NICE gives MabThera thumbs up for cancer; UCB teams with website on AE reporting;

> The U.K.'s NICE recommended Roche's MabThera for use alongside chemotherapy in patients with chronic lymphocytic leukaemia. Report

> UCB announced a partnership with to launch an epilepsy-focused patient community, and will report adverse events to the FDA through round-the-clock surveillance. Report

> Merck and Schering-Plough are to hold talks with stockholders over their pending merger in August; if approved, the $41.1 billion alliance would form the world's second-largest prescription drug maker. Report

> An FDA advisory committee on Tuesday recommended approval of a drug developed by Savient Pharmaceuticals to treat severe cases of gout. Report

> Schoolchildren could be first in line for swine flu vaccine this fall--and schools are being put on notice that they might even be turned into shot clinics. Report

> U.S. prosecutors indicted Swiss medical device manufacturer Synthes and its U.S. unit Norian Corp with marketing a spinal cement without approval of regulators. Report

> Mylan received FDA approval for its version of Mallinckrodt's Restoril (Temazepam) in a new 22.5 mg strength. Release

Biotech News

> Looking to forge an international reputation in biotechnology, Jerusalem is planning to invest $25 million in the life sciences industry over the next five years. Report

> Celgene got a boost today with the news that its mid-stage study for an experimental arthritis drug delivered positive data for improved symptoms. Report

> Nuvo Research is pocketing a $10 million up-front fee after forging a licensing deal with Covidien covering two topical anti-inflammatories. The developer says it will gain $15 million to $20 million more if the FDA approves Pennsaid, which is scheduled to get a regulatory decision by August 5. And another $100 million in sales milestones is on the table. Report

> Listing liabilities of $88.1 million, Isolagen has become the latest biotech company to file for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection. The developer, which makes anti-wrinkle products, listed no assets in the bankruptcy petition. Report

Pharma Manufacturing News

> If facility plans and openings during a down economy are a harbinger of better days ahead, grab your sunglasses. Several contract manufacturing announcements indicate that production demand is on the rise. Report

> World Trade magazine has unveiled its picks for top drivers of the global supply chain. On this year's list: Cortegra Group's biometric authentication technology, which the magazine says "offers a new level of anti-counterfeiting technology for pharmaceuticals that, itself, cannot be counterfeited." Report

> Millipore has expanded its Massachusetts presence with a manufacturing facility in Danvers. The 30,000-square-foot facility will be used to produce Mobius single-use products for biopharmaceutical manufacturing, including the company's FlexReady products. Report

> Despite the economy, demand for biopharmaceutical contract manufacturing services is expected to grow at 16 percent annually over the next five years, from its estimated 2009 level of $2.6 billion, says consultancy HighTech Business Decisions. Report

> Using its baculovirus and insect cell manufacturing technology, Protein Sciences estimates that it could be delivering H1N1 swine flu vaccine by mid July. That includes quality testing time, the manufacturer says. Report

And Finally... A celebrated finding in modern psychiatry--that a single gene helps determine one's risk of depression--has not held up to scientific scrutiny. Report