Biopharmaceutical NewsWeek 39




Acquisitions /Mergers/Joint-ventures

September 22, 2014 

Merck buys Sigma-Aldrich for $17 billion

Drugs and chemicals maker Merck KGaA agreed to acquire U.S. company Sigma-Aldrich for $17 billion in cash to boost its lab supplies business. The deal, which was approved by Sigma-Aldrich's management, will see Merck acquire all shares for $140 apiece in cash, represents a 37 percent premium over the latest closing price of $102.37 on Friday, Sept. 19. Karl-Ludwig Kley, chairman of Merck KGaA's executive board, said in a statement announcing the deal that it marks a "milestone" in the company's ongoing efforts to make sustainable growth platforms out of its three businesses: life science, biopharmaceuticals, and chemicals.



September 20, 2014 

CureVac will collaborate with Boehringer Ingelheim in lung cancer

CureVac, a pioneer in RNA technology, is set to work with Boehringer Ingelheim on 2 new oncology vaccine projects that will seek to improve outcomes for patients with non-small lung cancer. Boehringer will pay CureVac €35 million upfront and €430 million in potential milestones for access to the candidate vaccine CV9202. In the first project, the vaccine will be tested in combination with Boehringer’s afatinib (Giotrif), which is a drug intended for patients with epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) positive non-small lung cancer. The second project will investigate the vaccine in combination with chemo-radiation therapy in patients with stage 3 disease that can’t be treated with surgery. Both vaccines are based on messenger RNA technology. By combining their drugs, the companies hope to achieve more cancer-killing capability and thereby improve patient outcomes.


Thermo Fisher Scientific deals with GSK and Pfizer on NGS oncology test

Thermo Fisher Scientific enters into an agreement with GlaxoSmithKline and Pfizer to develop a universal Next-Generation Sequencing (NGS) oncology test for solid tumors that will serve as a companion diagnostic for multiple drug programs. Financial terms of the collaboration are undisclosed.


September 22, 2014

Philips splits in two, making HealthTech its sole priority

Philips has decided to split into two companies. One will be devoted to its Healthcare and Consumer Lifestyle businesses, while the other will spin off and be composed of the Lighting business. This move should give the company more room to pursue the next-generation technologies that it expects to result from the ongoing convergence of the professional healthcare and consumer end markets. That makes HealthTech, the combination of the Healthcare and Consumer units, the sole focus for the remaining company. Philips said HealthTech would have had €15 billion in 2013 sales, while the Lighting business had €7 billion.

September 23, 2014

Pfizer approached Actavis about merger

Pfizer approached Actavis to "express its interest in an acquisition," according to Bloomberg. Actavis stocks have soared on the report. Actavis was reported yesterday to have made a rejected offer for Allergan which is reportedly in advanced talks to buy Salix Pharmaceuticals.


Approval of drugs

September 21, 2014

Gilead's gets EU approval for rare blood cancers drug

With the EU approval of Gilead’s Zydelig (idelasib), patients with the incurable blood cancers chronic lymphocytic leukaemia (CLL) and follicular lymphoma (FL) have gained access to a new treatment option. For CLL, the drug can now be used alongside Rituxan (rituximab) and it has also been green lighted for first-line use in those carrying a 17p deletion or TP53 mutation who are unsuitable for chemo-immunotherapy. Zydelig was approved for FL as a monotherapy in patients who are refractory to two prior lines of treatment. Zydelig, a first-in-class drug, works by inhibiting PI3K delta, a protein over-expressed in many B-cell malignancies.


Drugs at clinical stage

September 21, 2014 

Sanofi's New Drug Is Potentially A Game Changer

Sanofi has developed a dengue vaccine which produced excellent results in clinical trials. In clinical trials the experimental vaccine protected children from all four types of the mosquito-borne illness and considerably reduced the risk of infection by 60.8%. The vaccine also reduced the risk of hospitalization by 80.3% reflecting its strong efficacy. According to the World Health Organization, more than 40% of the world's population is now at a risk for dengue and it is projected that there will be 50 to 100 million dengue infections globally each year.


September 25, 2014

Nicox glaucoma drug meets trial endpoint

Accordin to Nicox, Vesneo, a candidate treatment for patients with glaucoma has reached its primary endpoint in a Phase 3 development programme, showing that it can effectively lower intraocular pressure.


Novartis psoriatic arthritis drug candidate successful in two Phase 3 trials AIN457 (secukinumab)

Novartis product candidate for the treatment of psoriatic arthritis, meets its primary and secondary endpoints versus placebo in two Phase 3 clinical trials. Secukinumab is a fully human monoclonal antibody that stops the action of IL-17A, a protein that stimulates inflammatory disease. It is also in clinical trials for the treatment of ankylosing spondylitis and rheumatoid arthritis.




September 23, 2014

Boehringer Ingelheim unveils cost cuts, job losses

Boehringer Ingelheim (BI) as announced plans to cut up to 600 jobs in Germany as part of a bid to save around 450 million euros, or 15%, of its business costs in the country by the end of 2016. News comes just weeks after it was reported that BI’s half-year sales had dropped 8% to 6.5 billion euros. Andreas Barner, the company chairman stressed the German drugmaker intends to achieve its staff reduction target without lay-offs, turning to natural attrition, already-agreed retirements, and the expiry of temporary contracts instead.

September 25, 2014

MedImmune sets up joint laboratory with Cancer Research UK AstraZeneca’s

MedImmune unit is linking up with Cancer Research UK’s commercial arm CRT to set up a joint laboratory in Cambridge focusing on novel biologic oncology treatments.


September 26, 2014 

Ebola Death Toll Tops 3,000

At least 3,080 people have died of Ebola in West Africa, the World Health Organization said, bringing the death toll from the worst Ebola outbreak ever above 3,000 for the first time. More than 6,500 total cases have been confirmed

FDA authorizes Tekmira to provide TKM-Ebola

Under expanded access protocols approved by the FDA and Health Canada, Tekmira Pharmaceuticals can now provide TKM-Ebola to patients with confirmed or suspected Ebola virus infections. President and CEO Dr. Mark J. Murray says, "Our TKM-Ebola drug supplies are limited, but we will continue to help where we can as we continue to focus on the other important objectives.”


Author : Jean-Claude MULLER, Special Advisor,Innovation & International Relationship (I&IR)



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