Boehringer in supply talks with India's Cipla; Merck taps Tufts dean as medical officer;

> German drugmaker Boehringer Ingelheim has started discussions with India's Cipla for a drug supply agreement, the Economic Times said. Report

> Merck has named Dr. Michael Rosenblatt, the dean of Tufts University School of Medicine, as its chief medical officer. Report

> FDA approved the first generic, orally disintegrating versions of the Alzheimer's drug Aricept, to be made by Mutual Pharmaceutical of Philadelphia. Report

> GlaxoSmithKline says U.K. plans to apply a reduced tax rate to all drugs patented after 2013 will encourage investment, provided it is applied to products already being developed. Report

> Glenmark Pharmaceuticals said it entered into a licensing pact with Switzerland's Stratpharma to market and distribute its scar management drug Strataderm in India. Report

Biotech News

> Two small RNAi players are merging forces in hopes of attracting some increased attention from the Big Pharma coaches calling the partnership plays. The UK's Silence Therapeutics will issue $26 million in shares to acquire Palo Alto, CA-based Intradigm, giving Intradigm's shareholders a 36.6 percent slice of the combined pie. Deal report

> With the clock ticking to a midnight tender offer deadline today, Biogen Idec threatened to get out the brass knuckles to complete its bid to acquire Facet Biotech. Article

> Shareholders finally got their chance to register their opinion of Addex's announcement that it is stopping development of its lead drug after registering liver problems in a crucial clinical trial. Addex item

> Shares of Achillion Pharmaceuticals rocketed up 66 percent in premarket trading as investors rallied to the news that an early-stage trial had delivered proof of concept data for its hepatitis C drug--ACH-1625. Article

> One of Celgene's mid-stage drug prospects may be getting closer scrutiny from analysts now that it's turned in promising results in a mid-stage clinical trial for psoriasis. Report

> Ann Arbor, MI-based NanoBio has inked a deal with GlaxoSmithKline for an experimental cold sore therapy poised to go into late-stage testing. NanoBio report

Manufacturing News

> Four pharmaceutical companies have exceeded the 50 percent mark in an analysis of the voluntary sustainability reporting. Bristol-Myers Squibb, Sanofi-Aventis, Abbott Labs and Johnson & Johnson took top honors among Fortune 500 pharmaceutical companies. Story

> Following the recent European Union customs exercise that led to the confiscation of 34 million counterfeit pills within two months, consultancy ARC Advisory expects a law requiring the traceability of each pill, perhaps within a year. The law is expected to drive demand for automation tools to support international and inter-entity data exchanges. Story

> Continuous processing, rather than batch, may be the future of tablet-making. A U.K. group is targeting efficiency gains in manufacturing to effect cost savings big enough to help U.K. companies compete against lower cost economies. Report

> Changeovers and frequent stops during manufacturing runs trip up pharmaceutical manufacturing operations much more than they do operations in other industries. On average, changeovers consume 14 percent of capacity for drugmakers--nearly five times the lowly 3 percent across all industries. Report

> Three incidents involving pharmaceutical products mar the November Freightwatch International cargo theft report. Among the 64 cases (reported across all industries) were hijackings of H1N1 vaccine, OTC medications and infant formula, reports Secure Pharma Chain. Story

> China has sentenced six traders found guilty of exporting fake anti-malaria drugs to Nigeria to death. The Chinese government had apologized to the West African nation and promised a thorough investigation following last June's discovery and seizure by Nigerian officials of some $210,000 worth of the phony drugs. Report

And Finally... Pfizer is equipping its sales reps with new tablet computers to help improve their pitches to doctors. Report