Industry news: What happen last week?

By William Chin, PhD, Scientific Coordinator, EUCRAF

GSK continues to strengthen its vaccine pipeline with acquisition of GlycoVaxyn AG

Early this year, GSK has received clearance from the European Commission of its transaction with Novartis that includes the acquisition of Novartis’s vaccines business. Recently, GSK announced that it has acquired GlycoVaxyn AG, a specialist vaccine biopharmaceutical company based in Switzerland 1. With GlycoVaxyn’s bioconjugate vaccine using recombinant DNA technology, GSK is set to strengthen its leading position in vaccines development.

Hospira launches its first biosimilar monoclonal antibody Inflectra™ (infliximab) in Europe

In September 2013, Inflectra was approved for marketing authorisation from the European Commission. Since then Inflectra has already been launched in Central and Eastern Europe, and some smaller Western European markets due to earlier patent expiry. On February 16, 2015, Hospira has announced that Inflectra is now being launched in 24 European countries, including Austria, Denmark, France, Germany, Greece, Italy, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Spain and Sweden 2.

Sanofi has a new CEO

Sanofi has appointed Olivier Brandicourt as Chief Executive Officer of Sanofi 3. Brandicourt will take up his new duties on April 2, 2015. He was previously the Chairman of the Board of Management of Bayer HealthCare AG and member of the Executive Council of Bayer AG.

Merck and Bristol-Myers Squibb to end co-promotion of Erbitux in Japan

After approximately 7 years of co-promotion of Erbitux in Japan, Merck has announced that it will take full promotion responsibility from Bristol-Myers Squibb starting May 1, 2015 4. Erbitux was launched in collaboration with Bristol-Myers Squibb in Japan in September 2008 for the treatment of metastatic colorectal cancer. An additional indication for the treatment of head and neck cancer was approved in December 2012.


1. GSK Press Release, 11 February 2015 

2. Hospira Press Release, 16 February 2015 

3. Sanofi Press Release, 19 February 2015 

4. Merck Serono Press Release, 13 February 2015