Covis nabs U.S. rights to 5 GSK meds; EMA reviews safety of Novartis BP drug;

@FiercePharma: Merck leads 2011's list of job-cutting drugmakers. Story | Follow @FiercePharma

> GlaxoSmithKline ($GSK) has sold U.S. rights to 5 drugs, including injectable Zantac, to specialty drugmaker Covis Pharma. Report

> The European Medicines Agency says it will review the safety of Novartis' ($NVS) blood-pressure drug Rasilez--sold as Tekturna in the U.S.--after a study flagged potential risks of strokes and kidney problems. News

> Akorn bought three injectable drugs from Denmark's Lundbeck, including Nembutal, an anesthetic that the Danish company had worked to restrict after U.S. prisons sought it for use in executions. Item

> Teva Pharmaceutical Industries ($TEVA) said its European unit's CEO, Gerard van Odjik, will step down, and SVP Rob Koremans will replace him. Story

> FDA is investigating whether wheat, barley or rye ingredients are used in drugs sold in the U.S., out of concern for celiac disease patients sensitive to gluten. Article

Biotech News

@FierceBiotech: Here's the full list of the 40+ reports we published this year: List. 15 blockbuster contenders was most viewed of 2011. | Follow @FierceBiotech

@RyanMFierce: BMS missed the mark in its late-stage study of brivanib for liver cancer, but $BMY not giving up. Report | Follow @RyanMFierce

@FierceMedDev: Smiths Medical starts nationwide vlntry recall of certain Bivona neonatal, pediatric and FlexTend tracheostomy tubes. Release | Follow @FierceMedDev

> Spike in approvals can't quell industry protests about the FDA. News

> Biotech deal-making grows in importance as Big Pharma restructures. Article

> Venture capital circles turn dour in the face of some tough challenges. Report

> Dendreon demonstrates tougher commercialization hurdles for developers. Item

> R&D execs continue the global search for efficiency, open innovation. News

> Baxter, Momenta team up in potential $503M biosimilars deal. Story

And Finally... A new 156-patient study found placebo pills worked as well as talk therapy or antidepressants, but experts said it was too small and only considered one type of therapy and two different drugs. Report