Products focus on life sciences

Clestra Cleanroom SA (France) and exclusive representative Clean Construction Enclosures Inc. (Syracuse, NY) will be responsible for the design, sale and support of all Clestra Cleanroom Modular wall and ceiling projects as well as complete projects in America. Clestra will intensify the focus on life science industries by introducing new products, while Clean Construction will bring to the market several new aseptic wall and ceiling systems, which were developed by Clestra over the past few years in Europe. The systems will include progressive and non-progressive modular systems, single and double line panel configurations, choice of various panel materials along with a standard coated, insulated galvanized steel panel.—MAD

Needle validation study

A validation study conducted by the University of Minnesota indicates that the Safe-Septum from QMI Systems, a manufacturer of pharmaceutical and biotechnology equipment, removed bacteria from a needle that was used to transfer material during a process.

The study indicated that the Safe-Septum protected the bioprocess from contamination, even when the needle was purposely contaminated. It was only when the needle lumen was contaminated that the sterility of the vessel was compromised.

“We wanted to provide bioprocessing and pharmaceutical professionals information that is useful in validation of their process when utilizing Safe-Septum,” says Dr. Jeffrey Tate, who conducted the study. “In addition, EM studies showed the physical removal of bacterial contamination.”

The Safe-Septum, Tate says, has such contamination prevention features as pre-sterilized, single-track needle channels that eliminate re-penetration through existing needle holes, and a silicon septum that forms a seal during penetration and after withdrawal. Results of the validation study are available online at—MAD

Investors acquire Cleanfilm

The group of private investors who acquired Cleanfilm Inc.(Central Islip, NY) in November say the company is operating debt-free and the stage is set for an expansion that will include warehouses and high-speed production equipment.

Newly appointed president Stephen Van Someren, a 15-year veteran of the industry is also expecting rapid sales of Cleanfilm's high-performance ULO Poly and other packaging films. Robert J. Stroh, a certified public accountant, is leading the investors as the company's chairman of the board.—MAD

Ventilation products within 48 hours

Popular fume hoods, biological safety cabinets and filtered enclosures manufactured by Labconco Corp. (Kansas City, MO) can now be shipped within two days after orders are placed through the company's 48 Hour Express Program. The Protector Fiberglass Hood, in four-, five-, and six-inch models, and the Basic 47 Hood with a built-in blower, are products offered in the program.—MAD

Going west

Connecticut Clean Room Corp. (Bristol, CT) has gone west. Shortly after the first of the year, the company announced the opening of a sales, warehouse, and distribution facility in Chandler, AZ. The facility will be known as Connecticut Clean Room Corp. West, and will help serve customers in the southwest. The company is also planning on opening a facility in central Texas. The company calls the Chandler facility “a necessary way to promote its manufacture and converted products to customer in those areas.”—MAD

Pumping time and particles reduced

Tool pumpdown time was reduced, while particle counts were slashed in silicon nitride deposition systems at Advanced Micro Devices (Austin, TX) once a 331BH heated mass flow controlled from MKS Instruments Inc. (Andover, MA) was incorporated in low pressure chemical vapor deposition systems.

Jesse Ramos, manufacturing technical specialist for Advanced Micro, says the company tested other mass flow controllers, but all failed within days of installation. AMD, he says, was able to reduce the tools' pumpdown time from 90 to 24 minutes. The particle count previously measured more than 50 at 0.18 microns, and was reduced to 15 particles or less at 0.15 microns.—MAD

Lemkemeier named Contec's president

A consultant who has helped Contec Inc. (Spartanburg, SC) with acquisitions in growth strategies has been named president of the company. John W. Lemkemeier, a graduate of Princeton and Harvard universities, has been practicing law in St. Louis for the past seven years. For the last four years, he has specialized in business law, working in mergers and acquisitions with the Bryan Cave firm.

“John shares some of the same philosophies,” says Jack McBride, Contec's chief executive. “He also brings with him an expertise and business acumen which will keep this company growing well into the next century.”—MAD

Medical industry conference calendar available

The Biomedical Market Newsletter has published a directory of the over 2,000 medical industry symposia and conferences worldwide. According to the publisher, each show is arranged chronologically or by topic, and contact and registration information are included. The directory contains meetings for hundreds of specialty areas, such as biomed, pharmaceutical and biotech, the publisher says. For more information contact—LMN

Market pressures yield mergers and acquisitions among drug makers

Only time will tell.

That's what spokesmen from two recently merged pharmaceutical companies had to say when asked if the collaboration would yield the construction of bigger and better cleanrooms.

“At this point, it's really too early to say what will happen,” says Jeremy Heymsfeld, a spokesman for SmithKline Beecham. “We're really not expecting the merger to be final until late spring, early summer.”

“No definite plans have been made as yet. It's really too soon to tell,” adds Glaxo spokesman Rick Sluder.

In mid-January, SmithKline Beecham agreed to merge with another British pharmaceutical giant Glaxo Wellcome, in a $72 billion stock swap to create the world's largest drug maker with a combined research and development budget of approximately $4 billion. Glaxo SmithKline will have about 20 drugs. Two of the leading medications, both developed by SmithKline, are the antidepressant, Seroxat/Paxil, and Augmentin, which combats infection. Glaxo's best seller is Zantac, a treatment for ulcers.

Merger talks between the two companies fell by the wayside two years ago over management differences, but recent success in negotiations indicates what most drug makers are striving for—developing next-generation pharmaceuticals.

“If you look at the global pharmaceutical markets, more large companies will merge and a acquire to gain critical mass,” says Russell E. Madsen, vice president of scientific and technical affairs for Parenteral Drug Association (PDA; Baltimore).

Madsen worked with Bristol-Meyers before the merger with Squibb in the late 1980s. Mergers and acquisitions, Madsen believes, are inevitable in the pharmaceutical industry.

The recent collaboration between SmithKline and Glaxo is just one of example of the merger/acquisition activity occurring within the global pharmaceutical market. At the time of this report, negotiations over a proposed three-way merger between Proctor & Gamble Co., Warner-Lambert Co. and American Home Products Corp. ended abruptly, reportedly due to leaks and speculation. Warner-Lambert turned to Proctor & Gamble as a white knight to beat back a $73 million hostile takeover bid from Viagra-maker Pfizer Inc. Warner-Lambert officials say they will continue to explore their options, including negotiations with Pfizer.—MAD


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