Giovanni Caforio, Bristol Myers Squibb CEO (Nicolas Messyasz/Sipa via AP Images)

Bris­tol My­ers Squibb strikes deal to sell NY site to South Ko­re­an con­glom­er­ate — but it's keep­ing qui­et on the de­tails

Bris­tol My­ers Squibb’s man­u­fac­tur­ing fa­cil­i­ty in East Syra­cuse, NY, is about to be swal­lowed up by one of the largest con­glom­er­ates in South Ko­rea.

Lotte Cor­po­ra­tion and BMS un­veiled a fresh deal for the site on Fri­day while keep­ing most of the de­tails — in­clud­ing the fi­nanc­ing — un­der wraps. BMS even de­clined to dis­close the site’s square footage in an email to End­points News. 

Mean­while, South Ko­rea’s Yon­hap News Agency re­port­ed that the deal cost Lotte $160 mil­lion. In re­turn, the con­glom­er­ate gets the site, equip­ment and a work­force with “tech­ni­cal ca­pa­bil­i­ties and ex­per­tise.”

How many peo­ple is that? Syra­ re­port­ed that a team of around 400 peo­ple will all be­come Lotte em­ploy­ees up­on clos­ing.

BMS isn’t go­ing far, though. Lotte will con­tin­ue to man­u­fac­ture prod­ucts for the phar­ma gi­ant — $220 mil­lion worth over the next three years, ac­cord­ing to Yon­hap. The deal should close by the sec­ond half of this year.

Once that hap­pens, the East Syra­cuse site will serve as the epi­cen­ter for Lotte’s new bi­o­log­ics con­tract de­vel­op­ment and man­u­fac­tur­ing or­ga­ni­za­tion (CD­MO) busi­ness in the Unit­ed States. Even­tu­al­ly, the com­pa­ny hopes to ex­pand its CD­MO of­fer­ings be­yond just BMS. Ac­cord­ing to Yon­hap, Lotte plans to in­vest 2.5 tril­lion won, or $1.9 bil­lion, in the bio sec­tors over the next decade.

“The East Syra­cuse site has been an im­por­tant part of our com­pa­ny’s his­to­ry and our man­u­fac­tur­ing net­work for many decades, and we are con­fi­dent that Lotte will ful­ly lever­age the fa­cil­i­ty, its ca­pa­bil­i­ties and its ex­pe­ri­enced work­force as it con­tin­ues to play a vi­tal role for pa­tients around the world,” Karin Shana­han, EVP of glob­al prod­uct de­vel­op­ment and sup­ply at BMS, said in a state­ment.

The fa­cil­i­ty, ac­cord­ing to BMS, was orig­i­nal­ly es­tab­lished in 1943 to an­swer the US gov­ern­ment’s call for the large-scale pro­duc­tion of peni­cillin. It’s cur­rent­ly li­censed to man­u­fac­ture four prod­ucts: Op­di­vo, Nu­lo­jix, Yer­voy and Em­plic­i­ti.

South Ko­re­an con­glom­er­ates have been mov­ing steadi­ly in­to the CD­MO space. In 2021, SK Bio­sciences moved for­ward with a deal with the Cen­ter for Break­through Med­i­cines (CBM), a Philadel­phia-based CD­MO. Al­so in the same year, Sam­sung Bi­o­log­ics inked an agree­ment with Boston biotech Green­Light Bio­Sciences to man­u­fac­ture its mR­NA Covid-19 vac­cine at a com­mer­cial scale.

A new era of treat­ment: How bio­mark­ers are chang­ing the way we think about can­cer

AJ Patel was recovering from a complicated brain surgery when his oncologist burst into the hospital room yelling, “I’ve got some really great news for you!”

For two years, Patel had been going from doctor to doctor trying to diagnose his wheezing, only to be dealt the devastating news that he had stage IV lung cancer and only six months to live. And then they found the brain tumors.

“What are you talking about?” Patel asked. He had never seen an oncologist so happy.

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Ted White, Verrica Pharmaceuticals CEO

'Hands may be tied': FDA slaps Ver­ri­ca with 3rd CRL due to prob­lems with con­tract man­u­fac­tur­er

The FDA has rejected Verrica Pharmaceuticals’ skin disease treatment for a third time — and once again the contract manufacturer is to blame.

The biotech emphasized that the only deficiency in the complete response letter is related to a general reinspection of the CMO, Sterling Pharmaceuticals, and has nothing to do specifically with its drug-device; the rest of the NDA is good to go.

CEO Ted White said the company is “extremely disappointed,” but will keep working toward approval.

(Credit: Shutterstock)

Cracks in the fa­cade: Is phar­ma's pan­dem­ic ‘feel good fac­tor’ wan­ing?

