Edited by Scott Morgan


Wyeth (WYE), 865 Ridge Road, CN 8000, Princeton 08540-8000; 732-329-2300; fax, 732-274-4205. Terry Schiarello, human resources.

After a nine-month courtship, New York-based mega-pharma Pfizer has closed a $68 billion deal to acquire Wyeth.

The deal, finalized on October 15, was announced in February and turns the flagging Pfizer into the healthcare industry’s 1,000-pound gorilla. The acquisition not only saves Pfizer from suffering the consequences of its abundance of drugs about to lose their patent protections — its 13 billion a year cholesterol drug Lippitor will face generic competition in about two years — it adds a diverse line of healthcare products including biotech drugs, vaccines, animal products, and consumer products. The deal also gives Pfizer rights to Wyeth’s antidepressant Effexor.

Madison-based Wyeth also owns such blockbusters as arthritis medicine Enbrel, Centrum vitamins, Advil, and Prevnar, the children’s pneumococcal vaccine that happens to be the top selling vaccine in history

According to the Associated Press, the cost of the combined company could be a loss of 20,000 jobs. Pfizer has already cut thousands of workers over this year, including more than 300 of its core scientists. Pfizer, however, is expected to keep most of its management.

Wyeth will operate as a wholly owned subsidiary of Pfizer. Pfizer spokeswoman Joan Campion said Monday that the fate of Wyeth’s 425-person Ridge Road facility has yet to be determined. She said Pfizer will make annoncement wthin a few weeks.

Contracts Awarded

Orchid Cellmark Inc. (ORCH), 4390 Route 1 North, Princeton 08540; 609-750-2200; fax, 609-750-6405. Thomas A. Bologna, CEO. Home page: www.orchid.com.

The identity DNA testing services has granted a worldwide license to San Diego-based genetics research firm Illumina for the commercial development of Orchid’s single-base nucleotide extension technology for the diagnostic and forensic fields.

Under the terms of the deal, Illumina will pay Orchid $850,000 up front and another $150,000 in contingent milestone payments, conditional to the success of the technology. Orchid will also collect royalties received by Illumina through any subcontracting arrangements.

The agreement also makes Orchid the preferred buyer of Illumina products that use the patents, and grants Orchid the right to use the licensed patents for all fields of use.

Mikros Systems Corp. (MKRS), 707 Alexander Road, Building 2, Suite 208, Box 7189, Princeton 08543; 609-987-1513; fax, 609-987-8114. Thomas J. Meaney, president. Home page: www.mikros.us.

Ocean Power Technologies (OPTT), 1590 Reed Road, Building A, Suite 1, Pennington 08534; 609-730-0400; fax, 609-730-0404. George W. Taylor, CEO. Home page:www.oceanpowertechnologies.com.

Computer and technology R&D company Mikros on October 13 announced a $275,000 contract as part of the Navy’s new Littoral Expeditionary Autonomous PowerBuoy (LEAP) program, and plans to subcontract to Ocean Power Technologies of Pennington.

The prime contract, for a one year period, is the initial award under a proposed four-year project to develop a vessel detection system (VDS) deployment off the New Jersey coast. According to Mikros, VDS will enhance the Navy’s anti-terrorism efforts by providing an at-sea platform based on OPT’s PowerBuoy technology to support sensors for maritime surveillance.

According to OPT, the PowerBuoy is an offshore wave energy converter. A piston-like structure moves with the rise and fall of the waves to produce electricity that is sent to the shore by an underwater cable.

Mikros will provide system engineering and design services to OPT for the VDS development.

Pharma News

Soligenix (SNGX), 29 Emmons Drive, Suite C-10, Princeton 08540; 609-538-8200; fax, 609-538-8205. Christopher J. Schaber, president and CEO. Home page: www.soligenix.com.

The late-stage biotech firm formerly known as DOR BioPharma, has received $1 million as it enters Phase III clinical trials for gastrointestinal medicine orBec.

The trial, also referred to as the SUPPORTS protocol (Sparing Unnecessary Prednisone Phase 3 orBec Randomized Treatment Study), will enroll an estimated 166 patients to confirm the clinically meaningful endpoints observed in previous Phase 2 and Phase 3 clinical studies and be conducted with Sigma Tau Pharmaceuticals of STATE.

The data from the trials is expected in the first half of 2011.

The award comes barely a month after DOR BioPharma won a $500,000 Small Business Innovation Research grant from the National Institutes of Health, to support the conduct of a clinical trial evaluating a time-release oral preventative medicine for acute radiation enteritis.

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