Chutes & Ladders—Merck scouts for CEO replacements after scrapping retirement rule

fiercebiotech | June 21, 2019

Welcome to this week's Chutes & Ladders, our roundup of hirings, firings and retirings throughout the industry. Please send the good word—or the bad—from your shop to Conor Hale, and we will feature it here at the end of each week. According to reports, the company is looking for a replacement for CEO Ken Frazier. Less than a year ago, Merck’s board scrapped a company policy that CEOs must retire at the age of 65, a move designed to keep long-term helmsman Frazier on board. But now, the Big Pharma is preparing for his exit and is searching for potential replacements with a preference for an internal candidate, according to Bloomberg. Chief Commercial Officer Frank Clyburn, Chief Financial Officer Robert Davis and Chief Marketing Officer Michael Nally are seen as potential replacements. The drugmaker is also getting ready for the departure of R&D head Roger Perlmutter, according to the report. FiercePharma

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INDUSTRIAL IMPACT

Vaxess Technologies Announces Grand Opening of GMP Manufacturing Facility

Vaxess Technologies | October 27, 2021

Vaxess Technologies, a biotechnology startup developing the MIMIXTM sustained-release intradermal microneedle patch, celebrated the grand opening of their 3,600 square feet pilot GMP (Good Manufacturing Practices) manufacturing facility on Monday. The facility, which is located in Woburn, MA at one of the Cummings Park properties, will feature a state-of-the-art cleanroom where manufacturing of vaccine patches for clinical trials will take place. Using the clinical-grade patches produced in the facility, Vaxess plans to enter the clinic in 2022. In addition to the manufacturing suite, Vaxess has announced plans to expand their Woburn footprint by another 6,300 square feet to provide additional GMP space as well as lab space for a host of other development activities to further the MIMI“ platform. After years of development, the company is thrilled to establish GMP manufacturing capabilities in Massachusetts for both our lead MIMIX-Flu vaccine program as well as a host of other pipeline products to follow,” said Vaxess CEO Michael Schrader. Vaxess has experienced tremendous growth over the past year beyond the opening of the manufacturing facility including technological advancement of the platform and the expansion of the organization from 15 full time employees to 35 with additional future growth planned. All the progress that Vaxess has made this past year would not have been possible without the help of the Massachusetts Life Sciences Center (MLSC), which has supported Vaxess’ efforts since its inception. MLSC President and CEO, Kenn Turner, attended the Grand Opening and shared a few words. “I want to congratulate the Vaxess team on their latest expansion to Woburn Since the Life Science Center’s initial investment in Vaxess, the company has exemplified the type of growth trajectory we aim to accelerate here in the Commonwealth. We will continue to lean in, and support companies seeking to create jobs and expand their footprint regionally, particularly in the manufacturing space.” Massachusetts Life Sciences Center President and CEO Kenn Turner In addition to Turner, numerous other individuals from both the Massachusetts biotechnology and political communities attended the event, including Joe Boncore, President of MassBio, Bill Cummings, Founder of Cummings Properties, Eric Anderson, President of Cummings Properties, Scott Galvin, Mayor of Woburn, Representative Richard Haggerty and Senator Cindy Friedman. “I want to congratulate Vaxess Technologies on their continued job growth and expansion, which offers further proof that opportunities for innovation in life sciences are truly statewide in Massachusetts,” said Massachusetts Housing and Economic Development Secretary Mike Kennealy, who serves as Co-Chair of the MLSC Board of Directors. “The Baker-Polito Administration remains committed to supporting life sciences companies that recognize Massachusetts as the ideal place for companies to grow and thrive.” About the MIMIX™ Technology The MIMIX patch is designed to be the easiest and most effective way to deliver vaccines and therapeutics. The patch releases treatments to the body at their most beneficial rate and duration. For vaccines, the controlled release simulates the pace of a natural infection, helping the body produce a slow, strong, and enduring ramp-up of immune response, ultimately boosting a vaccine’s effectiveness. Engineered for stability, Vaxess’ patch does not require refrigeration and can be shipped to and applied in low resource settings. It is virtually painless and resembles an adhesive bandage. After the minutes-long prescribed wear time, the MIMIX patch is removed and discarded while leaving behind microscopic intradermal depots to present the therapeutic payloads to the immune system over ensuing days or weeks. About Vaxess Technologies Vaxess Technologies is developing the MIMIX™ sustained release patch technology, originally conceived at MIT and Tufts University. MIMIX™ uses the unique qualities of silk proteins and breakthrough immune activating biology to enable best-in-class vaccines and therapeutics. Vaxess has raised more than $60M in grant and venture capital funding from groups such as The Engine, BARDA, DARPA, NIH, NSF and the Gates Foundation. A MIMIX Phase I proof-of-concept trial using seasonal flu and COVID-19 antigens is slated to begin in the first half of 2022.

