AstraZeneca admits its delay-ridden HQ project will now cost almost $1B

fiercepharma | June 13, 2019

AstraZeneca has taken a lot of heat for its massive new headquarters and R&D facility in Cambridge, U.K., which has been beset by everything from cost overruns to a four-year completion delay. So it’s no wonder the drugmaker buried the latest details about the project on page 27 of its 244-page annual report. AstraZeneca originally planned to spend £330 million on the new building and to start shifting employees there in 2016. Now, the cost has zoomed to £750 million, which translates to roughly $952 million, according to the annual report (PDF). As for the move-in date, the drugmaker is no longer expecting the site to be “fully operational” in 2020, as it previously promised. Instead it will “start occupation” of the site sometime that year. So what’s driving the added costs and delays now? AstraZeneca blamed “the complexity of the build” as well as construction cost inflation due to a weakening pound. The company has also upped its investment in complex technologies such as genomics equipment, it said.

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BUSINESS INSIGHTS

AbCellera and Empirico Expand Strategic Multi-Target Antibody Discovery Collaboration

AbCellera | May 04, 2022

AbCellera and Empirico Inc. announced today that they have expanded their strategic multi-target discovery collaboration, which leverages Empirico’s Precision Insights PlatformTM to discover genetically validated drug targets and AbCellera’s technology to identify lead candidate antibodies against those targets. Following the rapid progress of their first collaborative program, which identified a lead candidate against an undisclosed G protein-coupled receptor target in less than 12 months, the companies have expanded their partnership to include seven targets. In addition, under the expanded agreement, AbCellera has a co-development option on a program-by-program basis. Empirico’s platform is designed to uncover causal relationships between genes, proteins, and clinical outcomes by integrating genetic data and health information from millions of individuals together with experimental validation. AbCellera integrates leading technologies to solve all steps in the antibody discovery process and delivers to partners diverse and developable lead candidates against drug targets. “We have been impressed by Empirico’s ability to discover and validate new drug targets and believe the combination of our respective technologies has great potential to bring new first-in-class treatments to patients. We are pleased to build on our productive collaboration with Empirico by expanding the number of targets and maximizing the opportunity for mutual success by having an option to co-invest on a program-by-program basis.” Carl Hansen, Ph.D., CEO and President of AbCellera “AbCellera’s technology enables us to extend our competitive advantage in target discovery and validation with best-in-class antibodies to rapidly advance our programs towards the clinic,” said Omri Gottesman, M.D., CEO and President of Empirico. “We are excited to expand our relationship with AbCellera and to translate many more genetically validated targets into potential new antibody-based therapies together.” Under the terms of the expanded agreement, Empirico will have the right to develop and commercialize therapeutic antibodies resulting from the collaboration, and AbCellera has the option to co-develop each therapeutic program to maintain up to a 50 percent ownership stake. Financial terms were not disclosed. About Empirico Inc. Empirico is a next-generation therapeutics company founded on utilizing human genetics, data science, and programmable biology to power novel target discovery and development. Empirico’s Precision Insights PlatformTM, a proprietary human genetics-focused discovery platform, leverages a world-leading dataset, hyperscale infrastructure and algorithmic approaches that encode and enhance human intuition to identify and prioritize therapeutic targets. All potential therapeutic targets are subjected to rigorous in vitro and in vivo experimental validation to elucidate the mechanism by which genetic variation impacts disease risk and provide insights about which therapeutic modality could be ‘programmed’ to mimic or interfere with that mechanism. Empirico is advancing multiple programs across a broad range of indications and therapeutic modalities, both independently and in collaboration with industry partners. Empirico is headquartered in San Diego, California with laboratories in Madison, Wisconsin. About AbCellera Biologics Inc. AbCellera is a technology company that searches, decodes, and analyzes natural immune systems to find antibodies that its partners can develop into drugs to prevent and treat disease. AbCellera partners with drug developers of all sizes, from large pharmaceutical to small biotechnology companies, empowering them to move quickly, reduce cost, and tackle the toughest problems in drug development.

