Number of scrips declines from 2007; Celgene posts 251% hike in profits;

> Through August of this year, the number of all prescriptions dispensed in the United States was lower than in the first eight months of last year, according to a recent analysis of data from IMS Health. Report

> GlaxoSmithKline has put down €22.5 million and promised up to 430 million euros more to license the rights to two early-stage Alzheimer's disease vaccines from Austria's AFFiRiS. Glaxo picks up exclusive rights to two vaccines in Phase I testing and an option on preclinical candidates. Report

> Merck is positioning itself to become the largest vaccine player in the Indian market by 2013. And it's concentrating on rolling out vaccines for cancer, rotavirus and shingles as soon as they become available. Report

> Celgene's third-quarter profit rose 251 percent to $136.8 million on gains made through an acquisition and higher sales of its cancer drugs. Report

> ImClone Systems and Bristol-Myers Squibb announced the publication of research showing that their cancer drug Erbitux works better in colon cancer patients with "normal" K-ras tumors than in those with a mutated K-ras gene. Report

> Congressional investigators said it would take U.S. inspectors 13 years to visit each of 3,249 foreign manufacturing plants that make medications for the American market. Report

> The drug industry has spent $13 million in the past five weeks to buy TV ads praising lawmakers who voted to expand SCHIP, the government-backed health insurance program for kids. Report

> U.S. public health officials have taken delivery of the first batch of a Novartis vaccine against a deadly strain of bird flu. Report

> Interestingly, analysts are telling the Wall Street Journal that biotech stocks--generally considered the high-risk plays of earlier days--have become a safe haven in a stormy market. While the Dow is down 30 percent, the Dow Jones Wilshire U.S. Biotechnology Index has fallen only about 1 percent. Report

> A group of scientists has launched a new biotech  to advance Alzheimer's treatments. Archer Pharmaceuticals is basing its work on the research that their team has been conducting at the Roskamp Institute in Florida for the past five years. Two compounds--including ARC029 and ARC031--are ready to go into the clinic, they say, and there are more preclinical compounds in the pipeline. Report

> The British start-up Apitope, which is working on peptide-based therapies for autoimmune diseases and allergies, is pulling up stakes and moving as it follows the money to Belgium. Investors put together €10 million for the developer. Report

> Here's one more sign that China is growing as an R&D hub for biopharma. France's Sanofi-Aventis announced it will expand its research and development functionality in Shanghai, China. Report

And Finally... A monoclonal antibody used to treat leukemia has shown early promise as a multiple sclerosis remedy, researchers said. Report