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Limited attention span? Focus on these market shake-ups in 2015

It has been a whirlwind of a year for pharma, with pricing battles, regulatory showdowns and all-but-legendary M&A. And on the ground, it's Rock-em-Sock-em Robots in some of the industry's biggest markets. A steady flow of new drugs in 2014--and a slate of anticipated launches in 2015--have established brands defending their titles and newcomers looking to land a gut-punch or two, if not a knockout.

Will biopharma keep riding that mammoth M&A wave? Short answer's yes

It's been a wild ride through the M&A world for pharma this year, and analysts predict that may just continue into 2015. Companies have been wheeling and dealing at breakneck pace, with more than a couple inking multiple pacts. But plenty of drugmakers are still in search of a deal that will move the needle.

Sanofi strikes out in bid to escape France's $49M Plavix antitrust fine

No luck for Sanofi in turning over a Plavix antitrust fine. A Paris appeals court has upheld the €40.6 million ($49.7 million) penalty for trying to keep doctors and pharmacists from prescribing or subbing copycat versions of the former blockbuster blood thinner, Law360 reports.

Justice Department sues Omnicare for rigging kickbacks with Abbott

Once again, long-term care pharmacy Omnicare is at the center of a Department of Justice kickback probe. This time, the drugmaker in focus is Abbott Laboratories. The drug, Depakote.

Does the AbbVie-Express Scripts pact signal drug-price Armageddon?

Express Scripts may have warned the world that it would use its gatekeeper status to force big hepatitis C discounts. But when word of its exclusive, discounted deal with AbbVie actually hit on Monday, analysts went a-Twitter, biotech shares slid, other payers pricked up their ears--and media outlets went berserk.

With Opdivo approval, Bristol-Myers arms for PD-1 battle against Merck's Keytruda

Bristol-Myers scored FDA approval for its cancer immunotherapy Opdivo (nivolumab) three months ahead of schedule, setting it up for a head-to-head contest against Merck's recent debut in the same class, Keytruda.

Want to place biopharma bets for 2015? JPM flags Alexion, BioMarin and Bristol-Myers

With J.P. Morgan analysts predicting the biopharma sector can take its hot streak into 2015, they've ID'd companies ranging from tiny BioMarin to whopper Bristol-Myers Squibb that should stand out from the crowd.

SEC says insider made $10M on Abbott, CFR deal

Nonpublic information about Abbott's May agreement to buy CFR Pharmaceuticals helped score a former CFR board member a hefty profit, according to U.S. regulators. And they're charging him with insider trading.

Pharma call centers staffing for savvy consumers

Pharma companies are turning to experienced professionals to field questions from consumers at call centers, according to a new survey from Cutting Edge Information. 

Cubist has its Zerbaxa OK. Can Merck make the launch justify its $9.5B buyout?

Merck's $9.5 Cubist buyout got off to a rocky start when a U.S. court nixed all but one patent covering top-seller Cubicin. And now, it'll be up to brand-new FDA approval Zerbaxa to turn things around.

AstraZeneca eyes $2B in sales with FDA nod for ovarian cancer fighter Lynparza

AstraZeneca won accelerated FDA approval for its ovarian cancer fighter Lynparza (olaparib), opening the door for potential blockbuster sales of the drug and helping the company distinguish itself from rivals in the BRCA playing field.

AstraZeneca CEO says Pfizer won't come back. Oh, and that $45B goal? It's a stretch

In one interview published over the weekend, AstraZeneca CEO Pascal Soriot pooh-poohed the idea of Pfizer coming back with another takeover bid. In another, he gave a subtle warning about his company's stated goal of hitting $45 billion in sales within a decade.

AbbVie needs more than its hep C nod to backfill Humira's looming patent loss

With Friday's approval of all-oral hep C regimen Viekira Pak, AbbVie's got a future blockbuster on its hands. And it couldn't have arrived soon enough.

Sorry, Gilead. AbbVie cuts exclusive hep C deal with Express Scripts

AbbVie has made Express Scripts' wish come true. Or perhaps it's the other way around. The proud new parent of Viekira, a highly anticipated hepatitis C cocktail, AbbVie now has exclusive access to millions of the pharmacy benefits manager's patients in return for a "significant discount" off its $85,000 list price.

Deal-happy Actavis eyes Spain's Almirall for European growth: Bloomberg

Just one month after announcing a $66 billion pact to buy Allergan, Actavis is eyeing Spain's Almirall as a way to boost its European growth, according to Bloomberg.

Established product sales lacking in pharma's whopper M&A year

2014 may have been a banner year in pharma M&A, but for companies looking to sell off their portfolios of aging meds, it wasn't quite big enough.

Novo Nordisk gets EU recommendation for Tresiba use in kids

Novo Nordisk has a while yet to wait for another shot at FDA approval for Tresiba, a drug on which it has pinned its future, but it continues win support for it in Europe.

Orexigen's weight-loss drug gets thumbs-up from CHMP

Orexigen has scored another big boost for its weight-loss drug, with a European drug advisory group giving it a recommendation for approval. The favorable review comes three months after the FDA approved it in the U.S., where it is already seeing some significant demand.

Salix investors pushing for sale once supply issues wrap

Salix is working quickly to get some inventory issues under control after bidding farewell to its CFO and launching an audit committee review. But as soon as it does, some shareholders want the North Carolina drugmaker to put itself on the block.

China promises faster drug approvals, equal treatment for U.S. companies

U.S. and Chinese trade officials announced on Thursday that China will streamline drug approvals and promised equal treatment of U.S. and Chinese companies in pricing probes.