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BUSINESS INSIGHTS

Vetsource Expands Its Solution Set to Include Data and Insights, Client Engagement

Vetsource | February 28, 2022

Vetsource®, a pet health company that provides innovative pharmacy, technology and business services designed to help customers provide products and services to those who care for pets, has added data and insights, and client engagement offerings to its portfolio of customer solutions. Previously focused primarily on the home delivery of prescription and nonprescription items on behalf of veterinary practices, Vetsource has expanded its services in order to build a world-class infrastructure to help its veterinary practice, industry and retail customers deliver a competitive and personalized experience for their clients. The portfolio expansion is the result of Vetsource's investment in two companies – VetSuccess and Vet2Pet – as part of a long-term strategy to continue to meet the needs of its customers, and ultimately pet owners. "As the veterinary market has evolved, we've recognized the need to expand our solution set to help our customers engage with their clients in meaningful ways and leverage data to improve compliance rates and revenue. These services are a natural complement to our prescription management solution," Kurt Green, Vetsource CEO As the industry's leading data experts, VetSuccess provides performance reports, dashboards, and data services to veterinary practices, as well as robust analytics and quantitative veterinary insights to industry partners. These intuitive and interactive solutions allow customers to gain a deeper understanding of business performance, uncover actionable insights and make confident decisions that improve day-to-day operations. "With our strong alignment on company culture and core values, VetSuccess is a natural fit to join forces with Vetsource," said Katie McClean, Managing Director of VetSuccess. "We're proud to apply our expertise to help Vetsource deliver a data-driven platform that simplifies workflows and fosters growth for veterinary practices, ultimately providing the solutions partners need to break barriers and build bridges that strengthen the human-animal bond." Vet2Pet offers veterinary medicine's only customizable, all-in-one client connection system and app. Features like appointment management, pharmacy refills, 2-way chatting and texting, reminders, and rewards programs make it easy for practices and pet owners to interact, increase practice revenue, and save staff an average of three hours of phone time each day. "Joining Vetsource will help us achieve the dream we've had for Vet2Pet since its inception. Veterinarians will now have access to sophisticated software that elevates the client experience, improves team efficiency, and helps practices retain their pharmacies. This is a win for everyone," said Dr. Stacee Santi, Managing Director of Vet2Pet. In addition to product development, Vetsource has made significant investments in its workforce, leadership, and pharmacy operations, including the addition of a new pharmacy on the East Coast in 2021. Over the last three years, Vetsource has focused on building the teams that will drive products forward by more than doubling its workforce, including a deep investment in engineering talent. Vetsource recently hired Chief Product Officer, Ami Murthy, who brings extensive experience in product management and consumer ecommerce from leadership roles at companies such as eBay and Amazon. "Our dedication to providing a powerful platform is demonstrated not only in the investments we have made in enhancing our products, but also in the expertise of our teams," added Green. "After more than a decade as a pioneer in this market we want to continue to lead the way and we're just getting started." About Vetsource Vetsource provides innovative pharmacy, technology and business services to the pet health industry. At Vetsource, we strive to be the most trusted advocate in a rapidly evolving world and constantly seek new ways to help our customers chart a course for a better, brighter future for pets and their caretakers. Our data-powered platform eliminates complexities and simplifies workflows to help veterinarians, retailers and others in the pet health industry foster engagement, loyalty and positive experiences that ensure strong relationships. Vetsource's solutions include prescription management, data and insights, and client engagement. Founded in 2008 to help veterinary practices compete in the online marketplace with a home delivery solution, Vetsource expanded with the acquisitions of VetSuccess and Vet2Pet. Comprising over 500 employees, Vetsource is headquartered in Portland, Ore., with additional offices in Colorado, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania and Toronto, as well as multiple pharmacy locations.

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PHARMA TECH

ILC Dover Announces North America Expansion to Meet Growing Demand

ILC Dover | March 11, 2022

ILC Dover LP specializing in innovative single-use and chemical workflow solutions for biotherapeutics and pharmaceutical processing, announced plans to significantly expand production capabilities in its Juarez, Mexico facility. This expansion is in response to the Company’s unprecedented growth in its life sciences business and entry into sterile liquid handling and chemicals content market. This investment will generate additional production capacity for its single-use powder storage, single-use fluid storage, and fluid transfer solutions and is scheduled to come online later this year. It also dovetails with recent acquisitions of critical sterile liquid production to provide broader workflow solutions for the Company’s growing customer base. The expansion in Juarez will complement the current global manufacturing footprint in Frederica DE, Durham NC, Stockport UK, Rossens Switzerland, and Blarney Ireland for its pharma and biotherapeutics customers. “Expansion in Juarez is an investment in our customers’ success and the next step in ILC Dover’s global growth journey. It strengthens our partnership with key pharmaceutical and biotherapeutics customers around the world — solidifying our ability to expand our presence in critical products for life-saving therapies, improve lead times, and securing our customers’ supply chain in North America. Most importantly, this expansion strengthens our position as a valuable and vertically integrated partner for our life science customers — supporting customers to continue to improve and optimize their workflows.” Corey Walker, CEO of ILC Dover Operational in Mexico since 2013, the addition of 20,000 sq ft of new Class 6 and 7 clean room space will support multi-site production of solutions for the biotherapeutic, cell & gene therapy, and pharmaceutical markets. ILC Dover’s Juarez site will use the same processes, raw materials, and equipment as other sites in the global network to provide redundant supply and reduced lead times for customers — consistent with the Company’s global quality system. This most recent expansion showcases ILC Dover’s commitment to growing its life science solutions for its global customer base. The Company acquired two strategic businesses this past year to accelerate its trajectory in critical life science applications: sterile solutions manufacturer KSE Scientific and medical contract design and manufacturing company Flexan. The proven capabilities and synergies offered with the addition of both companies enable ILC Dover to link single-use solutions and chemical solutions across its customers’ workflows. About ILC Dover ILC Dover is a world-leader in the innovative design and production of solutions for biopharmaceutical, pharmaceutical, medical device markets as well as a leading supplier for the (aero)space industries. Our customers will attest to our relentless dedication to high value products, advanced technology, and responsive service, as our visionary solutions have improved efficiency while safeguarding people, product, and infrastructure in hazardous conditions through flexible protective solutions since 1947. About New Mountain Capital New Mountain Capital is a New York-based investment firm that emphasizes business building and growth, rather than debt, as it pursues long-term capital appreciation. The firm currently manages private equity, public equity, and credit funds with over $35 billion in assets under management. New Mountain seeks out what it believes to be the highest quality growth leaders in carefully selected industry sectors and then works intensively with management to build the value of these companies.

