18 April 2005 00:01 [Source: ICB Americas]
Eli Lilly & Company scored a crucial victory last week when the US District Court for Southern District of Indiana ruled to uphold the patent on the company's blockbuster schizophrenia drug Zyprexa. Ivax Corp., Dr. Reddy's Laboratories Ltd. and Teva Pharmaceuticals Industries Ltd. had sought to market generic versions of the drug, which will now enjoy patent protection through 2011. Zyprexa brought in $4.42 billion in 2004, or just over 30 percent of the company's total revenues of $13.9 billion.
Erco Worldwide, a division of Calgary, Canada-based Superior Plus Inc., has purchased the Port Edwards, Wis., chloralkali business of Basic Chemicals Company LLC, an affiliate of Occidental Chemical Corp., for $29.5 million. The transaction, which is expected to close by the end of the second quarter, is subject to US Federal Trade Commission approval. Erco says 70 percent of the gross profit from the plant is derived from potassium hydroxide (caustic potash) production. The plant produces around 80,000 tons per year of caustic potash along with a similar amount of chlorine.
Novartis will pay UK biotech firms Vectura Group and Arakis Ltd. upwards of $375 million for access to a drug for the treatment of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), or smoker's lung. AD 237, an inhaled, long-acting antimuscarinic agent, is currently in Phase II trials. Novartis plans to develop the drug as both a monotherapy and in combination with QAB149, its beta2 agonist also in Phase II trials. Vectura and Arakis will each receive an up-front payment of $15 million and could stand to gain up to $172.5 million each in milestone payment for both the monotherapy and combination product, plus royalties on product sales. Novartis says the current market for COPD drug therapy is worth about $4 billion per year and is expected to grow to $10 billion by 2010.
Praxair Inc. has finalized an agreement for supplying hydrogen to BP's refinery in Whiting, Ind., for 20 years. Praxair will build a 20 million cubic-feet-per-day hydrogen plant to supply BP and other customers in northern Indiana. BP will use the hydrogen to make ultra-low-sulfur gasoline and diesel fuels. "This expansion more than doubles Praxair's hydrogen capacity in Whiting, further strengthening our ability to meet the growing needs of customers," notes Howard Brodbeck, vice president, north region, for Praxair's North American industrial gases business unit.
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