Novo plots head-to-head Levemir test; ProStrakan shuffles finance leadership;

> Novo Nordisk initiated a new clinical trial of its once-daily diabetes remedy Levemir against insulin glargine, with enrollment of 430 patients internationally. Report

> ProStrakan said it had hired a new finance director, Allan Watson, to replace Paul Garvey, who is stepping down after a period of ill health. Report

> FDA Commissioner Margaret Hamburg told a Congressional committee that a food safety overhaul sponsored by several leading Democrats was "a major step in the right direction," but that her agency would need more money to carry it out. Report

> The FDA warned doctors about the risks of serious liver injury seen with propylthiouracil (PTU), a drug used to treat overactive thyroid glands or Graves' disease. Report

> A doctor who was involved in early clinical studies of prasugrel, an anticlotting drug being developed by Eli Lilly and Daiichi Sankyo, said the FDA should require the companies to conduct additional studies of a lower dose. Report

> Amerisource Bergen said J. Lawrence Wilson has retired from its board of directors, effective immediately; the company plans a search for a replacement. Release

> GlaxoSmithKline Consumer Healthcare hired new ad agencies for several global brands, with Omnicom Group's TBWA winning weight loss and smoking cessation products, and Grey nabbing the accounts for Tums, Citrucel and FiberChoice. Report 

Biotech News

> Adolor plans to cut 45 jobs, or 28 percent of its workforce, and shift its focus to its approved constipation drug Entereg and its late-stage products. Report

> Anxious to create a more innovative environment to develop new drugs, GlaxoSmithKline CEO Andrew Witty says the pharma giant is exploring ways to link its research facilities around the world to start-up biotech companies that can collaborate on new products. Report

> The UK's Silence Therapeutics has won regulatory approval to begin an early-stage human trial that will for the first time test the infusion of one of its gene silencing therapies directly to the site of the illness. Report

> There's fresh evidence that the rumors of merger talks between Bristol-Myers Squibb and Irish drug developer Elan Pharmaceuticals were greatly exaggerated. Reuters reported yesterday afternoon that the two companies never got past initial strategic discussions last month. Report

Vaccine News

> A team of U.S. and Canadian scientists made an unexpected discovery that could enable vaccine makers to significantly improve the effectiveness of currently approved vaccines. Report

> Shares of Antigenics surged for three straight days this week after researchers released new data backing its kidney cancer vaccine Oncophage. Report

> GlaxoSmithKline is pushing forward with the final stages of pre-approval development of its malaria vaccine candidate Mosquirix. Scientists began injecting 1,200 infants and children involved in its Phase III trial with the experimental jab last week. Report

And Finally... World Health Organization Director-General Margaret Chan is wrestling with a thorny dilemma: How do you declare a phase 6 pandemic--the first warning in 41 years that a flu virus is entrenched in different continents and spreading from person to person--without causing a global panic?

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