Jobs at GSK’s biopharmaceutical plant in 30 years?

There is some speculation that the global pharmaceutical company, GlaxoSmithKline, are planning to open their first new UK factory in 30 years, potentially creating 1,000 new pharmaceutical jobs.

Andrew Witty, chief executive of GSK is said to have not ruled out Montrose as a possible location for the new factory. The Montrose site current has 230 permanent and  50 part-time staff on it’s payroll.

Speaking of the Montrose site, Witty stated, “It is extraordinary to think that a few years ago the Montrose plant was close to shutting.

But the workforce applied great brain power to cost and process efficiently and now we are bringing work back from India – and Montrose is where it is going.

This is a workforce that has outmanoeuvred the threat of closure.”

Other sites shortlisted as possible locations for the new biopharmaceutical site include Barnard Castle, County Durham,  Irvine and Ulverston.

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Novartis gets Green Light for Cannabis-based Drug

As reported by New Scientist, the swiss pharma company Novartis have just had the green light to sell their cannabis-based drug, Sativex to Australia, Asia the Middle East and Africa. The pharmaceutical company already sell the drug in the UK and Spain.

Sativex combines two active components of cannabis to help treat the involuntary muscle movements experienced by those with multiple sclerosis. It is also on trial in the US to help treat cancer pain.

The drug is manufactured by GW Pharmaceuticals based in Porton Down. Justin Gover, managing director of GW Pharmaceuticals stated, “Attracting a company the calibre of Novartis does send a final message that there’s serious science supporting this area.”

 

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Do you think GSK have the Best Reputation of all the Pharma Companies?

Apparently so, according to the latest UK RepTrack Pulse 2011 survey published by the Reputation Institute. GSK ranked 44 with 72.16 points, ahead of it’s reputational competitor, Shire and closely followed by AstraZeneca.

So what do you think? Which of the big pharmaceutical companies has the best reputation in your eyes?

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Japanese Pharma Plans to Push International M&A’s

As reported by Reuters, Japanese pharmaceutical companies are planning to push for more international mergers and acquisitions.

It is thought this has come in reaction to the change in the Japanese market – in previous years, the Japanese pharma companies were highly protected by their own government when it came to their domestic markets. As a result, it was extremely difficult for a foreign company to break into the market. However, according to Peter J. Solomon Vice Chairman Frederick Frank, the market has shifted somewhat:

“So all of a sudden Japanese pharmaceutical companies like Takeda had to be looking outwards, not just inwards. So the last couple of years, Japanese companies had to be very aggressive.”

This was reflected in Astellas Pharma’s acquisition of the biotech OSI Pharmaceuticals.

However, it seems that the degree of Japanese cross-boarder deals will be constrained by the size of the Japanese pharmaceutical companies themselves. According to Evercore Senior Managing Director Francois Maisonrouge, the size of the deals made is “only going to get bigger if the Japanese companies themselves consolidate and get bigger. There’s lots of impediments to that.”

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Merck Expands Pipeline into Eye Treatments

As reported by The Wall Street Journal, the pharma giant Merck, has acquired Inspire Pharmaceuticals in a deal worth $430million. The move highlights a strategic decision by the company to expand it’s pipeline into treatments for eye diseases.

Inspire Pharmaceuticals are the manufacturer of the eye treatments Azasite, which is used to target pinkeye caused by bacteria and Restasis which is used for dry-eye.

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Novartis to Reduce UK Drug Development

As reported by the BBC, The Swiss-based pharmaceutical company, Novartis are reportedly planning to close their drug development and manufacturing operations in Horsham, West Sussex.

This site currently employees 950 staff and this is set to reduce to 400 within just two years. It produces approximately 60 different formulations of drugs. Staff will be retained who work on developing respiratory drugs in Horsham. Those focused on gastrointestinal medicines will be relocated to their units based in Cambridge, Massachusetts and Basel in Switzerland.

The announcement comes after a series of cuts by pharmaceutical companies across the UK. Including, Pfizer who are to close their research and development centre in Sandwich, Kent – potentially cutting up to 2,400 posts. In addition, both AstraZeneca and GlaxoSmithKline are shutting down sites across the UK.

Novartis have disputed the notion that their plans to close the Horsham site is linked to the decline in attractiveness of the UK in terms of innovation. General Manager, Sue Webb stated, “With significant changes in healthcare systems aimed to contain or cut cost, this critical assessment and the subsequent potential changes to the Novartis UK organisation are key to maintain significant investment in innovative drugs and our research efforts in the UK.”

The Swiss-based pharmaceutical company plan to maintain their manufacturing sites based in Grimsby, Liverpool and Dundee.

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Japan Suspends Use of Pfizer/Sanofi Vaccine

As reported by The Wall Street Journal, the pediatric vaccine, Prevnar which is made by pharmaceutical companies Pfizer and Sanofi Aventis, has been temporarily suspended in the Japanese market due to fears it could be linked to the deaths of four children.

The children ranges from six months to two years old and it has been reported that they died after being treated with Prevnar. The results of the investigation are due to be released on March 8th . It seems a similar case was reported in 2009 when three infants died in the Netherlands around the time of vaccination.

A spokeswoman from Pfizer stated that the pharmaceutical company, “thoroughly evaluates all reported cases and works closely with health authorities to determine if there is any association with use of our medicines and vaccines.”

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Shire Appoints Former GSK and Abbott Execs

As reported by The Pharma Letter, the Biopharma specialist, Shire has recently added two extra additions to their team – two senior R&D Executives – one from GlaxoSmithKline and the other from Abbott Laboratories.

Former GlaxoSmithKline R&D Executive, Lawson Macartney, was appointed to the role of Senior Vice President of the Emerging Business Unit at Shire. Whilst, Mario Saltarelli, from Abbott Laboratories has been welcomed as the new Senior VP of Clinical Development and Medical Affairs.

Speaking of the new recruits, Jeffrey Jonas, Senior VP of R&D at Shire, stated, “The experience and expertise that Drs Macartney and Saltarelli bring to the Shire team will help us advance our pipeline, more effectively manage the lifecycle of our medicines and provide growth opportunities – all in the spirit of helping patients with life-altering conditions to lead better lives.”

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Government Pledge to Help Save Pfizer Site

As reported by InPharm, the Science Minister, David Willets has announced that the government will be doing all it can to maintain the pharmaceutical research that takes place at Pfizer’s site in Kent – possibly by creating a new science park there.

However, Richard Pike of the Royal Society of Chemistry was quick to point out that UK was not necessarily seen as a good bet for R&D by investors. He stated that the structural changes taking place in the pharma industry worldwide, combined with skills shortages in the UK, might mean a rethink is needed by the government. He said,  “I’m not suggesting a knee-jerk reaction but a fuller understanding of what’s driving pharma companies to do what they’re doing.”

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Pfizer to Cut 2,400 Pharma Jobs

As reported by Sky News, the US Pharmaceutical company, Pfizer has this afternoon announced their plans to close their site in Sandwich, Kent, cutting up to 2,400 pharmaceutical jobs.

The research and development centre will be closing down over the next two years. Speaking of the closure, Dr Ruth McKernan, the company’s head stated, “It is with a deep sense of sadness that we announce our proposal to exit our site in Sandwich, Kent.

“It has played an important role in the discovery and development of medicines and has brought many life-saving treatments to patients.”

The closure is part of a plan by the pharma company to partake in a global restructuring programme in order to, “to create a more focused and sustainable R&D engine for innovation”.

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