#b#Amicus ‘Adopts’ an Orphan Drug Maker#/b#
Amicus Therapeutics, a pharmaceutical company based on Cedar Brook Drive in Cranbury, is buying Scioderm, a Durham, North Carolina, company with just nine employees, for almost $1 billion. Scioderm is developing a cream to fight a rare skin disorder, and all but $229 million of the payment for the company is contingent on the drug being approved.
The drug Zorblisa is meant to treat epidermyolsis bullosa, which causes fragile skin that blisters and tears easily, breathing difficulties, hair loss, tooth decay, and other painful symptoms. The disorder occurs in 1 in 50,000 newborns. Complications from the disease frequently lead to death.
“This acquisition is a major step forward toward our strategic vision and is transformative for the epidermyolsis bullosa, or EB, community as well as the shareholders of Amicus and Scioderm,” said John F. Crowley, CEO of Amicus, pictured above. “EB is a disorder that is utterly devastating and painful. Amicus is committed now to advancing the tremendous mission of Scioderm’s co-founder and CEO, Dr. Robert Ryan, who we are proud to welcome to our senior leadership team at Amicus.”
Amicus says Zorblisa was the first EB treatment ever studied that effectively healed the different kinds of wounds caused by the disease. The company estimates the market for Zorblisa is about $1 billion. The current treatment for the disease involves bandaging and treating open wounds to stave off infection and managing pain. The company said studies indicated there were 30,000 to 40,000 people suffering from the disease “in major markets.”
Amicus CEO Crowley is no stranger to the development of drugs to treat rare disorders. Crowley is a former lawyer who became a biotech executive to save the lives of his children, who suffer from a neuromuscular disorder called Pompe’s disease.
Crowley grew up in Bergen County, where his father was an Englewood police officer. When crowley was eight, his father died in an accident while on duty. He studied at the Naval Academy and earned a bachelor’s degree at Georgetown before getting his law degree from Notre Dame in 1989, the same year he married his wife, Eileen.
Crowley began a career in healthcare law, working for an Indianapolis firm before getting an MBA from Harvard and joining a San Francisco-based management consulting company. The following year, his two children were diagnosed with Pompe’s disease, a neuromuscular disorder. If untreated, most people born with the disease die at age 8.
The Crowleys moved to the Princeton area, where there were doctors who specialized in the disease, and Crowley got a job at Bristol-Myers Squibb, which was researching Pompe treatments. In 2000 Crowley left BMS to become the CEO of Novazyme Pharmaceuticals in Oklahoma City, which was researching potential treatments. In 2001 the company was acquired by Genzyme Therapeutics, and Crowley stayed on board to lead the development of the enzyme replacement therapy that was administered to his children in 2003. Crowley credits the treatment with saving their lives.
Crowley’s story was featured in a book by journalist Geeta Anand called “The Cure: How a Father Raised $100 Million — And Bucked the Medical Establishment in a Quest to Save His Children.” The 2010 movie “Extraordinary Measures,” with Brendan Fraser and Harrison Ford, is based on Crowley’s story.
Since then, Crowley went on to lead other biotech companies including Orexigen Therapeutics in California, and has been CEO of Amicus since 2005. He is also a Navy Reserve officer. In 2008 he was seen as a possible Republican challenger to Senator Frank Lautenberg, but declined to run. The next year he was mentioned as a contender for the governor’s job. In 2011 he stepped down briefly as CEO of Amicus, causing speculation that he would run as a senate candidate against Democrat Bob Menendez, but returned to Amicus several months later.
Amicus employs about 150 people and has yet to introduce any of its candidate drugs to the market. Amicus’s financial adviser on the deal is Leerink Partners. Its legal counsel is Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom.
Amicus Therapeutics, 1 Cedar Brook Drive, Cranbury 08512; 609-662-2000; fax, 609-662-2001. www.amicustherapeutics.com.
#b#Positive Results For Celator Drug#/b#
Celator Pharmaceuticals, a biopharmaceutical company based in the Princeton South Corporate Center, in its most recent quarterly report touted positive results for a Phase 3 clinical trial of its leukemia drug VYEXOS.
“We capped off a very busy second quarter by reporting positive induction response rate data in the Phase 3 study of VYXEOST (CPX-351) in patients with high-risk (e.g. secondary) acute myeloid leukemia (AML),” said Scott Jackson, CEO. “We believe response is an important surrogate for overall survival and clinical benefit in this patient population. We intend to build on that momentum as we advance our broader clinical development program, report data on CombiPlex technology platform studies, and increase pre-commercial activities. Data on overall survival are expected in the first quarter of 2016, with an NDA submission planned for the third quarter of 2016. If approved, VYXEOS will be well-positioned to become the foundation of care for high-risk AML patients.”
Celator credited the state’s Technology Business Tax Certificate Transfer program with helping raise funds to pursue research on VYXEOS and other drugs. The company has received about $8 million in funding from the program since opening its New Jersey headquarters in 2009. Jackson said the program has accounted for about 10 percent of the company’s operating budget during that time.
