Valeant Pharmaceutical Inc to bag Lithuanian Sanitas
Kaunas – US company Valeant Pharmaceuticals International, Inc. wants to purchase Lithuanian generic drug maker Sanitas AB for EUR314 million in cash. Shareholders of Sanitas have already agreed to sell Valeant 87.2% of Sanitas’ outstanding shares. Sanitas has a generics product portfolio of 390 products and outstanding marketing power in Central and Eastern Europe, primarily Poland, Russia and Lithuania. The firm, which is developing dermatology, ophthalmology and hospital injectables, is expected to make more than EUR100 million in revenue this year.
Riga/Olaine – Two of the largest Latvian pharmaceutical companies began the year with significant transformations. Riga-based pharmaceutical manufacturer JSC Grindeks has reacted to the good sales in Russia and other ex-Soviet...
Riga/Olaine – Two of the largest Latvian pharmaceutical companies began the year with significant transformations. Riga-based pharmaceutical manufacturer JSC Grindeks has reacted to the good sales in Russia and other ex-Soviet republics and is now planning to start manufacturing in Russia. Whereas last year the sales in the domestic and neighbouring market fell by about 4%, the sales in Russia rose by more than 50%, accounting for more than half of its overall turnover. Grindeks is already producing in Estonia, Lithuania and Poland. Another Latvian company, JSC Olainfarm, also one of the largest companies in the Baltic States, has signed an agreement with an as-yet undisclosed “international company” to start the production and international distribution for the world market of a finished form of memantine, a treatment for Alzheimer´s disease. Olainfarm will produce the drug and ensure supplies for the ‘eastern market’, The Baltics, CIS, Russia, Central and Eastern Europe and the Middle East. The undisclosed partner will bring it to the ‘western market’: North America, Australia, South Africa and Japan. Olainfarm hopes to reach a sales volume exceeding 2 million euros next year and more than 14 million euros in the following years.
Zagreb – The Croatian Health Minister, Neven Ljubicic, has set up a commission to advise hospitals about the merits of doctors attending conventions and professional symposia. Participation at scientific meetings is often...
Zagreb – The Croatian Health Minister, Neven Ljubicic, has set up a commission to advise hospitals about the merits of doctors attending conventions and professional symposia. Participation at scientific meetings is often sponsored by the pharmaceutical industry, which is seen by Ljubicic as providing excessive and undue hospitality for the attending doctors. The commission, which includes representatives from the ministry and professional associations in the healthcare sector, is now taking a closer look at these trips. In the future, hospital administrators will have the final say on which events doctors are allowed to attend. Travelling abroad more than once a year, or participating in more than two domestic conferences will require the approval of the commission. The focus is also on the reason for attendance. Doctors are now expected to state three months in advance if they plan to participate as a speaker or delegate, the aim of the meeting, the expected benefit for Croation healthcare and the sponsorship.
Riga – The recently established Latvian Biotechnology Association has as its main aim the promotion of the development of biotechnology in Latvia through the clustering of academia, governmental bodies and industry in joint...
Riga – The recently established Latvian Biotechnology Association has as its main aim the promotion of the development of biotechnology in Latvia through the clustering of academia, governmental bodies and industry in joint projects. There will be participation in international projects and joint representation of its members in meetings and exhibitions. Emphasis will also be on promoting the education of young specialists in biotechnology and related fields, and on raising public awareness of biotechnology in society in general. Collaboration with the food industry and producers in the bio-energy and environmental sectors is planned. Several of the initiators behind the association are already involved in the ScanBalt network of networks. The association currently has launched a website which is expeced go online at the end of November at http://www.latbiotech.lv.
On first sight everything seems rather small in the Baltic country of Latvia: It has 1.4 million citizens, about 8,000 students and only 5 universities. However, there is another face to the the Republic of Latvia: it produced...
Nearly all of the life science and biotechnology activities of Latvia, which is member of the Scanbelt network, are clustered around Latvia’s capital Riga. Recently, Jelgava has emerged as a second center, according to the Latvian Biotechnology Association. The centralized network of all the relevant players in Latvian biotechnology is due to begin its activities at the end of November (www.latbiotech.lv). One of the organization’s chief responsibilites will be as to give information, where Latvian R&D partners can be found. This will be needed alongside the
existing companies many biomedical services are offered by academic institutions, such as the Institute of Organic Synthesis, which runs a huge proportion of the clinical trials carried out in Latvia, as well as drug development services. Currently, the main capacity of the native biotech sector is not primarily focused on the development of proprietary pharmaceutical compounds, but on the cost-effective formulation and manufacturing of compounds as well as on wood-processing biotechnology and biofuel production. A biofuel funding focus was launched in 2003 by the Latvian government.