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MEDTECH

Novozymes and Saipem enter collaboration agreement to create a more sustainable CO2 capture

Novozymes | December 13, 2021

Novozymes, the world leader in biological solutions, and Saipem, an advanced technological and engineering platform for safe and sustainable complex infrastructure and plants, have signed a collaboration agreement for the development of innovative solutions for enzymatic carbon capture. As part of the agreement, Saipem - which owns an enzyme-based CO2 capture technology - will be responsible for providing process, mechanical and equipment design, while Novozymes will provide enzymes while further optimizing the process through enzymes innovation. Enzymatic carbon capture is more sustainable in environmental terms and more cost-effective compared to traditional CO2 capture processes. In fact, it is based on the use of enzymes that require the input of heat at lower temperatures and a significantly moderate use of chemicals, energy and, consequently, cuts down the production of harmful waste. Furthermore, this process is more reliable, as the carbonates and enzymes, being low corrosion materials, minimize the deterioration of equipment. Saipem and Novozymes are mutually satisfied with the signed agreement which constitutes an important step towards realizing innovative solutions for the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions. In fact, thanks to Saipem's expertise in CO2 capture and storage technologies and Novozymes' cutting-edge enzymes solutions, the two companies can make the enzymatic carbon capture process highly competitive on the market of traditional amine processes. “This collaboration is an important step towards more sustainable solutions for lowering greenhouse gas emissions. Enzymatic carbon capture has the potential to replace resource-heavy processes with energy-efficient, biological processes, providing both environmental and financial benefits while accelerating the battle against climate change,” Amy Byrick, Executive Vice President of Strategy & Business Transformation at Novozymes About Novozymes Novozymes is the world leader in biological solutions. Together with customers, partners, and the global community, we improve industrial performance while preserving the planet's resources and helping build better lives. As the world's largest provider of enzyme and microbial technologies, our bioinnovation enables higher agricultural yields, low-temperature washing, energy-efficient production, renewable fuel, and many other benefits that we rely on today and in the future.

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INDUSTRIAL IMPACT

Sartorius Stedim Biotech completes acquisition of Novasep's chromatography division

Sartorius Stedim Biotech S.A. | February 08, 2022

Sartorius Stedim Biotech, a leading partner of the biopharma industry, announced today that it closed the acquisition of the Novasep chromatography division as of February 7, 2022, following approval by the U.S. Federal Trade Commission. The transaction had already been agreed upon at the beginning of 2021. The business acquired generated sales of around 40 million euros in 2020 at a double-digit profit margin; final figures for 2021 are not yet available. The majority of the approximately 100 employees work at the Pompey site in eastern France and some in the USA, China, and India. The portfolio acquired comprises chromatography systems primarily suited for smaller biomolecules, such as oligonucleotides, peptides, and insulin, as well as innovative systems for continuous manufacturing of biologics. Since 2018, Novasep and Sartorius Stedim Biotech have also been jointly developing optimized systems for a membrane-based chromatography technology. As the acquisition is expected to generate additional non-organic sales revenue growth of around 1 percentage point in 2022, Sartorius Stedim Biotech has updated its sales revenue forecast for the current year as follows: Consolidated sales revenue is now expected to increase by about 15 percent to 19 percent with non-organic growth from acquisitions projected to contribute about 2 percentage points. The company's underlying EBITDA margin remains forecasted at more than 35 percent this year. All forecasts are based on constant currencies. This press release contains forward-looking statements about the future development of the Sartorius Stedim Biotech Group. Forward-looking statements are subject to known and unknown risks, uncertainties and other factors that could cause actual results to differ materially from those expressed or implied by such statements. Sartorius Stedim Biotech assumes no liability for updating such statements in light of new information or future events. Sartorius Stedim Biotech shall not assume any liability for the correctness of this English text. The original French press release is the legally binding version. A profile of Sartorius Stedim Biotech Sartorius Stedim Biotech is a leading international partner of the biopharmaceutical industry. As a total solutions provider, the company helps its customers to manufacture biotech medications safely, rapidly and economically. Headquartered in Aubagne, France, Sartorius Stedim Biotech is quoted on the Eurolist of Euronext Paris. With its own manufacturing and R&D sites in Europe, North America and Asia and an international network of sales companies, Sartorius Stedim Biotech has a global reach. The Group has been annually growing by double digits on average and has been regularly expanding its portfolio by acquisitions of complementary technologies. In 2021, the company employed more than 10,400 people, and earned sales revenue of around 2.89 billion euros according to preliminary figures.

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