Merck nabs rights to U.S. flu vaccine; Goldshield gets management-led buyout bid;

> Merck (MRK) shares were on a roll Monday after the company obtained U.S. distribution rights for CSL Limited's Afluria, one of the few flu vaccines approved for the U.S. market. Report

> British generic drugs maker Goldshield (GSD) received a 169 million pound cash offer from a takeover vehicle backed by its own management, trumping an earlier bid. Report

> The FDA is to establish current good manufacturing practice (cGMP) requirements for combination products to eliminate inconsistencies that could affect product safety and public health. Report

> The European Commission will consider whether to bring legal action against Roche, the pharmaceutical group, after the UK drugs watchdog decided not to pursue the company over its Xenical marketing. Report

> GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) is hoping to announce further new markets for its Lucozade drink this year, after announcing on Monday it would start selling the product in China. Report

Biotech News

> The FDA has informed Repros Therapeutics (RPRX) that it will need to resolve a number of outstanding issues with its drug Proellex before the clinical hold on the drug can be lifted. Report

> London-based Silence Therapeutics (SLN) confirmed this morning that it is in merger talks with an unidentified company. And Silence, a prominent RNAi developer, says it expects the deal to be handled as a reverse takeover, which would have to be approved by shareholders. Trading in company shares was halted on the brief release. Report

> Sequenom (SQNM) has axed a group of its top executives, including its CEO, after concluding an internal investigation into a scandal revolving around their handling of data on a prenatal test the biotech company was developing. Report

Research News

> Writing in Nature Nanotechnology, researchers at the University of Toronto say they have created a device no bigger than a Blackberry that can analyze and detect cancer biomarkers using only minute quantities of biological samples. Report

> Punam Malik has led a team of researchers at the Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center which has been studying the intricate workings of sickle cell anemia. And after a decade of work, he says that they're readying human trials of a new gene therapy that has the potential to cure the disease, which afflicts up to 100,000 African-Americans in the U.S. Report

> Sirtris Pharmaceuticals took center stage at a conference on aging held at Harvard Medical School last week, offering a detailed look at the drugs it is developing that mimic the activity of resveratrol in extending a person's lifespan and combating disease. Report

> Deverlopers investigating new RNA interference therapies will soon have a new and powerful tool to aid their research work. Report

> Pancreatic cancer has long been known as one of the deadliest and most frustrating cancers to treat--a virtual death sentence for anyone who gets it. Only 13 percent of patients survive a year following diagnosis. Now, in a first, researchers say that they have solid proof that inhibiting the TAK-1 enzyme sensitizes pancreatic cancer cells and leaves them vulnerable to chemotherapy. Report

And Finallly... The inflammatory molecule TNF-alpha may contribute to delayed bone fracture healing in diabetics, research shows. Report