Merck donates experimental malaria drug; AstraZeneca cuts 120 German jobs;

> Merck donated an investigational malaria drug to the Medicines for Malaria Venture for use in the developing world; under the agreement, MMV gets an exclusive, royalty-free license to develop the experimental med in malaria-endemic countries. Release

> AstraZeneca cut 120 jobs in Germany, or about 9 percent of its workforce of 1,300 there; the layoffs are part of AstraZeneca's previously announced job cuts. Report

> Medtronic said the number of deaths in which its fractured defibrillator wires may have been a "possible or likely contributing factor" has risen to 13. Report

> Drugmaker Warner Chilcott said the FDA will not delay rulings on two generic versions of the antibiotic Doryx. Report

> Abbott Laboratories accused rival Mylan Inc. of infringing two U.S. patents for the AIDS drug Kaletra. Report

> Teva Pharmaceutical Indusries won FDA approval for its version of the Medicis acne treatment Solodyn; the company has already started shipping the copycat meds despite ongoing patent litigation. Release

> Johnson & Johnson said it's going to test its Nevo stent against Abbott's popular Xience stent in a 2,000 patient, head-to-head trial. Report

> Federal health officials say a Johnson & Johnson drug helps prevent deadly blood clots in patients getting hip or knee replacement, but it also carries a risk of serious internal bleeding. Report

> Galashiels, Scotland-based ProStrakan said 2008 had been an "excellent year" for the company with product sales rising 32 percent and total revenue up 23 percent. Report

> Shares of Bayer AG were badly dented this morning after the FDA released staffers' critical remarks on Xarelto, a blood clot drug that will be reviewed by an expert committee on Thursday. Report

> Facing the need to raise new operating capital, Seattle-based Cell Therapeutics has hired on a financial adviser to counsel the company on its strategic alternatives. Report

> MannKind is determined to push into the commercial market for inhaled insulin--an ambitious move that Pfizer has already tried and failed. Report

> Shares of Switzerland's Cytos Biotechnology tanked after the developer said its high blood pressure vaccine failed a mid-stage trial. Cytos now says it will hand out pink slips to 42 percent of its work force--eliminating 57 jobs. The company's shares slid 33.5 percent on the news. Report

> With its R&D expenses shooting up and its lead program in clinical trials, South San Francisco-based Poniard Pharmaceuticals was handed a going-concern warning by its auditors. Poniard lost about $14 million in the fourth quarter, but says it has enough cash to fund operations at least into the first quarter of 2010. Report

> Roche has several big challenges waiting for it at Genentech. One example: Its $47 billion takeover of the biotech giant will make many of the California biotech's scientists rich. Very, very rich. Report

And Finally... Researchers have identified a master switch that might prevent cancer cells from metastasizing from a primary tumor to other organs. Release

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