CHEMICAL: Unilever and P&G fined for price fixing

The European Commission (EC) has fined Procter & Gamble (P&G) and Unilever, two giants in the consumer products area, €315 million (£278 million) for price fixing of laundry detergents. Unilever will pay €104 million, and P&G €211 million. Henkel was also in the cartel, which lasted at least three years, but Henkel has escaped financial penalties by blowing the whistle on the other two. (more…)

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PHARMACEUTICAL: Dr Reddy’s UK investment

Generics manufacturer Dr Reddy’s opened a newly expanded R&D centre in Cambridge, UK, which will be part of subsidiary Chirotech. Currently, 40 people are employed at the site, and the company says the move will allow for an initial doubling of the workforce, with scope for further expansion after that. (more…)

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ANALYTICAL: Jeol spins out NMR business

Japanese instrument maker Jeol is spinning out its nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) business through a joint venture with the Innovation Network Corporation of Japan (INCJ), a public–private partnership launched in 2009. The new company will be called Jeol Resonance and make electron spin resonance (ESR) devices as well as NMR devices. The INCJ is funded by ¥82 billion (£590 million) from the Japanese government and ¥10 billion from 19 private corporations. In March, Douglas Meinhart, director of analytical products, said that Jeol would have a 49 per cent stake in the new company, and the INCJ would have a 51 per cent stake. He was speaking at laboratory sciences trade show Pittcon in Atlanta, US. In 2010, Jeol made sales of ¥85 billion. (more…)

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Novartis to restructure

Swiss drugmaker Novartis has announced plans to restructure its operations at its Horsham site in the UK, according to a press release, seen by Chemistry World.

The restructuring could mean that as many as 600 jobs are under threat, and comes a month after the announcement of  the closure of Pfizer’s research and development site in Sandwich, UK, affecting 2,400 jobs. (more…)

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Sanofi sales hit by generics

Sanofi-Aventis’s fourth quarter profits have dropped by 64 per cent since last year to €437 million (£370 million). It is thought that restructuring costs of €880 million and the lack of a flu pandemic that affected vaccine sales, are partly to blame. (more…)

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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. (more…)

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Bayer and Evogene to work together on GM wheat

German chemical group Bayer has said it will pay $20 million (£13 million) as part of a five-year deal with Israeli plant sciences company Evogene that will see the two develop new genetically modified wheat varieties. In a separate deal, Bayer will buy a $12 million stake in Evogene at a price of $7 per share. The aim of the project will be to improve key characteristics such as yield, drought tolerance and fertiliser utilisation. (more…)

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New boss at Pfizer 

Ian Read

US drug giant Pfizer has a new boss at the helm. Jeff Kindler has unexpectedly retired from the company after four and a half years as chief executive, citing the demanding nature of the job. The vacancy has been filled by Ian Read, who from 2006 headed the biopharmaceutical businesses. ‘The combination of meeting the requirements of our many stakeholders around the world, and the 24-7 nature of my responsibilities, has made this period extremely demanding on me personally,’ said Kindler. ‘I am excited at the opportunity to recharge my batteries, spend some rare time with my family and prepare for the next challenge in my career.’ 

Brilinta news

Blood thinner BriIinta (ticagrelor) from pharma major AstraZeneca has been approved in Europe for the prevention of heart attacks and other cardiovascular events in patients with coronary problems. (more…)

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PHARMACEUTICAL 

BMS donates diabetes money

The charitable arm of pharma company Bristol-Myers Squibb, the Bristol-Myers Squibb Foundation, has said it will commit $100 million (£62 million) over the next five years as part of an initiative to help patients with type 2 diabetes with disease management. (more…)

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PHARMACEUTICAL

GSK settles $750 million whistleblower suit

GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) has agreed to pay $750 million (£471 million) to settle the criminal and civil charges relating to the manufacture of adulterated drugs at the company’s now closed plant at Cidra, Puerto Rico. Under the provisions of the US False Claims Act, the whistleblowing former staff member who initiated the suit will receive approximately $96 million.

The case involves drugs manufactured by GSK’s Puerto Rican subsidiary, SB Pharmaco, between 2001 and 2005. SB Pharmaco has pleaded guilty to releasing adulterated forms of its antiemetic Kytril (granisetron); the antibiotic Bactroban (mupirocin), the antidepressant Paxil (paroxetine); and its diabetes drug Avandamet (rosiglitazone with metformin), for which the company will pay a criminal fine of $150 million. GSK will pay an additional $600 million to the federal and state governments to resolve allegations that it caused false claims to be submitted to Medicaid and other federal healthcare programs for the adulterated drugs. (more…)

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