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BUSINESS INSIGHTS

The Danish National Genome Center Partners with Lifebit to Deliver Nationwide Personalised Medicine

Lifebit Biotech | April 29, 2022

Lifebit, whose leading technology enables secure analysis over sensitive datasets for researchers and interconnects such large patient cohorts worldwide, today announces a long-term partnership with the Danish National Genome Center (NGC). Lifebit will deploy Lifebit CloudOS to create a Federated Trusted Research Environment within the Danish NGC's supercomputing cluster to serve as the scalable and secure data management and analysis platform for Denmark's national researchers, clinical scientists and international collaborators. The Danish NGC, a government agency and authority within the Danish Healthcare system, was created to implement the Danish Government's National Personalised Medicine Strategy. The core vision of the NGC is to develop more precise diagnosis, targeted treatment and strengthen research within the Danish healthcare system. During the first phase of the strategy, the Danish National Genome Center and its collaborators will recruit and sequence whole genomes of 60,000 patients diagnosed with cancer, autoimmune disorders and rare diseases by 2024. The platform will deliver a next-generation computational infrastructure within Denmark's on-premise supercomputing center, allowing the NGC to meet its vision of establishing and operating a state-of-the-art national infrastructure for personalised medicine while keeping the data at all times in the secure national infrastructure. Only Lifebit with both its genomic data expertise as well as its internationally proven ability of managing such complex Government environments through its patented operating system Lifebit CloudOS was deemed capable to deliver this project. The platform will thus enable researchers with secure access, querying and analysis of this sensitive clinico-genomic data in a fully scalable and flexible way; also allowing for them to collaborate at a global scale. Federation will play a crucial role in enabling the future possibility to collaborate with international partners such as Genomics England, France Genomique, Genomic Medicine Sweden and other biobanks from around the world. Virtually connecting these sensitive datasets, enabling joint analysis that is however performed in situ without moving data, can lead to exponentially higher research findings. In some cases, it can be observed that increasing the number of patients in a study by 10x led to ~100x the number of scientific findings and genomic associations making clear how important real connectivity of these datasets is. "Lifebit continues to guide and power the world's largest national and private precision medicine programmes. We are extremely proud to be delivering this flagship programme for the nation of Denmark. This Federated Trusted Research Environment will enable researchers to more effectively collaborate over this rich dataset at scale and drive international collaboration between other government initiatives - many of which already leverage Lifebit's federated technology." Thorben Seeger, Chief Business Development Officer at Lifebit Other examples of Lifebit's data platform at work include Genomics England, NIHR Cambridge and the Hong Kong Genome Institute. About Lifebit Biotech, Ltd. Lifebit builds enterprise data platforms for use by organisations with complex and sensitive biomedical datasets. Lifebit's patented federated technology securely unlocks access to biomedical data. From providing Trusted Research Environments for national precision medicine programmes to enabling pharmaceutical companies to discover new drug targets faster, Lifebit empowers customers to transform how they leverage sensitive biomedical data.

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About Clinical Research Management, Inc. Clinical Research Management (ClinicalRM) is not only involved in the testing of new antibiotics in Phase I, II, III studies, monitoring protocol development, site selection, and assistance with FDA approvals, but is also involved in responding to the challenges of antimicrobial resistance. Our epidemiologists track resistance patterns around the globe and they evaluate how the observed resistance appears, where it emanates from, and how we can best contain the spread of the new resistance factors.

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