Company news from the 11/14/06 News Brief

Genentech has agreed to acquire its Xolair co-marketer, the Houston-based biotech firm Tanox, in a deal worth $919 million. The deal is the first-ever acquisition agreement in Genentech’s 30-year history and just the latest example of the rash of biotech purchases made by pharma companies and large biotechs in recent weeks. New Jersey will be home to Bayer’s US pharmaceutical operations as it integrates those of Schering AG, the company said. Bayer will relocate its US headquarters from Connecticut to sites used by Schering’s US unit, Berlex, in Wayne and Montville, NJ. Also housed there will be Bayer’s global oncology and specialized therapeutics business units and its global drug development groups and other business support functions. The moves, which also include consolidating into three major global R&D sites (Berlin and Wuppertal, Germany, and Berkeley, CA), enable Bayer to lower its infrastructure costs, Bayer said. The company plans to lay off about 600 US employees, mostly in research, and another 200 will be cut in other locations at a cost of about $350 million. Its current stateside offices in West Haven, CT, will be closed, along with a research site in Richmond, CA, Bayer acquired fellow German drugmaker Schering AG in June 2006 for about $22 billion. Sepracor is reported to be planning to sell European rights to its sleep aid Lunesta and will include data on the drug's benefits on depression in the application for approval next year. Sepracor plans to submit its application for European approval in the second quarter of 2007. Lunesta was approved by the FDA in December 2004. Spectrum Pharmaceuticals settled a patent dispute with GlaxoSmithKline related to its generic version of Glaxo’s Imitrex injection. Under the terms of the settlement, Spectrum can exclusively distribute authorized generic versions of certain sumatriptan injection products in the US with an expected launch during Glaxo’s sumatriptan pediatric exclusivity period which begins on Aug. 6, 2008, with a launch occurring no later than Nov. 6, 2008. 3M has agreed to sell-off its global pharmaceuticals business, which makes dermatology, women’s health, cardiology and respiratory treatments, for $2.1 billion. The 3M pharmaceuticals division’s most well-known brands include Aldara for the treatment of genital warts, Maxair Autohaler for asthma and MetroGel-Vaginal, indicated in the treatment of bacterial vaginosis. The sell-off of the unit will take place in a three-part transaction, 3M said. Graceway pharmaceuticals will acquire 3M’s pharmaceutical operations in the US, Canada and Latin America for $875 million. Swedish drugs group Meda said it would buy 3M’s pharmaceutical business in Europe for $857 million. Australian private equity firms Ironbridge Capital and Archer Capital agreed to acquire 3M’s pharma operation in the Asia-Pacific region, including Australia and South Africa, for $349 million. Of the 1,050 employees in the division, about 70% would receive employment opportunities with the acquiring companies, 3M said. Sales at the 3M unit were flat in 2005 at $4 billion. In April, 3M said it was exploring the sale of its drugs business, stating its growth would be better suited to the direction of a “dedicated pharmaceutical industry company.”