Funding and Research
The research and commercialization focus is currently in the fields of bioinformatics, pharmaceuticals (e.g. manufacture of generics, pharmaceutical ingredients), biomedical equipment, nanobiotechnology, and biotech manufacturing, according to the Latvian Biotechnology Association (see table 1). Additionally, Latvia initiated the establishment of a large population biobank in 2003 with public funds of more than EUR600,000. Under the IP management of the Latvian Genome Foundation, the project aims to take coded samples together with blanket informed consent from 1 million individual donors by 2009 for research purposes. If this is achieved, the biobank would exceed the capacities of the UK biobank. High-end instrumentation for performing proteome, PCR- and SNP analyses have been already established under the coordination of the Biomedical Research and Study Centre, the largest institution for biomedical research in Latvia. The Latvian research strategy spanning 1998 to 2010, called for a ‘national concept of research and development, and lists life sciences (e.g. bio-medicine or drug design) as a key area for Latvian R&D system development. Current priorities include: – the establishment of competence centers for the purpose of greater university-industry collaboration. – R&D grants (in 2004 public funding for biotech R&D amounted to approximately EUR942,000) and – the establishment of ‘centers of excellence’ as condensation points for commercial activities. Most R&D spending went to the Latvian Institute of Organic Synthesis, with EUR432,000 (2004), followed by the Faculty of Biology at the University of Latvia (EUR400,000), Riga Technical University (EUR80,000), and the Latvian University for Agriculture (EUR20,000), which together are home to 2,000 biotech students and have an annual output of about 50 PhDs and more than 100 masters, according to the first mapping results of the ScanBalt Bioregion. Selected research institutes
The top research players are the Biomedical Research and Study Centre (Riga), which runs the Latvian genome database, a person identification database, and is developing chimeric viral proteins as vaccine, diagnostic, and gene therapy tools. The Institute of Microbiology and Biotechnology (University of Latvia) has a focus on biodegradable polymers, biotechnological conversion of renewable resources, and enzymatic conversion of sucrose. The Latvian Institute of Organic Synthesis has worked out 17 original and more than 60 re-synthesized medicaments, as well as their manufacturing process. The SIGRA institute at the Latvia University of Agriculture focuses on feed technology, and veterinary medicine.
The young biotech sector will benefit from its low loan costs and significant national support for the sector. Investments into biotech are particularly anticipated with regards to the EU structural funds. Although the venture capital market in Latvia is at an early stage of development, there are already around 35 private equity funds that offer venture capital for innovative start-up companies and which cover operations in the geographic territory of Latvia. They usually cover all Baltic states and were originally established by EU or USA owners.
Selected Latvian life sciences companies
Asla Biotech Ltd., Riga biotech services, gene synthesis, custom DNA/RNA services, protein firstname.lastname@example.org expression, polyclonal and pre-immune sera, monoclonal antibodies, www.asla-biotech.com cell lines, NMR spectroscopy of proteins, contract research Biosan Ltd., Riga developer of laboratory instruments for sample preparation www.biosan.lv Biotechnical center JSC Manufacturer of bioreactors http://www.bioreactors.net ELMI Ltd., Riga developer of laboratory equipment for medicine and biology www.elmi-tech.com GenEra Ltd. 2001 spin-off from Biomedical Research & Study Center focuses on http://www.genera.lv molecular diagnostics; genotyping, and DNA services Grindeks Pjsc founded 1946, development, manufacture of final dosage forms, http://www.grindeks.lv and pharmaceuticals, CRO for clinical trials Lariphana Ltd. Drug developer, Aniviral dsRNA drug Lariphan with immunomodu- lating and antiproliferative activity Olainfarm AS established 1972, pharmaceutical ingredients, medicaments producer, http://www.olainfarm.lv CRO for clinical trials
Tartu – The Archimedes Foundation has launched the Scanbalt Project ‘Boosting Baltic FP7’. Like its predecessor, the project aims to increase awareness of FP7 programs and related knowledge for National Contact Points (NCPs) and...
Tartu – The Archimedes Foundation has launched the Scanbalt Project ‘Boosting Baltic FP7’. Like its predecessor, the project aims to increase awareness of FP7 programs and related knowledge for National Contact Points (NCPs) and advance their area of action by promoting advanced partnerships, entrepreneurship and competitiveness. The project has two target groups, the NCPs of 4 Baltic EU members (Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania and Poland) and their life science research community, as a model case for effective technology transfer. See also: http://guide.irc.ee/index.php.
Vilnius – Lithuania’s only biotech drug manufacturer, Sicor Biotech, is applying for the largest amount of EU structural fund support within the ‘direct support to research’ group.The invitation for tenders under the measure...
