Lawmakers push academic detailing; Merck, Gilead team up on AIDS drug;

> Congressional reps introduced a bill in both chambers to launch a federal "academic detailing" program to give physicians and other prescribers  an objective source of information on prescription drugs. Report

> Merck and Gilead Sciences said Friday they will collaborate on the distribution of HIV drug Atripla to 12 countries, primarily in Latin America and the Asia-Pacific region. Report

> Bayer tapped Greg Babe as president and chief executive officer of its U.S. subsidiary, effective Oct. 1; he replaces Attila Molnar, who is retiring. Report

> India's Sun Pharma is trying to allay fears that it may shut down the Taro plant in Israel and cut jobs once it takes over the company. Report

> Sanofi Pasteur began shipping its first 1.3 million doses of Fluzone influenza vaccine in the United States for the 2008-2009 season. Report

> Novartis shifted its U.S. media buying and planning duties, including digital chores, to Mediaedge:cia from MindShare; both shops are units of WPP Group. Report

> Heightened media attention to the financial ties between vaccine makers and the physician groups that advocate their use appears to be encouraging a growing number of parents to skip the jabs for their kids--at a cost. Report

> The deeply confused state of HIV vaccine research was underscored by NIAID chief Anthony Fauci's recent decision to halt a planned human trial of an experimental jab. Report

> Acambis is plotting its growth strategy after Sanofi Pasteur's $549M buyout. Report

> An experimental vaccine created from genetically engineered plant cells appears to be effective against the Black Plague, which has bedeviled the world for centuries and is listed as a top bioterror threat. Report

> The start-up Sierra Neuropharmaceuticals has gained $21.5 million in its Series A round. Report

> The long dry spell for new drug approvals has actually worsened a bit. In Vivo notes that the FDA approved six new molecular entities in the first half of the year, down one from the dreadful pace set in 2007. Report

> AtheroGenics also saw its stock price soar yesterday. Researchers for the company say that both doses of AGI-1067--75 mg and 150 mg--hit their primary endpoints in a late-stage trial for diabetes. Report

> A late-stage study of Ark Therapeutics' gene therapy for cancer posted significant survival benefits for volunteers with operable high grade glioma, sending its stock soaring 69 percent on the news. Report

And Finally... Eradicating the Heliobacter pylori bug in patients with stomach cancer cut the risk of recurrence by two-thirds. Report