix specialises in diagnosing cancer in bone marrow, blood and lymph nodes. It employs 500 staff and in 2009 made sales of $184 million. The Genoptix board has unanimously approved the transaction and will recommend stockholders tender their shares.
…and expands licence for Gilenya
Meanwhile, oral multiple sclerosis (MS) drug Gilenya (fingolimod) from Novartis has won a positive opinion from an EU advisory committee and approval in Switzerland and Australia. Gilenya was granted US marketing approval in September 2010, beating into second place cladribine, an oral MS drug from Merck KGaA that so far has struggled to get past regulators. In September 2010, a European Medicines Agency committee voted against recommending it for MS marketing approval. The Novartis drug is the first in a new class called sphingosine 1-phosphate receptor (S1PR) modulators that are thought to prevent damage to the central nervous system by slowing the movement of white blood cells in key regions of the body.
Positive EU opinion for GSK antiepileptic
Epilepsy candidate retigabine from UK drugmaker GlaxoSmithKline has won a positive opinion from an EU committee that says it should be granted marketing authorisation. The candidate is known as ezogabine in the US, where its application for approval stalled in November 2010 due to ‘non-clinical’ reasons. Retigabine was developed by Canadian pharma company Valeant, which licensed the candidate to GSK in 2008 in a deal worth up to $820m. The first-in-class candidate is thought to work by opening neuronal potassium channels, which play an important role in epilepsy.
Amgen pays $1bn for BioVex
US biotech Amgen has agreed to buy BioVex, a privately held biotech in a deal worth up to $1 billion. BioVex is developing cancer vaccine OncoVex, which is in Phase III trials for the treatment of metastatic melanoma and cancer of the head and neck. Amgen will pay $425 million in cash when the deal closes and up to $575 million in potential milestone payments.
Allegra over the counter
Antihistamine Allegra (fexofenadine) from French drugmaker Sanofi-Aventis has been approved for over-the-counter sale in the US from March this year. The drug made 2009 sales of $730 million, representing a 2.5 per cent decrease compared with 2008. Generic versions entered the market in November 2009.
Dow pays $10 million for nature project
US chemical major Dow is putting up $10 million over the next five years to fund a project with conservation organisation the Nature Conservancy. The project will examine how Dow operations ‘rely on and affect nature’. In 2009, the Nature Conservancy received $28 million from corporate sponsors, 7 per cent of its ‘dues and contributions’.
AkzoNobel invests in Brazilian paper project
Dutch chemical group AkzoNobel has said it is investing €90 million (£78 million) in a new paper chemicals plant under construction in Brazil. The plant will be operated by the Akzo pulp and paper chemicals business, Eka Chemicals, and will supply ‘the world’s largest pulp mill’. Akzo says the 15-year agreement represents its biggest investment in Latin America so far. It will involve supplying and storing all the chemicals for the 1.5 million tonnes per year mill being built in Três Lagoas City.