EC backs Takeda's Actos after cancer-risk data; AZ weighs options for Loughborough site;

@FiercePharma: From WSJ, a nice look at the shift in #pharma sales strategies, now that 33K reps have seen the ax. Article  | Follow @FiercePharma

> The European Commission confirmed the EMA's decision to back Takeda Pharmaceutical's diabetes drug Actos despite data suggesting an increased risk of bladder cancer. News

> AstraZeneca ($AZN) is set to evaluate its options for the now-closed facility at Loughborough, planning to meet with "interested parties" by month's end. Story

> Regeneron Pharmaceutials ($REGN) stock gained 17% after fourth quarter sales of its new macular degeneration drug Eylea were $24 million to $25 million, more than four times an analyst's estimate. Article

> Abbott Laboratories ($ABT) paid $16 million for Canadian marketing rights to the Apricus Biosciences erectile dysfunction drug Vitaros, which is approved in that country but awaiting the nod from the FDA. Item

> Baxter International ($BAX) has tapped Jean-Luc Butel as VP and president of its international business; most recently, he was EVP and international president at Medtronic ($MDT). Baxter release

> Cholesterol-lowering statin drugs may lead to an increased risk of diabetes in older women, researchers have found, but their benefits still make them useful for those with risk factors for heart disease. Story

Biotech News

@FierceBiotech: Merck's head dealmaker Pomerantz says his co. "will do what it takes" to lead race for hep C combo therapies. Story | Follow @FierceBiotech

@JohnCFierce: Canaan Partners adds $200M in venture funds for life sciences. More | Follow @JohnCFierce

@MarkHFierce: St. Jude ($STJ) expects to launch a second-generation neuromodulation treatment for some migraines in Europe in Q2 2012--"a big growth driver." | Follow @MarkHFierce

@MaureenFierce: Wake Forest kicks off PhII study of ICT-107, a brain cancer vaccine that "acts like bloodhound to locate cancer cells." Article | Follow @MaureenFierce

@RyanMFierce: Check out @Reuters graphic on shrinking DNA sequencing costs. Nothing really new in there, but remarkable. Graphic | Follow @RyanMFierce

> Fueled by Sanofi, Warp Drive Bio takes off with $125M deal. News

> Forma scores another Big Pharma deal in $700M J&J cancer pact. Article

Manufacturing News

> Novartis recall hints at regulatory snowball. More

> Parents allege J&J's excess-API Tylenol killed son. Story

> USP suits up for pedigree challenge. Article

> Genzyme's new plant to boost Fabrazyme supply. News

> Xoma cuts manufacturing to feed R&D. Story

Biotech Research News

> Genetic mutations discovered in non-smoking lung cancer patients. Article

> Low-intensity electromagnetic fields shrink liver cancer tumors. More

> Breakthrough trial protects monkeys from HIV-like virus. Story

> Scientists deduce gene that may contribute to major depression. News

> Injection of young stem cells boosts vitality in prematurely aging mice. Piece

And Finally... Nicotine gum and patches don't help smokers quit over the long term, a study has found. Report