Dallas lawyer dies despite last-ditch Tysabri; Merck to shutter plant in South Korea;

> Fred Baron, the wealthy trial lawyer with multiple myeloma whose family was assisted by Bill Clinton and Lance Armstrong in an effort to get access to the Biogen Idec drug Tysabri, died last week. Report

> Merck & Co. will shut down its plant in South Korea next year as part of its cost-cutting efforts, the company's local unit said Monday, adding that it plans to lay off 20 of its 40 workers there. Report

> More American children are taking pills for diabetes, high blood pressure and cholesterol than ever before, reflecting a rise in chronic diseases related to obesity. Report

> UCB and Pfizer got the FDA nod for Toviaz, a tablet for the treatment of overactive bladder (OAB) with symptoms of urge urinary incontinence, urgency, and urinary frequency. Release

> Cephalon got the FDA nod for its chemotherapy medicine Treanda to treat an additional form of cancer, non-Hodgkin's lymphoma; the drug is already approved for a form of leukemia. Release

> CVS Pharmacy, the nation's second-largest drugstore chain, is jumping into the generic drug fray with a 90-day supply of 400 common copycat meds for $9.99. Report

> ProStrakan is set for a step change in its business as its first drug, the antinausea patch Sancuso,  finally hits the shelves in the US. Report

> GlaxoSmithKline recorded a 66 per cent fall in profits from its plant in Dungarvan, Ireland, last year, despite rising sales. Report

> Akorn announced the FDA's approval for its adenosine injection used to treat supraventricular tachycardia. Akorn's release

> Gilead Sciences announced that two studies evaluating its med Viread as a treatment for hepatitis B showed that the drug suppressed HBV and showed signs of fighting off the virus's effects. Release

> Bristol-Myers Squibb announced that patients treated long-term with Baraclude showed improvement in liver histology, including improvement in fibrosis caused by chronic hepatitis B infection. Release

> Orion and Novartis are "evaluating legal options" for fighting off Wockhardt's attempt to market a copycat version of their Parkinson's treatment Stalevo. Release

> Three months after getting hit by the FDA with a "not approvable" letter, Vanda Pharmaceuticals says that it has cut its staff and suspended all commercial and development activities. Report

> Writers for BusinessWeek recently sat down with a lineup of CEOs from the world's biggest pharmaceutical companies to explore what ails the industry and what they need to do differently. Report

> Big spender Fidelity Biosciences invested $65 million in neurological-drug developer EnVivo Pharmaceuticals. The investment firm bought out all other investors, including BCM Technologies, Cogene Ventures, and NeuroVentures Capital. Report

> Biogen Idec is paying $31.5 million up front to buy itself a collaboration with Genentech on an experimental cancer therapy, GA101. Report

> Switzerland's Polyphor announced it has inked a deal with Allergan that gives the company exclusive rights to develop Polyphor's protein epitope mimetics (PEM) cytokine inhibitors for the treatment of conditions and diseases of the eye. Report

And Finally... British doctors are to launch a major trial to investigate whether lithium could be a cheap and effective treatment for the devastating condition motor neurone disease suffered by physicist Stephen Hawking. Report