Jackson said the company planned to file a new drug application for VYXEOS in late 2016. Celator is partnered with the Leukemia nad Lymphoma Society in developing the drug.
Celator Pharmaceuticals (CPXX), 200 Princeton South, Suite 180, Ewing 08628; 609-243-0123; fax, 609-243-0202. Scott Jackson, CEO. www.celatorpharma.com.
#b#Kremers-Urban Bought for $1.2 Billion#/b#
Kremers Urban Pharmaceuticals, a generic drug company tucked away in a third floor office at 902 Carnegie Center, has been bought by Philadelphia-based Lannett, also a generic drug maker, for $1.23 billion.
The transaction is expected to close by the end of the year.
“For Lannett, this is a transformational acquisition that is an exceptional strategic fit and builds upon our stellar financial performance over the last several years,” said Arthur Bedrosian, CEO of Lannett, in a statement. “With KU, we are adding a highly profitable business and creating a specialty pharmaceuticals company that has substantial size, scale and reach.
Kremers Urban CEO George Stevenson is a 20-year biotech veteran who worked at Sandoz, Bristol-Myers Squibb, and Endo Pharmaceuticals, where he led its generics division. He joined Kremers in 2007 when the company formed a new management team. Stevenson turned the company’s focus to the specialty generics market. He has an MBA from Drexel and a bachelor’s from Saint Joseph’s.
The company moved into 902 Carnegie Center in 2010.
Kremers, a subsidiary of Belgium-based UCB, makes generic versions of Lipitor, Tussionex, Imdur, Ritalin, Singulair, Adalat, Prilosec, Ditropan, Protonix, PEG-3350, AcipHex, Protopic, and Calan in a 400,000 square-foot factory in Seymour, Indiana. It also has 11 product applications pending at the FDA and 17 products in development.
The combined company will boast a line of 18 products and revenues of more than $800 million.
Kremers-Urban LLC, 902 Carnegie Center, Suite 360, Princeton 08540; 609-936-5940; fax, 609-275-5352. George Stevenson, president and CEO. www.ucb-group.com.
Edward Jones, 1 Executive Drive, Suite 101B, Monmouth Junction 08852; 732-798-6202; fax, 888-232-3752. www.edwardjones.com.
Investment advice company Edward Jones has opened an office on Executive Drive. Financial advisor Al Merz said the company was originally located on North Harrison Street for years and had temporarily occupied an office on Commons Way.
Mili-One Corporation, 666 Plainsboro Road, Suite 1021, Plainsboro 08536; 609-785-5015; fax, 609-785-5180. Ray G. Yi, general manager.
Mili-One Corporation, a two-person company that makes electronic components, has moved from Route 130 in New Brunswick to a new location on Plainsboro Road because the owner moved.
Strich Law, 2650 Route 130, Cranbury 08512; 609-924-2900; fax, 609-454-3066. Gabrielle L. Strich, attorney, mediator. www.strichlaw.com.
Attorney Gabrielle Strich has moved from Route 27 in Kingston to Route 130 in Cranbury. Her practice includes family law, elder law, labor, estate, and business law.
Strategic Business Insights, P.O. Box 2410, Princeton, 08543.
Strategic Business Insights, a consulting company, has left its office at 666 Plainsboro Road and now lists a P.O. box as its Princeton address. The company is headquartered in Menlo Park, California.
Alvin L. Anderson III, 71, on September 1. He was a technician for NL Industries in Hightstown.
Robert L. Baker III, 94, on September 2. He was the first black captain of Trenton High’s track team, was a Tuskegee Airman in World War II, and then worked for 32 years at the General Motors in Ewing. Services will be held Thursday, September 10, at 9 a.m., at Union Baptist Church on Pennington Avenue in Trenton.
George A. Ferguson III, 67, on August 29. He was a longtime employee of Homasote on Lower Ferry Road in Ewing.
Frank J. Iero, 93, on September 6. Together with his brother Anthony, he was co-owner of North Brunswick Refrigeration on Route 1. He was also a drummer for the Jimmy Vincent Trio. Services will be held Thursday, September 10, at 9 a.m. at the Church of St. Ann on Lawrenceville Road.
William Lutz, 52, on August 29. He was a vice president at Merrill Lynch/Bank of America and a graduate of New England College.
Gwendolyn Owen, 89, on August 29. Together with her husband, Bud Owen, she founded Lawrence Cleaners on Princeton Avenue and operated it for 50 years.
Cynthia Phillips, 61, on September 1. She was a professor and research physicist at the Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory.
Ralph Scheibner, 83, on September 3. He was the owner of Northern Benefits Insurance Company in Lawrenceville.
George Basil Simonka, 63, on September 2. He worked for the Department of Labor and was an agent with Action U.S.A. realty.
Leonard Troiani, 63, on September 5. He retired in 2001 after 25 years with the state Department of Environmental Protection.
A memorial service will be held Saturday, September 12, at 11 a.m. at the Hughes Funeral Home in Trenton for Donna Johnson, who died July 9. She was former head nurse at the Katzenbach School for the Deaf, and director of residential services for Womanspace.