Astra challenges witnesses in Seroquel suit; Sepracor inks Xopenex deal with Teva;

> In a Delaware court, attorneys for drug maker AstraZeneca are challenging the findings of expert witnesses who claim the company's anti-psychotic drug Seroquel causes diabetes. Report

> Sepracor agreed to allow Teva Pharmaceutical to launch generic versions of its respiratory drug Xopenex in 2013 under terms of a patent lawsuit settlement. Report

> Reflecting recent rapid growth of off-label prescribing, 75 percent of U.S. health plans now reimburse patients for such treatments, according to a study by the Tufts Center for the Study of Drug Development. Release

> The FDA said it would allow patients with Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis, or ALS, access to Insmed's experimental drug Iplex. Report

> GlaxoSmithKline tapped generics marketing Prasco Laboratories to sell and distribute copycat versions of its products, the first of which will be a Prasco/GSK-labeled generic of Flonase nasal spray. Release

> Hong Kong's health department has instructed Marching Pharmaceutical to recall 216 products because their labelled expiration dates were not substantiated by laboratory data. Report

> Pharmaceutical and health care market research firm IMS Health elected Bradley Sheares to its board of directors. Report

> Novozymes Biopharma inked a deal with GE Healthcare to use the latter's technology in producing native, animal-free protein A. Report

> Treating peripheral arterial disease with drug-eluting stents may save lives and limbs in people with severely obstructed arteries, Greek researchers have found. Report

> As small and large drug developers continue to cut costs and jobs, there are a growing number of out-of-work biotech types looking for their next job. And on Monday morning over 1,000 of those jobless biotech workers packed a South San Francisco Life Science Career Fair looking for new careers to replace those they've lost. Report

> With Genentech and Roche seen moving closer to a deal and the Schering-Plough tie-up with Merck commanding the attention of the drug industry's analysts, the Wall Street Journal lays out a consensus that the consolidation underway now will soon force more M&A activity in biotechnology. Report

> Progen shareholders have turned a cold shoulder to management's proposal to merge the cash-rich, product-poor company with Avexa. Most of the proxy votes went against the merger. Report

> The credit crunch has caused a number of biotech investors to demand that struggling biotech companies should shut down and distribute any remaining funds rather than try and find a new way forward. Report

And Finally... The National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) will go head-to-head with GlaxoSmithKline on the issue of drug pricing at the 2009 Bupa Health Debate on March 25, at a time when they are arguing heatedly over the cost of breast cancer treatment Tyverb. Report