Pharma giants forge pioneering cancer collaboration; Pharma expands marketing strategy with IPhone apps;

> AstraZeneca and Merck are teaming up for an unusual, early-stage clinical program that combines two experimental cancer therapies. Report

> Not only is pharma venturing into new web marketing territory, but companies are now adding IPhone apps to their marketing strategies. Report

> Salix Pharmaceuticals says it has received positive data from its Phase III pivotal clinical trial evaluating the efficacy, safety and tolerability of rifaximin--a non-absorbed, gut selective antibiotic--in adult patients with hepatic encephalopathy. Salix release

> With no white knight appearing from stage left with a buyout offer, the board at TorreyPines Therapeutics has decided to call it quits and join the ranks of the liquidated. Report

> Blood plasma company CSL says it's prepared to fight the Federal Trade Commission's decision to block its $3.1 billion acquisition of rival Talecris Biotherapeutics, the Sydney Morning Herald reports. Report

> Catalyst Pharmaceutical Partners says its lead drug candidate CPP-109, a treatment for cocaine addiction, failed to meet its primary endpoint in a mid-stage trial. Report

> India's Economic Times is reporting that GlaxoSmithKline is nearing a deal to purchase India's Shantha Biotech. Sanofi-Aventis, which was also said to be eyeing the company, has dropped out of the running, according to two sources close to the matter. The company was not interested enough in Shantha's product portfolio to continue negotiations. Report

> Still trying to preserve cash, A.P. Pharma announced that it is once again cutting about a third of its staff. Back in November, the Redwood City, CA-based developer axed a third of its workforce, or 18 people. This time around A.P. is reducing its headcount by 34 percent--11 people. Report

> Massachusetts-based Celldex Therapeutics is paying $94.5 million to acquire CuraGen. Celldex gains CuraGen's portfolio of 11 oncology-focused antibodies. Report

> Newly-formed Oncoceutics, a Pennsylvania-based oncology company, announced its launch today. The start-up's lead initiative is the development of a drug compound using technology developed from research conducted by Wafik El-Deiry, a physician-scientist at the University of Pennsylvania, to restore tumor suppressor pathway signaling in tumors with a primary focus on mutant p53 proteins. Report

Op-ed: There's a saying that generals are always "fighting the last war," applying tactics from previous engagements whether or not they fit the current situation. For many life sciences professionals charged with providing accurate estimates of clinical trial costs and resources, the last war is the heavy reliance on the traditional cost benchmarking methodology for study forecasting and budgeting. Article

And Finally... Healthcare IT company Cerner Corp. has found a good use for the billions of anonymous patient records it has accumulated: marketing the information to biotech and pharmaceutical researchers. Report

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