May's top stories: Thermo Fisher Scientific buys Patheon for $7.2bn, AstraZeneca to sell rights for Seloken

Thermo Fisher Scientific agreed to acquire Dutch contract development and manufacturing organisation (CDMO) Patheon for $7.2bn. AstraZeneca entered an agreement to provide the commercial rights for Seloken / Seloken ZOK and associated Logimax fixed-dose combination treatments in Europe to Recordati. Pharmaceutical-technology.com wraps up the key headlines from May.


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Thermo Fisher Scientific agreed to buy Patheon for $7.2bn

US based company Thermo Fisher Scientific agreed to acquire Dutch contract development and manufacturing organisation (CDMO) Patheon for $7.2bn.

The transaction was approved by the board of directors of both companies.

Thermo Fisher will now start a tender offer to acquire all issued and outstanding shares of Patheon for $35 per share in cash.


AstraZeneca signed deal to sell commercial rights for Seloken in Europe

AstraZeneca entered an agreement to provide the commercial rights for Seloken / Seloken ZOK (metoprolol tartrate and metoprolol succinate respectively) and associated Logimax fixed-dose combination (metoprolol succinate and felodipine) treatments in Europe to Recordati.

Under the agreement, Recordati will pay AstraZeneca $300m following the deal's completion, while AstraZeneca will manufacture and supply medicines to Recordati.

AstraZeneca will also be eligible to receive tiered royalties based on sales, initially at a double-digit percentage.


Crown Bioscience collaborated with Jiangsu Qyun to develop CTLA-4 Antibody

Crown Bioscience, a fully owned subsidiary of Crown Bioscience International, entered a collaboration with Jiangsu Qyun Bio-Pharmaceutical to develop a CTLA-4 antibody.

Under the collaboration, CrownBio will utilise Jiangsu Qyun Bio-Pharmaceuticals' expertise to assist in the investigational new drug (IND) application and advance the development of its 10B10 antibody.

CrownBio CEO Jean-Pierre Wery said: “The collaboration agreement between CrownBio and Jiangsu Qyun Bio-Pharmaceutical is indicative of our focus on innovation, and enhances our portfolio in immuno-oncology.


Bioverativ agreed to purchase True North Therapeutics for $400m

Global biotechnology company Bioverativ entered a definitive agreement to acquire US-based company True North Therapeutics for $400m.

True North Therapeutics is a privately held, clinical-stage, rare-disease biotechnology company.

Under the deal, the investors for True North Therapeutics are also eligible to receive additional payments of up to $425m, contingent on the achievement of future development, regulatory and sales milestones.


UK CMA accused Merck of breaking competition law with discount scheme

The UK Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) accused US pharmaceutical company Merck Sharp & Dohme (MSD) of operating an anti-competitive discount scheme for its medicine Remicade.

Remicade is the brand name for MSD’s version of a biological medicine called infliximab, which is used to treat patients suffering from gastroenterology and rheumatology conditions such as Crohn’s disease, ulcerative colitis and rheumatoid arthritis.

In the provisional investigation, which opened in December 2015, CMA found that MSD violated competition law by starting the discount scheme for Remicade that can affect other ‘biosimilar’ versions of infliximab, which are comparatively new to the market.


Norgine agreed to buy Merus Labs for $342m

Norgine entered a definitive agreement to acquire all issued and outstanding common shares of Merus Labs International for $1.65 per share in cash, including the assumption of all debt obligations.

The total enterprise value of this transaction is roughly $342m.

Norgine will finance the transaction through a combination of available cash and new credit facilities that it secured before the deal.


GSK invested $139m to increase Benlysta (belimumab) production capacity

GSK invested $139m in its biopharmaceutical manufacturing site located in Rockville, Maryland, to expand the production of Benlysta (belimumab).

Benlysta is indicated for treatment in adult patients with active, auto-antibody positive, systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) undergoing standard therapy.

The investment will be used to boost the internal capacity of the manufacturing site to improve bulk drug substance production by nearly 50%, to fulfil the growing demand.


Durect and Sandoz signed $293m deal to commercialise Posimir in US

Durect signed a development and commercialisation agreement with Sandoz, a division of Novartis, to develop and market Posimir (Saber-Bupivacaine) in the US.

Posimir is an investigational, locally acting, non-opioid analgesic indicated to provide up to three days of continuous pain relief following surgery.

It uses the Saber technology that consistently delivers bupivacaine to the surgical site for 72 hours.


AC Immune and Essex agreed to develop biological treatment for neurodegenerative diseases

AC Immune and Essex Bio-Technology signed a research collaboration agreement to conduct a pre-clinical study and clinical co-development of a novel biological therapeutic to treat neurodegenerative diseases and neuroinflammation.

Under the collaboration, both companies will seek to develop a recombinant protein therapeutic candidate that can act on a unique neuroprotective mechanism to treat neurological diseases such as Alzheimer's and frontotemporal dementia.

Alongside undertaking joint research commitment, Essex will also provide financial support to AC Immune for the pre-IND development of the biological agent.


US Court of Appeals reversed District Court’s ruling on Aloxi patent

A panel of the United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit reversed the opinion of the District Court for the District of New Jersey for Aloxi (palonosetron hydrochloride) injection.

The court decreed that certain patent claims covering Aloxi are not valid or infringed by Teva's generic palonosetron product.

The ruling also stated that Teva can launch a generic version of Aloxi only if the Federal Circuit, the New Jersey Court and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) take additional steps to allow such a launch.