Watson buys Actavis for €4.3bn – Jazz buys Eusa for $700 million – AZ boss retires

PHARMACEUTICAL – US generics giant Watson has struck a deal to buy Actavis, another generics manufacturer, for €4.3billion (£3.5 billion). The move will lead to expected sales of $8 billion for 2012, making the Watson the third largest generics company by sales. It will also strengthen Watson’s position outside the US. After the transaction, 40% of sales from generics will be generated in other regions. The company expects to save $300 million of costs per year across the two businesses within three years as a result of bringing them together under one banner. Actavis employs 10,000 people and generated 2011 sales of $2.5 billion. After the merger, Watson will employ more than 17,000 people at 20 manufacturing site and more than 12 R&D centres.

PHARMACEUTICAL – Irish pharma company Jazz is to buy Eusa, a privately-owned pharma company with sites in the US and the UK, for up to $700 million (£430 million). Jazz will pay $650 million up front and up to $50 million more depending on the success of the lead Eusa drug, asparaginase made from Erwinia chrysanthemi bacteria and marketed in Erwinaze brand products for the treatment of acute lymphoblastic leukaemia (ALL). Patients with ALL are typically treated with asparaginase made from E. coli, but some patients become hypersensitive to this kind of asparaginase. US authorities approved Erwinaze products in November 2011. In addition, the products are approved in seven countries outside the US, where they are sold under the Erwinase brand. Eusa has about 180 employees, including founder, president and chief executive Bryan Morton, who will remain with the organisation with responsibility for the new international operations.

PHARMACEUTICAL – After weeks of media speculation about whether AstraZenca boss David Brennan should resign following some pretty weak financial result, the man in the spot light has decided to go after six years in the role. Chief financial officer Simon Lowth will take the reins from 1 June until someone else is appointed. Chairman Louis Schweitzer has also resigned effective 1 June to be replace by Leif Johansson. Schweitzer is leaving three months earlier than planned to enable Johansson to lead the selection of a new chief executive.

PHARMACEUTICAL – Swiss pharma major Roche has opened a CHF100 million quality control and assurance laboratory building at Kaiseraugst. Around 220 people will work in the new building, checking incoming materials for use in manufacturing a variety of drugs, as well as checking the finished products before they leave the company.

Andrew Turley

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