GSK invest 10 million euros at their facility in Sligo, Ireland

Pharmatimes have reported that GlaxoSmithKline has decided to keep open its facility in Sligo Ireland and will instead invest 10 million euros into the plant.

GSK acquired the facility in Sligo when GSK bought the dermatology specialist Stiefel Laboratories for up to $3.6 billion in 2009.

There will be some jobs cuts at the plant over the next two years, which currently employs 180 people, with a “gradual” reduction to 120. However, GlaxoSmthKline estimated there would be an additional 50 jobs added in 2014 as the plant improved skills and capacity.

 

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UCB launches its new biotechnology facility

PharmaTimes has reported that UCB has launched its 65 million euro pilot biotechnology plant in Belgium.

The new facility is located at its Braine-l’Alleud site and will employ 100 employees. This new facility will produce cell culture-based therapeutic proteins that are dedicated to accelerating the availability of new drugs for severe diseases with a focus on the research and clinical trial phases

This new facility is designed enable UCB to improve its biological medicines.

Chief executive Roch Doliveux said that “today, 33% of drugs for human use worldwide are of biotechnological origin and represent more than half of UCB’s current R&D pipeline”. He added that “with this bio pilot plant, we will more rapidly initiate clinical studies of new antibody-based therapeutics”.

 

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Novartis’s rare cancer drug is launched in the UK

Pharmatimes have reported that Novartis have launched their new drug Jakavi which means for the first time patients in the UK with a rare form of blood cancer will now have access to this targeted therapy

Jakavi (ruxolitinib) is a first-in-class JAK 1 and JAK 2 inhibitor, and is now available to treat patients in the UK with disease-related enlarged spleen or various forms of myelofibrosis, which affects around 0.34-0.76 people in every 100,000.

Myelofibrosis is a rare, potentially life-threatening blood cancer characterised by bone marrow failure, enlarged spleen and debilitating symptoms including extreme fatigue, poor quality of life and weight loss, and shortened survival.

Jakavi received EU approval at the end of August 2012

 

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GSK & Theravance receive positive data for pill

PharmaTimes have reported that GlaxoSmithKline and Theravance have reported positive data from four Phase III trials assessing a combination therapy for maintenance treatment of COPD, making the once-daily pill closer to a regulatory filing.

The clinical trials involved more than 4,000 patients, including two 24-week efficacy trials comparing a combination of the long-acting muscarinic antagonist (LAMA) umeclidinium bromide and the long-acting beta-agonist (LABA) vilanterol. The date showed statistically significant improvements when compared with placebo and the individual parts in both trials, which tested difference doses.

Darrell Baker, SVP Respiratory Portfolio Optimisation Leader at GSK said “We are very encouraged by the results of these initial studies for our LAMA/LABA, an important cornerstone of our broad respiratory development portfolio…. These studies, together with our earlier dose-ranging work, give us confidence that this is a once-daily medicine with the potential to benefit many patients with COPD.

 

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Merck sign $303 million biotherapeutics deal

PharmaTimes has reported that Merck & Co has entered into a possible $303 million USD collaboration with Ambrx to develop ‘smart bomb’ antibodies.

Merck hope to develop biologic drug conjugates using Ambrx’s “site-specific protein medicinal chemistry technology”

Merck is paying an upfront fee of $15 million and is eligible to receive milestones totalling up to $288 million. Ambrx will also receive royalties.

Richard Murray, head of biologics and vaccines research at Merck said that this collaboration will allow us to combine Ambrx’s expertise in site-specific protein conjugation chemistry with Merck’s expanding antibody capabilities and extensive small molecule resources.

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