Amylin defends Byetta to skittish investors; AstraZeneca awaits committee say on Seroquel;

> Amylin Pharmaceuticals is trying to halt a sliding stock price by asserting that its long-acting diabetes drug does not share the same cancer risk observed in a similar drug from competitor Novo Nordisk. Report

> Scientists from British drugmaker AstraZeneca will try to convince an FDA advisory panel today that the schizophrenia drug Seroquel should be approved for millions more patients who have depression. Report

> HRA Pharma has signed a marketing and distribution agreement with Nycomed, under which Nycomed will distribute and market HRA's next-generation emergency contraceptive ellaOne (ulipristal acetate) in the Nordic and Baltic territories. Report

> Aurobindo Pharma got its first product approval from Swissmedic, for its version of Finasteride APL, a treatment for enlarged prostate. Report

> Uluru, a specialty pharmaceutical company, has signed a non-binding offer letter to acquire York Pharma, a UK-based skincare company with operations or distribution networks throughout Europe. Report

> Joshua Boger has made a prominent reputation for himself as founder and CEO of Vertex. Now he offers some advice for others who want to follow the same biotech path. Report

> While threatening note-holders with a bankruptcy filing, Epix Pharmaceuticals is offering cash and stock in exchange for $100 million in convertible senior notes. And in a separate announcement, Epix said that it had sold U.S., Canadian and Australian rights to an imaging agent to Lantheus Medical Imaging for $28 million. Report

> At Cambridge, MA-based Alkermes' R&D day, CEO David Broecker is shifting the spotlight to its pipeline programs as it nears the launch of a mid-stage trial for a new addiction therapy. Report

> Berkeley, CA-based Aerovance has closed on a two-tranche, $38 million financing round with some top biotech investors. Report

> In a significant new step toward repairing spinal cord damage, researchers have successfully used new viral technology to deploy genetically engineered cells that spur the regrowth of corticospinal motor axons. Report

> Dietrich Stephan was a founding scientist at the $90 million Translational Genomics Research Institute in Phoenix. Now he has ambitious plans to establish a $245 million research institute in Northern Virginia that would recruit 500 top scientists to spearhead pioneering work on personalized drug therapies. Report

> After a long period of relative neglect, neuroscience is gaining a big share of the federal research budget. And the New York Times highlights one program that raises the possibility that a molecule could make it possible for someone to eliminate a painful memory of a fear, a loss or even an addiction. Report

And Finally... Damage to HIV patients' immune systems is happening sooner now than it did at the beginning of the epidemic, suggesting the virus has become more virulent, according to a new study. Release

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