Morgan Stanley eats its words on Lantus; Watson CFO takes health-related leave;

> Sanofi-Aventis stock was raised to "overweight" from "equal-weight" at Morgan Stanley, which said that its concern about lost sales of the diabetes drug Lantus was unfounded. Report

> Watson Pharmaceuticals announced that CFO Mark W. Durand has taken a leave of absence for health reasons; R. Todd Joyce, a VP and corporate controller, will take on Durand's duties. Watson release

> Teva Pharmaceutical Industries said second-quarter profit rose 25 percent on revenue from its top-selling multiple sclerosis drug Copaxone and savings from the acquisition of Barr Pharmaceuticals. Report

> Sanofi-Aventis set a higher-than-expected price for its Multaq heart drug, a move which some analysts said could boost sales forecasts for the potential blockbuster product. Report

> Human Genome Sciences, whose stock more than tripled last week, plans to sell more shares to the public to fund clinical trials and make potential acquisitions. Report

> Medtronic agreed to pay rival Abbott Laboratories $400 million as part of a legal settlement on stents and stent-delivery systems. Report

Biotech News

> Waltham, MA-based Avila Therapeutics unveiled two major announcements today. First, the developer has closed a $30 million Series B round of funding--enough money to move the company's lead drug into clinical trials and support its activities through mid to late 2011. Report

> Speculation on as yet unreleased data from a late stage trial of Acadia Pharmaceuticals' experimental drug for Parkinson's disease psychosis has fueled unexpectedly heavy activity among investors. Report

> Following rumors that it had dropped out of the race for vaccine maker Shantha Biotechnics, Sanofi-Aventis announced that it will pay €550 million ($784 million) for the Indian company. Sanofi's vaccine division Sanofi-Pasteur, will acquire ShanH, French subsidiary of Merieux Alliance, which holds a majority stake in Hyderabad-based Shantha. Report

Research News

> In an unprecedented laboratory feat, Chinese researchers have taken adult stem cells from mice and used them to breed new mice, a breakthrough that's being heralded as a fresh sign that the days of using fetal stem cells in research and the clinic is nearing an end. Report

> In an advancement could have profound consequences for labs engaged in cell engineering, a research team working in the lab of Harvard Professor George Church has created a new cell programming method dubbed Multiplex Automated Genome Engineering that gave them the ability to simultaneously 'edit' multiple genes. Report

> Determined to head off a swine flu pandemic that is once again inspiring widespread fear, the European Medicines Agency has cleared a fast track for the development of a new vaccine, doing away with the need for large-scale human trials. Report

And Finally... People with type 1 diabetes who aggressively control their blood sugar early in the disease can cut their long-term risk of serious complications in half, researchers said. Report