Piramal denies talks of sale; Sandoz launches Skelaxin

 @FiercePharma: Pharma execs expect fines, M&A and easier credit. Article | Follow @FiercePharma

> Management at Piramal Healthcare has once again denied rumors that it will sell off a sizeable chunk of the Indian drugmaker's stock amid reports that talks have been held with Pfizer and Sanofi-Aventis. Article

> Sandoz today announced the launch in the U.S. of the first generic version of metaxalone tablets, a generic equivalent of Skelaxin, enjoying 180-day ANDA exclusivity. Metaxalone is a leading muscle relaxant used to treat acute skeletal muscle conditions, such as lower back spasms caused by injury, in combination with rest and physical therapy. Release

> The policy document published Thursday by Britain's new coalition government aims to revamp the country's controversial National Institute of Clinical Excellence, which rations access to healthcare services based on cost-effectiveness. Story

> The acquisition of OSI Pharmaceuticals Inc. by Astellas Pharma Inc. indicates the realignment of the drug industry may accelerate out of concern that profits will fall sharply as several patents expire this year. Story

> A.P. Pharma said Thursday it received a delist warning from Nasdaq because its stock has fallen below $1 for 30 consecutive trading days. Item

> The jury's decision on Monday that Novartis Pharmaceuticals was guilty of sex discrimination does not bode well for Walmart. Report

> GW Pharmaceuticals expects its groundbreaking--but much delayed--cannabis-based medicine for multiple sclerosis to be approved in Britain before the end of June. Report

> The pharmaceutical industry lobby spent $7 million in the first quarter as it lobbied the federal government on issues that included regulation of generic versions of biotech drugs, according to a recent federal filing. Report

Biotech News

 @FierceBiotech: Roche, Biogen shutter blockbuster ocrelizumab arthritis program. Article | Follow @FierceBiotech

 @JohnCFierce: NicOx is trying to make it look like naproxcinod has a good future. It isn't working. Article  | Follow @FierceBiotech

> Santhera investors bail after lead drug fails PhIII. News

> Big Pharma firms back $43M round for NeuroTherapeutics. Story

> Eli Lilly backs $250M biotech fund for Asia-Pacific. Article

> State universities help build new cancer R&D complex in Texas. Item

 Vaccines News

> Studies show need for TB research. News

> Scientists: Smallpox vaccine slowed spread of HIV. Story

> Study: Suspicion will greet any new pandemic vax. Report

> Personalized brain cancer vax tested in humans. Article

Manufacturing News

> India helps pharmas compete for WHO contracts. Report

> FDA looks for transparency options. Item

> DoD funds Biovest, pushing vax-making tech. News

> UNICEF yanks Sanofi vax, calls in Crucell. Story

> Supply chain change coming; RFID questions remain. Article

And Finally... The University of California, Berkeley, will ask many of its new freshman students to send in a cotton swab DNA sample this fall. About 5,500 students entering Cal's College of Letters and Science--that college makes up about 75 percent of undergraduate students--as freshmen or transfers will be asked to send in a swab for a study of "personalized medicine." Cal hopes to analyze the samples and use them to teach the students about their ability to metabolize alcohol, folate or lactose and to help change the way they eat. Report