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Novartis to cut jobs and close more sites – Lilly withdraws sepsis drug – And China moves to protect its caprolactam industry
PHARMACEUTICAL – Novartis to close sites and cut 2000 Swiss and US jobs
Swiss drugmaker Novartis has announced another batch of job cuts in an effort to shave $200 million in costs from its annual budget. Over the next 3-5 years, the company will close Swiss sites in Nyon and Basel, along with another in Torre, Italy. Some of the activities of these sites will transfer elsewhere, but overall around 2000 positions will be lost – 1100 Swiss and the rest in the US. The firm also announced that 700 positions in data management and clinical trial monitoring would transfer to ‘low cost countries’ such as China and India.
The move comes after the company announced in March of this year that it was considering shedding over 500 staff at its site in Horsham, UK.
CHEMICAL – Clariant spending spree continues
Swiss speciality chemical group Clariant has snapped up another deal – this time with Oberhausen Technology Center (OTC) in Germany. OTC is a small company specialising in delivery systems for active ingredients in personal care products, for example encapsulation or emulsification. Financial details are not being disclosed.
The move follows a string of acquisitions for Clariant, having launched a takeover of Süd-Chemie in February, bought out Canadian oil services company Prairie Petro-Chem in April and partnered with biotech firm Kitozyme in August.
PHARMACEUTICAL – Lilly withdraws Xigris
US pharmaceutical company Lilly has withdrawn its septic shock treatment Xigris (drotrecogin alfa [activated]) following poor performance in a recent clinical trial.
The drug was originally approved in the US in 2001 and the EU in 2002, but in the latest trial it failed to improve mortality rates. ‘We believe the original Xigris approval was appropriate and these recent results were quite unexpected,’ said the company’s chief medical officer, Timothy Garnett. ‘A contributing factor to these study results could be advances in the standard of care for treating severe sepsis over the past 10 years.’
CHEMICAL – China imposes anti-dumping tax on caprolactone imports
The announcement comes after a Chinese Ministry of Commerce investigation into caprolactam imports concluded that domestic industries had incurred ‘material injury’ owing to ‘dumping’ of foreign imports at low prices.
Certain key companies will be subject to favourable rates (between 2 and 5 per cent), but other companies will be hit with tax rates of 24-25 per cent.
PHARMACEUTICAL – HPV vaccination for boys
The US Centers for Disease Control’s advisory committee on immunisation practice has recommended that all boys aged 11-12 be vaccinated against human papillomavirus (HPV) using Merck & Co’s Gardasil.
The sexually-transmitted virus that causes genital warts is linked to cervical cancer, and vaccination is already recommended for girls aged 11-12. This latest recommendation takes into account the fact that HPV can also lead to various other cancers affecting males, as well as females, including anal cancer, and that vaccinating boys will provide extra indirect protection for women by curbing the spread of the virus.