Industry Briefs September 2014

Globavir in Quick Development of Novel Ebola Drug


Globavir, a biotechnology company that develops therapeutics to treat infectious disease, is fast tracking development of GBV006, an experimental treatment developed at the Stanford University School of Medicine for the Ebola virus. GBV006 combines FDA-approved drugs that show treatment efficacy and are well tolerated by patients. To help control the widespread West Africa outbreak, the company is seeking approval through an established compassionate use regulatory pathway. Globavir expects to launch the treatment by year’s end.

Roche Snaps Up Santaris and InterMune

After the recent $450 million purchase of Santaris, a Danish pharmaceutical company focusing on RNA-testing molecules, Roche dramatically upped the ante to pay $8.3 billion for InterMune, a U.S.-based biotechnology company. According to Reuters, the InterMune buy is another in a fast paced, growing line of multibillion-dollar pharmaceutical consolidation and merger deals that adds up, year-to-date, to more than $346 billion. The InterMune purchase agreement represents another step in Roche’s plans to diversify its product offerings to include more than cancer drugs and expand into more disease areas including respiratory medicine.

Covidien Buys Reverse Medical

While the financial terms of the acquisition were not disclosed at press time, Covidien completed the purchase of Irvine, CA-based Reverse Medical, a privately held medical device company concentrated on expanding vascular disease management. According to the Wall Street Journal, the Covidien acquisition will allow increased market penetration through the leveraging of Reverse Medical’s existing vascular technologies and customer relationships. Reverse Medical will become part of the company’s neurovascular medical device product line.

Brett Wall, President of Neurovascular, Covidien, told WSJ, “Reverse Medical is complementary to our existing portfolio and will allow us to leverage existing vascular technologies to compete in the worldwide vascular embolization market, which is growing at a double digit rate.”

ViaCyte Partners With Janssen

The regenerative medicine company, ViaCyte, is engaged in a Rights Agreement with Janssen Research & Development, one of the Janssen Pharmaceutical Companies of J&J, and received $20 million from Janssen and J&J Development Corporation, according to an online report from MarketWatch. In turn, Janssen receives a future right to evaluate a transaction regarding the VC-01 combination product under development by ViaCyte to treat type 1 diabetes. This right extends through the initial evaluation of clinical efficacy of the product.

The $20 million cash infusion, combined with another $5.4 million in private equity financing, according to MarketWatch, contributes significant additional resources for the continuing development of ViaCyte’s stem cell derived islet replacement therapy for insulin diabetes—and will accelerate the clinical development of VC-01.

Amgen To Cut Up To 2,900 Jobs, Close Plants

Starting later this year, Amgen, the world’s largest biotechnology company, will lay off up to 2,900 employees as part of the company’s restructuring plans. Most layoffs will affect the Southern California facilities—to the tune of 1,500 employees. The layoffs are the result of a restructuring program designed to free up money for the creation of new drugs.

To that end, layers of management and facilities will be cut. This restructuring is expected to result in $475 million in pre-tax savings, and improve efficiency and productivity, which will boost stockholder value.


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