FDA to open China offices this year; Gilead releases earnings;

> The FDA will open its first China office before the end of 2008 as the agency works to ensure the safety of products imported from developing countries. Article

> Gilead Sciences reported a 27 percent increase in Q3 profit today. Total revenues for the third quarter of 2008 were $1.37 billion, up 30 percent compared to total revenues of $1.06 billion for the third quarter of 2007. The increase was driven by HIV drug sales. Gilead release

> Construction hasn't even finished at Merck's new Durham, North Carolina vaccine plant and the company's already considering what to do next. The $750 million plant, which is expected to be completed in 2011, will house 400 workers and the production of childhood vaccines and a shingles shot for adults. Report

> Earlier this week, we reported that deCODE may be delisted from the NASDAQ because the company's market cap is at $32.8 million--short of the $50 million minimum needed to stay on the stock exchange. The company's stock has been declining steadily since 2006. Now the company said it's looking for buyers for some of its assets, though it didn't specify what exactly will be for sale. Report

> California's BioMarin Pharmaceutical announced positive results from a trial of the oral drug 6R-BH4 in patients with sickle cell disease. In the trial, 6R-BH4 was associated with improvement in endothelial dysfunction. Report

> Orchestra Therapeutics, the company formerly known as Immune Response, has filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy. Orchestra was co-founded by polio vaccine creater Jonas Salk in 1986, and became a Wall Street favorite when its AIDS vaccine Remune showed activity against the virus. When the vaccine didn't pan out, Orchestra switched its focus to a multiple sclerosis treatment called NeuroVax. Report

> Cell Genesys has terminated a late-stage trial of GVAX immunotherapy in patients with prostate cancer. The decision to halt the trial was made after an independent monitoring committee found that the trial had less than a 30 percent chance of meeting its predefined primary endpoint of an improvement in survival. Report

And Finally... Synthetic biology--a relatively new field which joins biology and engineering to create or change life forms--is catching the attention of venture capitalists looking for the next big thing. Report

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