Genetic Engineering & Biotechnology News

JUL 2017

Genetic Engineering & Biotechnology News (GEN) is the world's most widely read biotech publication. It provides the R&D community with critical information on the tools, technologies, and trends that drive the biotech industry.

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6 | JULY 2017 | | Genetic Engineering & Biotechnology News Gail Dutton In the spring of 2016, the lab freezers at the University of Alberta failed, melting 13% of the geological ice cores stored there, and leaving a 22,000-year gap in geologic knowledge. Several years earlier, in 2012, the freezers at the Harvard Brain Tissue Resource Center failed, thawing one-third of the brains that were stored there for the purpose of autism research. To help labs eliminate the risk of freezer failure, Panasonic Healthcare North Amer- ica (Panasonic) launched the new Twin- Guard ® MDF-U702VXC-PA freezer at the International Society for Biological and En- vironmental Repositories (ISBER) in May 2017. This ultralow (–86°C) freezer features two compressors as a failsafe. "The TwinGuard series of freezers is the first dual-cooled ultralow-temperature re- frigeration system in the world," says Steven Lynum, senior vice president of Panasonic Healthcare. "The compressors run in tan- dem. Therefore, there's no failover process. Instead, if one compressor fails, the other already is working and picks up the load," Lynum says, and the system holds the tem- perature at –70°C until the issue is resolved. In addition to dual compressors, the TwinGuard system is designed to retain the cold longer, even without power. For exam- ple, Lynum says, "Panasonic freezers have both inner and outer doors. If you're open- ing the bottom, the top will remain closed." A proprietary air flow design helps main- tain temperature uniformity. Although Pan- asonic's TwinGuard freezers have 576 spots in which a two-inch box of vials can be placed, "no matter where they are, the tem- perature will be accurate to plus or minus one degree," Lynum says. The TwinGuard refrigeration system in- corporates multiple alarms, too, in case of malfunctions or power failures. "There are both audible and visual alarms on the freez- ers' LCD panels. Some clients also link our equipment to LabAlerts, our cloud-based remote monitoring solutions, which emails key personnel in case of disruptions." In June 2017, Panasonic introduced what Lynum calls "the gold standard in energy-ef- ficient, ultralow- (–86°C) temperature freez- ers." Called the VIP ECO, he says expects it to receive Energy Star certification shortly. The VIP ECO also addresses many of the concerns customers have expressed about ultralow-temperature freezers. For example, Ultracool Technology Aims to Eliminate Physical and Operational Meltdowns Panasonic Launches New Dual-Compressor Freezers Corporate Profile To help laboratories ensure that their biological samples remain at ultralow temperatures, P a n a s o n i c H e a l t h c a r e p r o v i d e s f r e e z e r s designed for high performance and reliability. Some of the freezers also emphasize ecological sustainability. Panasonic Healthcare's TwinGuard freezers, including the new MDF-U702VXC-PA (shown here), incorporate dual compressors for built-in redundancy, as well as microprocessor- based digital controllers for status displays, performance advisories, and audible and visual alerts. Such freezers are designed for critical preservation applications. Insights Industry Watch When Perrigo holds its annual general meeting on July 20, 2017, CEO John T. Hendrickson will stand for election to the board, notwithstanding plans to retire within 60 days of a successor being named. That planned retirement, announced just 14 months into his tenure at Perrigo's helm, will end a turbulent period for Hendrickson and the company. In addition to the death of his 21-year-old son in No- vember, Hendrickson dealt with numerous business challenges—including the elimination of 750 jobs this year, a U.S. Justice Department search of Perrigo's offices in a drug-pricing investigation, and disappoint- ing 2016 results, prompting the company to lower its earnings forecasts twice. Activist investor Starboard Value—which owned about 6.7% of Perrigo stock as of February 2017— demanded the company divest some operations and shake up its board. Perrigo agreed to the reorganiza- tion, naming Starboard CEO Jeffrey Smith and four other independent directors between February and May. Over the past year, Perrigo sold its Indian API busi- ness and its vitamins, minerals, and supplements busi- ness. For up to $2.85 billion, Perrigo sold its royalty stream for Biogen's multiple sclerosis drug Tysabri® (natalizumab) to Royalty Pharma. "We believe this transition could help the board execute a broad strategic realignment at Perrigo, po- tentially unlocking shareholder value as a consumer- focused business," Dewey Steadman, Canaccord Genuity pharmaceutical analyst, said in a note to investors. Steadman sees opportunity for investors in Perrigo if it can "define and detail durable growth in the consumer business, commit to definitively keeping or selling the generics business, and deploy capital to drive inorganic growth." The blog Activist Stocks suggests Perrigo sell its prescription drug business, whose adjusted first- quarter gross profit of $118 million was 23% below Q1 2016. Prescription drugs saw a 12% year-to-year drop in net sales during the quarter, as price erosion for Entocort® (budesonide) capsules ($25 million less) and other existing products ($22 million less) erased $17 million in new product sales. Last year, gross profit for prescription drugs was $501.1 million, down nearly 8% from 2015. Perrigo delayed filing its 2016 Form 10-K annual report until May, after agreeing with auditor Ernst & Young to restate results stretching to December 28, 2013. n Planned Retirement of CEO Opens Opportunities for Perrigo Discover what's new from the leading journal on post-genomic medicine and integrative biology Sign Up for TOC Alerts Discover what's new from the leading journal on post-genomic medicine and integrative biology Sign Up for TOC Alerts Editor-in-Chief: Vural Özdemir, MD, PhD, DABCP

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