The discordant effects of the Covid-19 pandemic on pharma reputation continues. While the overall industry still retains a respectable halo from its Covid-19 quick response and leadership, a new patient group study reveals a different story emerging in the details.

On one hand, US patient advocacy groups rated the industry higher-than-ever overall. More than two-thirds (67%) of groups gave the industry a thumbs up for 2021, a whopping 10 percentage point increase over the year before, according to the PatientView annual study, now in its 9th year.

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Belén Garijo, Merck KGaA CEO (Kevin Wolf/AP Images for EMD Serono)

Mer­ck KGaA pumps €440M in­to ex­pand­ing and con­struct­ing Irish man­u­fac­tur­ing fa­cil­i­ties

The area of Ireland famous for Blarney Castle and its cliffsides along the Atlantic Ocean is seeing Merck KGaA expand its commitment there.

The German drug manufacturer is expanding its membrane and filtration manufacturing capabilities in Ireland. The company will invest approximately €440 million ($470 million) to increase membrane manufacturing capacity in Carrigtwohill, Ireland, and build a new manufacturing facility at Blarney Business Park, in County Cork, Ireland.

Phillip Gomez, SIGA CEO

UP­DAT­ED: On the back of SIGA Tech­nolo­gies' win with the FDA, the mon­key­pox virus sees the com­pa­ny spring­ing to fur­ther ac­tion

As the cases of monkeypox now sit at well over 100 worldwide and have spread to multiple continents, the orders for any type of vaccine against monkeypox are seeing nations and medical bodies looking to get their hands on anything and everything. And now SIGA Technologies seems to be getting in on the action.

According to Euronews, SIGA Technologies, a pharmaceutical company that is focused on providing medical countermeasures to biological and chemical attacks, is now in talks with several European authorities looking to stockpile its antiviral that can counter monkeypox. The drug known as tecovirimat or Tpoxx was approved by the FDA in 2018 as a vaccine for smallpox but was approved by the European Medicines Agency to also act against monkeypox, cowpox and complications from immunization with vaccinia.

Co­pay coupons gone wrong, again: Pfiz­er pays al­most $300K to set­tle com­plaints in four states

Pfizer has agreed to pay $290,000 to settle allegations of questionable copay coupon practices in Arizona, Colorado, Kansas, and Vermont from 2014 to 2018.

While the company has not admitted any wrongdoing as part of the settlement, Pfizer has agreed to issue restitution checks to about 5,000 consumers.

A Pfizer spokesperson said the company has “enhanced its co-pay coupons to alleviate the concerns raised by states and agreed to a $30,000 payment to each.”

Delaware court rules against Gilead and Astel­las in years-long patent case

A judge in Delaware has ruled against Astellas Pharma and Gilead in a long-running patent case over Pfizer-onwed Hospira’s generic version of Lexiscan.

The case kicked off in 2018, after Hospira submitted an Abbreviated New Drug Application (ANDA) for approval to market a generic version of Gilead’s Lexiscan. The drug is used in myocardial perfusion imaging (MPI), a type of nuclear stress test.

Taye Diggs (courtesy Idorsia)

Idor­sia inks an­oth­er celebri­ty en­dors­er deal with ac­tor and dad Taye Dig­gs as Qu­viviq in­som­nia am­bas­sador

Idorsia’s latest Quviviq insomnia campaign details the relatable dad story of a well-known celebrity — actor and Broadway star Taye Diggs.

Diggs stopped sleeping well after the birth of his son, now more than 10 years ago. Switching mom-and-dad nightly shifts to take care of a baby interrupted his sleep patterns and led to insomnia.

“When you’re lucky enough to be living out your dream and doing what you want, but because of something as simple as a lack of sleep, you’re unable to do that, it felt absolutely — it was treacherous,” he says in an interview-style video on the Quviviq website.

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Rep. Katie Porter (D-CA) (Michael Brochstein/Sipa USA/Sipa via AP Images)

House Dems to Sen­ate lead­er­ship: Quick­ly move a rec­on­cil­i­a­tion bill with drug price ne­go­ti­a­tion re­forms

Twenty House Democrats, including Reps. Katie Porter of California and Susan Wild of Pennsylvania, are calling on Senate leaders to move quickly with a reconciliation bill (meaning they only need a simple majority for passage) with prescription drug pricing reforms, and to include adding new authority for Medicare to negotiate drug prices.

They also called on the Senate to specifically follow suit with the House passage of a $35 per month insulin cap (as Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer’s deadline for a vote on that provision has come and gone), and to cap Medicare Part D costs at $2,000 per year for seniors.