Japan's pharma market set for slowdown; Novartis says Lovenox copy on track;

> The Japanese pharmaceutical market--the world's second-largest--grew 17.2 percent in 2008 to $68.6 billion, but will increase by just 4.8 percent on average each year to 2014, a new report states. Report

> Switzerland's Novartis said it was making progress with a generic copy of Sanofi-Aventis' blockbuster anti-clotting drug Lovenox after an analyst reported the company was gearing up to launch its version. Report

> Clinical data showed that Pfizer's Sutent more than doubled the time it took for pancreatic tumors to start growing again and that the drug improved survival of the patients. Report

> AstraZeneca is considering a stock-buyback on the strength of a strong 2009 performance, the Telegraph states. Report

> Among the nearly 3,000 women who gave birth in Washington State, those who started taking SSRI antidepressants in the second or third trimester had a higher risk of preterm birth, a study showed. Report

> The European Commission cleared private equity firm Warburg Pincus and Denmark's Novo Nordisk Foundation to acquire control of Archimedes Pharma. Report

Biotech News

> Antigenics has spent hundreds of millions of dollars on the late-stage development of the cancer vaccine Oncophage, but its CEO tells Mass High Tech that the FDA's mindset on cancer drug development would prohibit the agency from ever approving the therapy. Report

> Shares of Keryx Pharmaceuticals jumped more than 12 percent after its experimental colon cancer drug hit a trio of key goals in a mid-stage clinical trial. Story

> Intercept Pharmaceuticals' majority shareholder, the Italian biotech Genextra, is pumping a $25 million Series B into its coffers. Report

> Late Friday afternoon, regulators at the FDA approved Acorda's multiple sclerosis drug Ampyra based on data demonstrating that patients taking dalfampridine were able to walk faster than a control group. Story

Biotech IT News 

> If you're trying to convince the executive suite to automate clinical trial functions and share data among other corporate resources, a new study can help you make the case. Story

> As reported last week, Barcelona-based Almirall, a long-time customer of Perceptive Informatics, has gone back to the well to prep for upcoming trials of respiratory therapeutics. Report

> Phase Forward has released version 7.2 of its Empirica Signal product, a member of its Empirica pharmacovigilance and risk management product collection. Story

> Agile clinical development--expanding the adaptive research concept to all clinical trial functions--may be the key to improving success rates for new drugs. Report

> The field of clinical research informatics--the art and science of improving information flow during clinical studies--is exploding, driving demand for those so skilled. Story

> Drug developers using the SAS technology platform can expect enhanced service from MDS Pharma, thanks to the CRO's adoption of the platform across preclinical through Phase IIa activities. Report

And Finally... Officials fear knockoffs of a toxic ingredient in Botox could become a tool for terrorists. Report