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.)

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