Biogen Idec reveals 4 more PML cases; Lundbeck cooperates in E.U. antitrust probe;

> Biogen Idec says four more cases of the rare and serious neurological infection known as PML have been detected in patients taking its multiple sclerosis drug Tysabri, bringing the total since July 2008 to 28. Report

> Denmark's H. Lundbeck, the Nordic region's second-largest drugmaker, faces an E.U. antitrust investigation into whether it impedes the sale of generic versions of antidepressant citalopram, which is sold in the U.S. and Canada as Celexa. Story

> Ranbaxy Laboratories, India's biggest drugmaker, is in negotiations to buy a vaccine company for as much as 500 million rupees, according to an Economic Times report. Report

> Companies battling for an edge in the biopharmaceutical industry have $2.3 billion in manufacturing plants in development in the Boston area to produce genetically engineered drugs. Report

> U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi says lawmakers are "very close" to resolving differences between the House and Senate healthcare bills. Report

> Alzheimer's disease may be better treated with a cocktail of therapies rather than with one treatment alone, a study in mice suggests. Report

Biotech News

> Shares of Vivus jumped in after-market trading after the developer unveiled new data that demonstrated its experimental obesity drug Qnexa significantly reduced sleep apnea in a mid-stage trial. Qnexa, which has attracted considerable attention in the weight-loss field, reduced the rate of the breathing disorder by an impressive 69 percent. Story

> Debiopharm believes it can succeed with a cancer drug that ran straight into a late-stage brick wall at Pfizer. In a deal announced today, the developer will conduct a Phase III trial of tremelimumab in patients with Stage IV melanoma. The once-promising drug was shelved at Pfizer in 2008 after a safety monitoring board recommended that researchers pull the plug on a Phase III study. Report

> Struggling to right course after a string of manufacturing and regulatory snafus, Genzyme CEO Henri Termeer has evidently won the support of a key investor. Relational Investors, which holds a four percent stake in the company and has been critical of the company during a stretch of unprecedented woes, says it will support the biotech's board picks later this year. And Genzyme (GENZ) has agreed to hand one of those board nominations to Relational's Ralph Whitworth. Story

Vaccines News

> Austrian scientists are touting research involving insect cell-based technology to create recombinant influenza virus-like particles (VLPs)--a discovery that could lead to faster production times for H1N1 vaccines. It took the team just 10 weeks to produce swine-origin pandemic H1N1 influenza VLPs for immunological study in mice, according to research published recently in the Biotechnology Journal. Report

> Researchers at King's College London are planning a small trial that will test the first vaccine for leukemia. Subjects with acute myeloid leukemia (AML)--the most common form of the disease in adults--will be given a vaccine made from their own cells. Report

> A Chinese venture capital firm expects the country's booming vaccine business to accelerate at the jaw-dropping rate of 25 percent a year. By 2012, says investment banker Zero2IPO, the sector will mushroom to $1.12 billion (eight billion yuan). And investors from around the world will tumble into China to take advantage of the rapid ramp up and wide profit margins. Story

And Finally... Low vitamin D levels in blacks may explain higher rates of heart disease. Report