Merck weighs $8B bridge loan to finance Cubist deal; NICE recommends Pfizer's kidney cancer drug after price discount;

@FiercePharma: New chief picks team to fuse Actavis with Allergan. Article | Follow @FiercePharma

@EricPFierce: ICYMI: Third round of cuts slated for Novartis US Diovan plant. Total reaches 133 with 394 more gone by 2016. Story | Follow @EricPFierce

@CarlyHFierce: ICYMI yesterday: Baxter backs away from vaccines with Vero tech sale to Nanotherapeutics. More | Follow @CarlyHFierce

> Merck ($MRK) is considering using an $8 billion, 364-day bridge loan to finance its acquisition of Cubist Pharmaceuticals ($CBST). Story

> U.K. cost watchdog NICE is recommending Pfizer's ($PFE) kidney cancer treatment, Inlyta, after the company agreed to offer a price discount. More

> Hungarian drugmaker Richter is facing significant Q4 losses due in part to the declining value of the Russian rouble. Story

> Valeant Pharmaceuticals ($VRX) has set the date to unveil its forecast for 2015 sales. More

> Sucampo ($SCMP) appointed John Johnson to its board of directors. More

Medical Device News

@FierceMedDev: ICYMI yesterday: FDA clears laser-based comb to combat hair loss. Article | Follow @FierceMedDev

@StacyALawrence: GE-backed InSightec gets $59M for noninvasive surgical tool, adds ex-Mako CEO to board. More | Follow @StacyALawrence

@EmilyWFierce: Power morcellator fallout illustrates major flaw in FDA's device regulation. WSJ story | Follow @EmilyWFierce

> Fresenius adds blood purification tech to its dialysis offerings via partnership. Article

> FDA took a back seat in morcellator regulation, researchers say. Report

Biotech News

@FierceBiotech: Cyclacel's cancer drug isn't working in Phase III, but that won't stop the trial. Story | Follow @FierceBiotech

@JohnCFierce: Top Monday story: UPDATED: Onyx vet Tony Coles embarks on a new biotech adventure. More | Follow @JohnCFierce

@DamianFierce: Scathing new ad for tightening regs on private equity. Story | Follow @DamianFierce

> Novartis wins an FDA nod for a long-acting spin on its rare disease drug. Report

> J&J punts a pair of new IBD drugs discovered at Galapagos. News

> Billionaire Soon-Shiong dives into immuno-oncology with $20M Sorrento venture. Article

Pharma Manufacturing News

> Biocon to build new plant in Vizag, India. Report

> Industry Voices: The future of pharma manufacturing--new disruptive technologies that can impact whole industry structures. More

> Baxter has yet another recall of sodium chloride. News

> Teva continues to whittle down manufacturing network. Story

> Avid Bioservices doubling capacity at its California facility. Article

Biotech Research News

> Scientists look to a pathway in the gut to fix fatty liver disease. Piece

> Repurposed fibroblasts may open the door to new melanoma drugs, screening tech. More

> Investigators hit on a new class of stem cells. Item

> Joslin investigators urge cosmetics groups to get into anti-aging R&D. Article

> NIH's children's health study ends as a $1.2B disaster. Story

And Finally… UnitedHealthcare is testing a flat rate model for a year of cancer treatment at Houston, TX-based MD Anderson Cancer Center. Story (sub. req.)

Suggested Articles

Stephen Hahn, an oncologist who served as the chief medical officer for the MD Anderson Cancer Center, has secured Senate confirmation as FDA head.

As BMS searches for bright spots in its Opdivo-chemo combo fail from June, it’s zeroing in on squamous lung cancer patients who seemed to benefit.

The FDA's ad watchdog served its most serious violation to Alkermes Wednesday—and it took the unusual step of announcing that violation to the world.