Vilnius – Lithuania’s only biotech drug manufacturer, Sicor Biotech, is applying for the largest amount of EU structural fund support within the ‘direct support to research’ group. The invitation for tenders under the measure ‘Research and Development, Formation of Ties among Industry and Business Entities and Research Institutions’ attracted a total of 57 applications, requesting LTL67.3m (Euro19.5m) of support. The total amount of support to be granted is LTL37.9m (Euro11m) whilst the total number of applications exceeded the allocated amount of support by far. The average amount requested per project was LTL1.2m (Euro0.35m), with the largest amount – LTL4.9m (Euro1.5m) – being requested by Sicor Biotech. The company produces various oncological and viral as well as growth disorder medicines.
Tartu - Tartu University and one of the leading Estonian molecular diagnostic companies, Quattromed AS, submitted a provisional patent application in the US to protect a technology that significantly accelerates the production...
Tartu - Tartu University and one of the leading Estonian molecular diagnostic companies, Quattromed AS, submitted a provisional patent application in the US to protect a technology that significantly accelerates the production process of therapeutic proteins and other biological substances in mammalian cells. According to a joint agreement, Quattromed is entitled to carry out the feasibility studies during the coming 10 months at its R&D laboratory in order to test the industrial applicability of the invention made by university scientist. Development of stable cell lines for the purpose of reliable protein expression is a time-consuming process, which usually takes about 10-12 months. Quattromed's Cell Factory method (QMCF) shortens this to only 2-3 months.
Vilnius - The Lithuanian Innovation Centre (LIC), a Member of ScanBalt, has celebrated its 10th anniversary in February. The non-profit organization provides services to enterprises, research institutions, government and business...
Vilnius - The Lithuanian Innovation Centre (LIC), a Member of ScanBalt, has celebrated its 10th anniversary in February. The non-profit organization provides services to enterprises, research institutions, government and business support organisations. These include the implementation of EU R&D projects addressing the life sciences and information society technology communities and services to absorb EU Structural Funds.
Tallinn - The objective of the ScanBalt Intellectual Property Knowledge Network (IPKN) workshop to be held on March 30-31, 2006, in Tallinn, is to facilitate regional cooperation and coordination of research and education in the...
Tallinn - The objective of the ScanBalt Intellectual Property Knowledge Network (IPKN) workshop to be held on March 30-31, 2006, in Tallinn, is to facilitate regional cooperation and coordination of research and education in the field of intellectual property (IP) management in order to boost supply and demand as well as accessibility of IP knowledge throughout the ScanBalt BioRegion. Participants will get new insights into IP and its related issues and learn about each others views. The next workshop will be on April 27-28, 2006, in Cracow, Poland. More information: www.cip.chalmers.se/ipkn.
Kaunas - Sanitas AB announced in early-January to go ahead with its acquisition of a controlling stake in listed Polish drug maker Jelfa despite legal challenges to the deal. Sanitas won a tender to acquire a 47%-stake in Jelfa...
Kaunas - Sanitas AB announced in early-January to go ahead with its acquisition of a controlling stake in listed Polish drug maker Jelfa despite legal challenges to the deal. Sanitas won a tender to acquire a 47%-stake in Jelfa from the state treasury and state-owned insurer PZU and is gearing up to call a public bid for the additional shares in Jelfa, which could end up Sanitas taking full control of the company. “It is still under consideration whether we will call for 66% or 100% of Jelfa shares,” said Sanitas' managing director Saulius Jurgelenas. Under Polish law, Sanitas must call for no fewer than 66% of Jelfa shares. The decision on the call will be taken immediately after signing the agreement to acquire the state treasury's and PZU's shares, Jurgelenas added. Sanitas won on the basis of the highest price offered, that is PLN87.10 (Euro22.56) per share, or PLN278.37 million (Euro77.1 million) for the state-held stake. The deal values Jelfa at PLN592.28m (Euro153.44 million).The company justified the 13.8%-premium on Jelfa's current market price by pointing to expected synergies from the deal. Jelfa could become “the base for further expansion in eastern Europe,” said Jurgelenas. Only in June 2005 Sanitas took over Slovakia's third-largest pharma company, the biologicals manufacturer Hoechst-Biotika, a joint venture between Sanofi-Aventis and Slovakian Biotika, for Euro12.7 million.
7th Berlin Conference on IP in Life Sciences: Big Data, Big Drugs
The health care industry faces significant transformation, driven by a boom in knowledge within biomedical sciences and breakthrough technologies such as gene sequencing. The management of "big data“ will change the understanding of diseases, development of drugs and treatment of patients. more