PHARMACY

Watson to expand Salt Lake City manufacturing, R&D plant

BY Alaric DeArment

SALT LAKE CITY — Watson Pharmaceuticals plans to expand its manufacturing and research and development plant in Salt Lake City, the drug maker said.

The $44 million expansion of the plant will include retrofitting about 20,000 sq. ft. of space and the construction of about 17,000 additional sq. ft. The expansion of the plant, which makes transdermal patches and topical gels, is expected to include the addition of about 300 new employees over the next three to five years.

The company said the expansion will allow a tripling of annual manufacturing batch capacity to support future products, such as the generic version of Teikoku Pharma USA’s Lidoderm (lidocaine) transdermal patch for pain, which the company expects to launch as early as 2012.

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Wockhardt gets green light for three products

BY Alaric DeArment

MUMBAI, India — Wockhardt has launched three new drugs in the United States over the last three weeks, the Indian generic drug maker said.

Wockhardt announced the Food and Drug Administration’s approval and the launch of the company’s antibacterial drug levofloxacin, a generic version of Johnson & Johnson’s Levaquin, in the 250-mg, 500-mg and 750-mg strengths.

On May 31, the company launched donepezil tablets, a generic version of Eisai’s Alzheimer’s disease drug Aricept. On June 1, it launched venlafaxine extended-release capsules, a generic version of Pfizer’s antidepressant Effexor XR.

Branded versions of the three drugs have combined sales of $6 billion, according to IMS Health.

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AstraZeneca sells off Astra Tech to Dentsply

BY Allison Cerra

WILMINGTON, Del. — AstraZeneca announced that it is selling its Astra Tech business to a professional dental products company in a cash transaction valued at about $1.8 billion.

Dentsply will acquire Mölndal, Sweden-based Astra Tech, which focuses on dental and healthcare products, services and support. In 2010, Astra Tech recorded worldwide revenue of $535 million.

AstraZeneca noted that the transaction is anticipated to be completed during the second half of 2011.

“Following a comprehensive strategic review, we believe this transaction represents an excellent outcome for AstraZeneca shareholders," AstraZeneca CEO David Brennan said. "The high degree of interest and the competitive nature of this process is evidence of the value that the employees of Astra Tech have built in the marketplace. I want to thank them for their contribution and believe they are well placed to build upon this successful foundation under Dentsply’s ownership.”

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