AIDS suicides plummeted after drugs hit market; Cancer patients live longer on Tykerb plus Herceptin

> Suicides among AIDS patients in Switzerland dropped by more than 50 percent after they started getting antiretroviral drugs in 1996, a recent Swiss study has found. Report

> Teva Pharmaceutical Industries said the FDA has scaled back dietary and health restrictions on its Parkinson's disease drug Azilect. Release

> Women with persistent and aggressive breast cancer could significantly extend their remaining lifespan by taking GlaxoSmithKline's Tykerb in combination with Roche's injectable rival Herceptin, new trial data suggest. Report

> Sanofi-Aventis has revamped operations at its sterile injectables plant in Le Trait, France, adding three new production units that double syringe-making capacity and diversify its vaccine-manufacturing capability. Report

> Post-menopausal women taking antidepressants are at higher risk of suffering a stroke or of dying of any cause than are those who do not take them, a study found. Report

> Celesio, which has made five acquisitions this year, is prepared to make more purchases as health-policy changes force the German drug wholesaler to seek new growth markets. Report

Biotech News

> Struggling to stay afloat, Canada's Ambrilia Biopharma is jettisoning its manufacturing facility and shedding jobs. It is also planning to move out of its offices in Montreal and find less expensive digs. Report

> Just a few days after Seattle Genetics bid goodbye to Roche as the pharma giant pulled out of an $860 million partnership deal, the developer pulled the wraps off a new development pact with Takeda's U.S. cancer subsidiary Millennium. Report

> Shares of Array BioPharma (ARRY) were amped up overnight by the news that Amgen had committed $60 million upfront, research support and a schedule of unspecified milestones in exchange for the worldwide rights to a promising, early-stage Type 2 diabetes therapy. Story

> Shares of Switzerland's Addex were suspended after the developer was forced to halt development of its lead therapy after routine monitoring efforts revealed signs of liver problems in the drug group. Addex announced that it had "terminated development of ADX10059 for chronic indications, including long term treatment of gastroesophageal reflux disease and migraine prophylaxis." Report

> Clarus Ventures has led a $30 million Series B for Ophthotech, a biotech focused on developing new ophthalmic therapies for both wet and dry AMD. Existing investors SV Life Sciences, Novo A/S and HBM BioVentures all joined the venture round, which will be used to finance a mid-stage trial of Ophthotech's lead product candidate--an aptamer-targeting PDGF dubbed E10030--along with other development activities. Report

Biotech Research News

> The Washington Post weighs in today with a detailed look at the surge of new research work that is going into epigenetics, a field that has already spawned a string of new biotechs and promises to deliver many more. Report

> A research group at Karolinska Institutet, in collaboration with American and European scientists, has discovered that an inorganic polymer, polyphosphate, plays a key role in both inflammation and the formation of blood clots. Report

> The therapeutic promise of activating Sirt1 to spur weight loss and increase longevity has already generated significant R&D interest. Now researchers at Brown University, Rhode Island Hospital and the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center say that Sirt1 in the brain has the potential to keep people thinner. And that discovery could point the way to new obesity drugs. Story

> A group of engineers are taking a leaf from the book of nature and using it to develop a new drug delivery technology, as well as new therapeutics. Report

> PFKFB3, a gene often studied by cancer researchers, has been linked to the metabolic inflammation that leads to diabetes. And understanding how it works means scientists could find ways to prevent or cure diabetes, according to a study by Texas AgriLife Research appearing in the Journal of Biological Chemistry. Story

> Australian physicians used a new stem cell therapy to essentially "reset" the immune system of a patient with multiple sclerosis, allowing him to walk again. Report

And Finally... The chairman of a major Chinese pharma died in an explosion generated by a chemical experiment at his villa in Taizhou. Report