Catalent inks Biota flu deal, shifts delivery biz

Following its marked growth over the past few years, New Jersey's Catalent is consolidating its drug delivery operation and teaming up with a drug developer to push a new influenza treatment forward.

Catalent signed a deal with Biota Pharmaceuticals ($BOTA) to supply clinical trial materials for laninamivir octanoate, the company's in-development inhalable therapy for influenza A and B viruses. The two first hooked up last year for feasibility studies on inhaled formulations, and the new partnership will tap Catalent's capabilities in inhaled drug delivery, clinical packaging and bioanalytics, the company said.

In the same vein, Catalent is combining its delivery-related business units into one shop, fusing its Modified Release and Medication Delivery segments into a new outfit called Advanced Delivery Technologies. The new business will bring together Catalent's 8 delivery-focused development and manufacturing facilities around the world, President Barry Littlejohns said, combining the company's formulation and delivery technologies will help it better compete in a changing market.

"Our industry is facing tough challenges with increasingly difficult molecules, requiring more sophisticated development expertise, delivery technologies and supply capabilities to optimize bioavailability, therapeutic profiles and clinical outcomes," Littlejohns said in a statement. "... We expect to partner with innovators around the world to deliver the most innovative, advanced and effective solutions to help bring more products to market faster and improve the efficacy of their treatments."

The move follows Catalent's investment to more than quadruple the capacity at its Madison, WI, biologics facility, and spending $20 million into its North Carolina inhaled formulation outpost.

- read the Biota news
- here's more on the drug delivery plan