Novartis to pay $115M for Nektar unit; Wisconsin docs ban pharma gifts

> Novartis said Tuesday it will buy the pulmonary drug unit of California-based Nektar Therapeutics for $115 million, with the deal targeted for closure by year's end. Release

> Teva Pharmaceutical Industries got the FDA nod for its version of the fentanyl patch in four strengths; it's the generic form of Ortho McNeil's painkiller Duragesic. Teva release

> The 18,000-member Wisconsin Medical Society has joined a growing number of academic medical centers, professional societies, and legislators that have decided gifts from the pharmaceutical industry are questionable, if not unacceptable forms of influence. Report

> Biogen Idec posted third-quarter sales of $1.09 billion, up 38 percent from $789 million during the same quarter last year; sales of its Tysabri multiple sclerosis and Crohn's disease treatment grew a whopping 172 percent to $171 million. Biogen release

> Dutch biopharma company Crucell announced that it would relocate its Korean production facility, where its pentavalent children's vaccine Quinvaxem and a hepatitis B vaccine Hepavax-Gene are produced, from the Shingal site in Yongin City, Korea, to the Incheon Free Economic Zone. Report

> France-based specialty pharmaceutical company Ipsen has completed acquisition of Tercica, a biopharmaceutical company developing and marketing a portfolio of endocrine products. Ipsen release

> Booz & Co. has crunched the numbers on the 1,000 largest public R&D spenders and concluded that the U.S. still is way out in front among all the countries of the world for research. But the analysis also notes that while India and China are still relatively small players on the R&D front, they're growing fast. Report

> Armed with slightly more than $11 million in grant money, three Chicago-area universities are joining forces to create state-of-the-art chemical libraries that can be used to identify new drug compounds. Report

And Finally... Researchers believe a shortage of a specific naturally-occurring bacterium could trigger Crohn's disease by over-stimulating the immune system. Report