PhRMA releases voluntary guidelines; Industry vet leaves Sanofi-Aventis;

> Whistleblower lawsuits against big pharma and biotech companies might be under fire, as the U.S. Supreme Court considers a case that could result in new limits on the suits. Report

> An FDA panel voted unanimously in recommendation of a reformulated, single-dose version of Synvisc, Genzyme's injection aimed at reducing knee pain. Report

> Bristol-Myers Squibb launched its first U.S. TV ad in Mandarin, focusing on hepatitis B awareness in the Chinese community. Report

> PhRMA has released its list of voluntary guidelines; drugmakers that agree to follow them must have their CEO and chief compliance officer sign a certification. Report

> Massachussets will limit certain types of payments to physicians, making it one of the strictest states in the country for big pharma gift giving, which lawmakers will vote on in February. Report

> GlaxoSmithKline has announced that it extended a tender offer to purchase all outstanding shares of Genelabs Technologies for $1.30 cash per share without interest. Release

> Sanofi-Aventis announced that its top legal and financial manager, Jean-Claude Leroy, has left after 23 years with the company, just after Chris Viehbacher put on his CEO hat. Report

> The Indian Network for People Living with HIV/AIDS and Tamil Nadu Networking People with HIV/AIDS challenged the decision to grant a patent without hearing opposition filings and have had a Roche patent revoked in India as a result. Report

> Ed Silverman has made a nifty list of layoffs at Pharmalot, noting that the list doesn't include jobs lost as collateral damage at firms that support big pharma, as well as vendors and consultants. Report

> Slightly more than one out of every four patients taking an experimental blood cancer drug developed by Allos Therapeutics experienced a complete or partial response in a pivotal Phase II clinical trial. But that wasn't enough to satisfy investors. Report

> With its bottom line weakening and generic competition growing, Merck says it will create a new unit to develop biotech drugs. Merck BioVentures will not only develop novel therapies but also target follow-on biologics, successors to existing biotech drugs. Report

> New York-based XTL Biopharmaceuticals won't be able to recover from the failure of its diabetic neuropathic pain drug bicifadine. XLT announced that it is laying off nine employees, or 75 percent of its workforce. Report

> Targacept and partner AstraZeneca said today that they will not pursue further development of AZD3480 for cognitive dysfunction in schizophrenia patients after the drug failed a mid-stage trial. Report

> India's government wants to make sure biopharma companies will have everything they need as they shift certain operations overseas. At the inauguration of a park in Lucknow, Minister of Science and Technology Kapil Sibal has announced a plan to build 20 more biotech parks throughout the country. Report

> Tough financial times in the research field demand some outside-the-box thinking. For REGiMMUNE, it also helped to have some outside-the-U.S. connections. Report

> Xconomy's Luke Timmerman tracked down Stefan Kappe, a scientist at the Seattle Biomedical Research Institute, to discuss his quest to find a vaccine that is 90 percent effective against malaria. Report

> A new study in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences says that stem cells taken from a region of the brain could be transplanted into the ear and used to repair a common form of damage that leads to hearing loss in the elderly. Report

And Finally... Imagine this: The FDA isn't impressed with Imagify, Acusphere's imaging drug aimed at helping clinicians spot cardiac blood flow problem, saying that safety risks make it inappropriate for such use. The contrasting agent should clinicians visualize the heart, but studies thus far have shown that it can lead to acute inflammation and reduce blood pressure too much. Likewise, 17 patients who received the drug has significant enough problem with it that they had to stop using it, permanently. Report