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April 9, 2015

March’s top stories: Salix sold to Valeant, global drug development partnerships

Salix accepted Valeant's $15.8bn offer, AstraZeneca and HSCI partnered to develop new medicines for diabetes; while India introduced new Rotavirus vaccine. Pharmaceutical-technology.com wraps-up the key headlines from March 2015.

By Prasanth Katam

Astra

Salix accepts Valeant’s $15.8bn offer

Canada-based Valeant Pharmaceuticals International increased its offer to an enterprise value of $15.8bn from $14.5bn to acquire Salix Pharmaceuticals.

Both firms entered an amendment to their agreement and planned the merger announced in February.

Under the amendment, Valeant will pay an increased price of $173 per share to Salix over the original price of $158 per share. The revised offer price will add around additional $1bn cash to Salix stockholders.

AstraZeneca and HSCI partner to develop new medicines for diabetes

Astra

AstraZeneca established a five-year research collaboration with Harvard Stem Cell Institute (HSCI) to adapt a technique that creates human beta cells from stem cells.

AstraZeneca will use the technique in its screens of compound library to develop new treatments for diabetes.

HSCI co-chairman and Howard Hughes Medical Institute investigator Dr Doug Melton, along with his team, has developed a technique that allows producing unlimited quantities of beta cells from human induced pluripotent stem cells generated directly from adult cells.

India introduces new Rotavirus vaccine

Rota

India launched its first domestically developed and manufactured Rotavirus vaccine, Rotavac, to combat infant mortality due to diarrhoea in the country.

Introduced by Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, the product was developed under a public-private partnership model.

Supported by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, the project involved partnership between the India Ministry of Science and Technology, institutions of the US Government, various government institutions and NGOs in the country.

Israel’s Teva to buy US-based Auspex for $3.5bn

Israel-based Teva Pharmaceutical Industries signed an agreement to acquire US late-clinical stage biopharmaceutical firm Auspex Pharmaceuticals, for around $3.5bn in equity value.

Under the deal, Teva will acquire all of the outstanding shares of Auspex at $101.00 per share in cash, which develops new medicines for hyperkinetic movement disorders and other rare diseases.

The acquired business will expand Teva’s position in central nervous system (CNS) segment, in addition to enhancing mid to long-term revenue and earnings growth profile.

China’s Innovent and Eli Lilly partner to develop three new cancer treatments

Innovent

US-based Eli Lilly and Company partnered with Chinese drug development firm Innovent Biologics to develop and commercialise three cancer treatments over the next decade.

The deal will expand the presence of both firms in the oncology market of China, according to Innovent.

Innovent Biologics co-founder, president and CEO Dr Michael Yu said: "This groundbreaking collaboration establishes Innovent as the very first company in China to form such a broad alliance with a global pharmaceutical company, and we are honoured to collaborate with a company as esteemed as Lilly."

Evotec signs five-year multi-component agreement with Sanofi

Germany-based Evotec signed an agreement with French drugmaker Sanofi for a major multi-component strategic partnership over the next five years.

As part of the deal, Sanofi will provide around €250m to Evotec, including more than €40m upfront cash payment. The five-year deal includes initiatives from Evotec’s two business units, comprising EVT Execute and EVT Innovate.

Based on strategic growth plans, Evotec is planning to expand its capabilities in drug discovery by incorporating a 20,000m² modern facility in Toulouse of France. It will include around 200 highly qualified and experienced employees.

Epizyme buys global rights of EZH2 programme from Eisai

Epizyme

US-based biopharmaceutical firm Epizyme reacquired global rights of its EZH2 programme, including EPZ-643, from Japanese partner Eisai.

As part of the deal, Epizyme will take the responsibility of the programme for global clinical development, manufacturing and commercialisation in all countries outside of Japan.

EPZ-6438 is a first-in-class inhibitor of EZH2 that is currently being assessed in a Phase I/II clinical trial to treat B-cell non-Hodgkin lymphoma (NHL) and INI1-deficient solid tumours such as synovial sarcoma and malignant rhabdoid tumour.

GSK to sell minority stake in South African drugmaker Aspen for $856m

GSK

GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) agreed to divest 28.2m ordinary shares in South African drugmaker Aspen Pharmacare, for around ZAR10.5bn ($856m).

The company has decided to sell shares at a price of ZAR372 per Aspen share.

GSK will have 28.2 million ordinary shares in Aspen, after settlement of the sale, which represents about 6.2% of the issued share capital.

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