Feds probe whether Emory misled NIH; Astellas to launch tender for CV;

> Emory University is still feeling the heat from Sen. Charles Grassley's conflicts-of-interest investigation: The federal government is probing whether Emory misled the NIH over payments that prominent psychiatrist Charles Nemeroff received from GlaxoSmithKline. Report

> Astellas Pharma has taken its $1 billion cash bid for CV Therapeutics directly to its target's shareholders, with a tender offer expected to be launched today. Astellas report

> In a devastating blow to the company, Synta Pharmaceuticals has halted a Phase III melanoma drug trial after a greater number of people taking elesclomol died than those receiving standard care. The news is also a disappointment for GSK, which signed a $1.1 billion partnership deal for the drug in in October 2007. Report

> A group of pension funds yesterday warned large pharmaceutical companies that their future investments could become conditional on receiving more data on strategies, expenditure and performance in the emerging economies. Report

> Cephalon said it intends make a $318 million takeover offer for Arana Therapeutics, an Australian biotechnology company that is developing biologic compounds for inflammatory diseases and cancer. Cephalon report

> Elder Pharmaceuticals announced that the wholly owned Dubai subsidiary of the company has made an unsolicited offer to NeutraHealth of the U.K., at an indicative partial offer price of 5.5 pence per share. Report

> Sanofi-Aventis has launched a community health program in San Antonio, Texas, to help raise awareness and improve care to the city's Hispanic population. Report

> Beckman Coulter is expanding its clinical chemistry business with the purchase of Tokyo-based Olympus' Life Sciences diagnostic systems. The deal is worth ¥77.45 billion--about $800 million. Report

> Sanofi-aventis has won FDA approval for Apidra SoloSTAR, a prefilled disposable pen, for children with type 1 diabetes and adults with type 1 or 2 diabetes. Sanofi report

> New York, NY-based Oligomerix has been awarded a Small Business Innovation Research Phase I grant of $323,000 by the National Institute of Health. The grant will be used to fund the development of biomarker assays for Alzheimer's disease (AD). Report

> Shares of Genzyme were buoyed by the news that the FDA has approved Synvisc-One for osteoarthritis of the knee. The therapy is a single injection treatment that can provide relief for six months. Genzyme report

> France's NicOx is on the prowl for marketed or late-stage products that can be added to its pipeline as it lays the groundwork for commercializing naproxcinod, a potential blockbuster anti-inflammatory drug. NicOx report

> Noted biotech venture capitalist Steven Burrill says that after more than 40 years of red ink, the biotech industry turned its first profit last year. But he's quick to add that the numbers this year will not paint a very pretty picture. Biotech report

> GlaxoSmithKline and the University College of London's Institute of Ophthalmology have signed a deal in which the Institute will investigate the potential of compounds provided by GSK's ophthalmic drug development unit Ophthiris. Report

And Finally... A handful of new human deaths from bird flu underscore that the H5N1 virus still could mutate and flare into a global pandemic, U.N. officials said. Report