In overseas push, FDA opens Costa Rica office; U.S. flu strain broadly resistant to Tamiflu;

> A year after announcing plans to open offices overseas--part of the "Beyond Our Borders Initiative"--the FDA has a site in Brussels, three offices in China and has now officially opened its doors in San José, Costa Rica. Report

> Virtually all the dominant strain of flu in the United States this season is resistant to the leading antiviral drug Tamiflu, and scientists and health officials are trying to figure out why. Report

> Eye care company Alcon--in which Novartis made a big investment last year--announced its CEO Cary Rayment would retire in March, and SVP Kevin Buehler will take the reins. Report

> Teva Pharmaceutical Industries is seen as the most likely buyer of drugmaker Ratiopharm, the crown jewel of the Merckle family's business empire which it has agreed to sell under pressure from its banks, an Israeli newspaper reports. Report

> Japan's Daiichi Sankyo has set up a new subsidiary in Puerto Rico, under the direction of pharma marketer Jose Vazquez and based in San Juan. Report

> MiddleBrook Pharmaceuticals, a developer of anti-infective drug products, said it would launch Moxatag tablets, a once-daily amoxicillin drug, on March 16. Report

> Victory Pharma, a privately held specialty pharmaceutical company, announced that it is launching two additional dosage strengths of Naprelan, a controlled release naproxen sodium product. Release

> Adhezion Biomedical, a medical device company, has announced that the FDA has provided marketing clearance for its SurgiSeal topical skin adhesive. Report

> While the FDA has quickened review and approval of new medicines, the complex nature of diseases for which new therapeutics are being developed has resulted in longer clinical development times, according to the Tufts Center for the Study of Drug Development. Report

> Despite all the talk drug developers conducting trials overseas has garnered, just 212 trials--two percent of the worldwide total--were being conducted in India in 2007, according to research group RNCOS. However, as more companies look to conduct low-cost clinical trials in India, that number is expected to surge to 5 percent by 2012. Report

> Plexxikon has nailed a $335 million development and commercialization pact with Roche, garnering $60 million of that in an upfront fee. Report

> Shares of the vaccine-maker Crucell soared 35 percent this morning on the news that it is in merger talks with Wyeth. Terms of the deal haven't been disclosed, but several reports indicate that Wyeth is valuing Crucell at more than $1.35 billion. Report

> Satori Pharmaceuticals has raised $22 million to advance new drugs designed to stop Alzheimer's at an early stage. Report

> Singapore's S*Bio has inked a $550 million licensing deal with Onyx Pharmaceuticals covering the development and commercialization of its JAK2 inhibitors, SB1518 and SB1578. S*Bio gets $25 million of that in upfront fees and an equity payment. Report

> Equipment upgrades at Merck's West Point, PA-based vaccine plant will cause shortages of its hepatitis B vaccine Recombivax HB for adults. Report

And Finally... A combination of drugs could trick the body into sending its repair mechanisms into overdrive, to speed healing of heart or bone damage, U.K. scientists have found. Report

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