PHARMACY

CEO of AstraZeneca offers assurances that MedImmune identity will remain intact

BY Allison Cerra

LONDON AstraZeneca’s chief executive officer dispelled rumors that its newly acquired biotechnology company will be partitioned.

On Friday, the London-based pharmaceutical giant’s chief executive officer, David Brennan, assured investors that MedImmune will continue as a stand-alone wing of the company.

Earlier this year, AstraZeneca purchased MedImmune—the largest biotech in Maryland—for $15.6 billion.

MedImmune, Brennan said, was the first choice as an acquisition to lead AstraZeneca’s new strategy of developing more biotech products called biologics. The goal is to make biologics 25 percent of the company’s product pipeline by 2010, he said.

Biologics have a higher probability of success than conventional drugs and carry less pressure on pricing than conventional drugs, Brennan said at the 2007 Mid-Atlantic Bio investment conference There are tougher regulations of biologics in Europe than in the U.S., he said.

Part of the strategy will be to integrate another of AstraZeneca’s companies, antibody maker Cambridge Antibody Technology Group of the United Kingdom, into MedImmune. AstraZeneca acquired Cambridge last year for $1.3 billion.

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PHARMACY

Sandoz completes $10 million expansion of N.C. facility

BY Drew Buono

WILSON, N.C. Sandoz recently completed the major phase of its Wilson, North Carolina expansion when over 50 employees moved into a new 30,000 square foot building.

Over 65 new jobs are expected to be created in Wilson as a result of the $10 million expansion. The positions will be filled by pharmaceutical scientists and analytical chemists and will bring the total of employees at the site to almost 480.

“The new laboratories present an excellent workplace and opportunity for top scientists to help us continue to growth in the U.S.,” said Bernhard Hampl, president and chief executive officer of Sandoz. “The new products developed at the site will be the basis for the future growth of the Wilson site.”

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Pfizer, Taisho sign letter of intent over schizophrenia drug candidate

BY Drew Buono

TOKYO and NEW YORK Taisho Pharmaceuticals and Pfizer have concluded on a letter of intent with regard to Taisho’s new drug candidate for schizophrenia, TS-032.

The drug is currently in the pre-clinical stage and the letter of intent relates to a proposed license agreement regarding rights for development and commercialization.

Through the agreement, Taisho will grant exclusive development and commercialization rights outside Japan for the drug to Pfizer. Once the agreement is signed, Taisho will receive an initial payment of $22 million as well as milestone and royalties linked to the development and sales of the drug.

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