FDA's heparin tests find no problems; Astellas expects profits to drop again;

> Tests conducted by two FDA laboratories turned up no evidence yet of problems with the anticlotting drug heparin that was given to two Beebe Medical Center patients who later died. Report

> Astellas Pharma, Japan's second-largest drugmaker, forecast a second straight year of profit falls, hurt by a stronger yen and higher costs to beef up its product pipeline. Report

> Europe's heavy use of antiviral medication against swine flu does not appear to be creating drug resistance but countries should follow the lead of Mexico and the United States and target the medicine to patients most at risk, the WHO said. Report

> A U.S. district court dismissed a purported securities fraud lawsuit against Biovail that alleged the company misled investors about the prospects for FDA approval of its antidepressant Aplenzin. Report

> India's Cipla said its generic version of Roche's Tamiflu has been included in the WHO's list of pre-qualified medicinal products. Report

> Psychiatric and neurological drug developer Neurogen says it has suspended the enrollment of additional patients in its ongoing Phase II studies for Parkinson's disease and Restless Legs Syndrome, as well as eliminated half its staff. Report

> New Jersey-based Genta had to go into survival mode in early 2008 after the FDA rejected its lead therapy Genasense. But now Genta has found itself back in a similar position. As of March 31, Genta had cash and cash equivalents totaling just $600,000. Report

> U.K.-based Antisoma has raised $65 million through the sell of U.S. rights to Oforta (oral fludarabine), an FDA-approved treatment for chronic lymphocytic leukemia, to Sanofi-Aventis. Report

> Carl Icahn just won't leave Biogen Idec alone. According to slides filed with the SEC, the billionaire investor is now calling for Biogen to divide itself into two companies: one focused on neurology and another on cancer. Report

> Switzerland's NovImmune has rounded up $54.8 million (CHF 62.5 million) to take back control of its lead compounds NI-0401 and NI-0501 from MerckSerono. Report

> New York-based Progenics announced that it has reduced its headcount by 10 percent to 224 as part of an effort to streamline operations, become more efficient and reduce expenditures. Report

> Japan's Takeda Pharmaceuticals President Yasuchika Hasegawa says the time has come to start paying the company's scientists based on the quality of work they do, rather than the quantity. Report

> Researchers at the National Institute for Biological Standards and Control in the UK will develop a virus to make a new vaccine from. But the process will take months. Nevertheless, the scientists are optimistic that the swine flu virus may remain stable. Report

And Finally... Handing out free drug samples to patients "has many serious disadvantages and is as anachronistic as bloodletting and high colonic irrigations," say two academics in an essay in PLoS Medicine. Release

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