BMS board OKs another $3B in buybacks; Merck unit to lay off 30 at plant;

 @FiercePharma: S&P gives Novartis props for R&D productivity, cites "good chance" of "at least stable" sales despite Diovan loss. Report | Follow @FiercePharma

> Bristol-Myers Squibb ($BMY) directors approved another $3 billion in stock buybacks, on top of the $3 billion previously authorized. Report

> Merck ($MRK) subsidiary Cherokee Pharmaceuticals plans to lay off 30 workers at its 380-employee fermentation facility in Cherokee, PA. Article

> A new study found no increased risk of suicide among kids using asthma drugs in the class that includes Merck's Singulair. Report

> FDA officals gave a tentative blessing to Supernus Pharmaceuticals' drug Tokendi XR, a once-daily extended release version of the anti-seizure drug Topamax. Report

> China Pharmaceutical plans to buy $1.15 billion in assets from its parent company, aiming to build up its finished drug business. Report

Biotech News

 @FierceBiotech: Ultrasound pill could replace daily injections. More | Follow @FierceBiotech

 @JohnCFierce: The cliffhanger: FDA set to decide on Arena's lorcaserin - (I suspect it's yes, but I wouldn't be flabbergasted by delay). Story | Follow @JohnCFierce

 @RyanMFierce: Why mobile tech isn't ideal for recruitment in clinical trials. More | Follow @RyanMFierce

> Covance blueprints $150M CRO expansion, ready to hire 465. More

> Supernus shares soar on epilepsy drug OK. Item

> Gates Foundation readies a round of tempting biotech investments. Article

Medical Devices News 

 @FierceMedDev: We have extended the nomination deadline for the 15 fiercest medical device developers to July 13. Spread the word. Survey | Follow @FierceMedDev

> Top 10 Medical Devices CEO Salaries of 2011. Special Report

> Lab21, mystery pharma partner to launch colon cancer companion Dx in 2012. More

> Infraredx penetrates Japanese mkt with $50M Nipro deal. News

> Ohio devicemaker adding jobs after $5M tax break. Article

Drug Delivery News

 @DamianFierce: With the diabetes market burgeoning around the globe, Fierce takes a look at the top 5 insulin-delivery techs to watch. Special Report | Follow @DamianFierce

> Nanoparticles could help block herpes infection. News

> Cholesterol boosts cancer nanotherapy. Article

> Researchers cook up sugar-based capsules for drug delivery. Item

> West teams with Amgen for injectable delivery. Story

Biomarkers News

> Pregnancy biomarkers linked with long-term cardiovascular risk. Story

> Biomarker might cut unneeded thyroid surgery. Article

> Alzheimer's blood test moves closer. News

> FDA approves Beckman Coulter's prostate blood test. More

And Finally... Ernest Hemingway's "Old Man" swilled shark liver oil to ward off colds and flu. Now Novartis is betting it can help protect against AIDS. Report