PPF gets out of Sanofi's way; Amgen to cut 150 in outsourcing move;

> PPF Group has withdrawn its opposition to Sanofi-Aventis' buyout of the Czech generics firm Zentiva, clearing the way for the deal to go through. Report

> Amgen is contracting out its facilities management at 11 North American sites, eliminating about 150 jobs in the process. Report

> OSI Pharmaceuticals plans to defend its cancer drug Tarceva against an effort by generic drugmaker Teva Pharmaceutical to launch a low-cost version. Report

> Johnson & Johnson said Tuesday that the FDA has delayed a decision on a new, bipolar-disorder indication for its long-acting schizophrenia drug Risperdal Consta. Report

> Meanwhile, men are finally going to be able to get Johnson & Johnson's premature ejaculation drug dapoxetine -- at least in Sweden and Finland. Report

> Par Pharmaceutical has been ordered to pay nearly $70 million dollars over a contract dispute with Pentech Pharmaceuticals. Report

> Reckitt Benckiserplans to concentrate on reducing rising debt this year after its net profits rallied in 2008. Report

> Weak sales in Russian and Ukraine put a drag on Richter Gedeon's operating profits, despite booming sales in the U.S. Report

> AstraZeneca has obtained for a global license for preclinical antidepressant compounds developed by collaborators Virginia Tech and Mayo Clinic. Report

> ViroPharma's stock plunged almost 50 percent on the news that its drug maribavir did not achieve the primary endpoint of a Phase III trial. Report

> Xoma will receive a $29 million payment following Takeda's decision to expand the companies' existing antibody collaboration. Xoma will provide Takeda with access to multiple antibody technologies, including a suite of R&D technologies and integrated information and data management systems. Report

> San Diego-based Mpex Pharmaceuticals says it has raised $27.5 million to get its aerosol antibiotic formulation through mid-stage testing. And the developer says that additional commitments from its venture backers could raise the Series D to $40 million. Report

> Charles River Laboratories said it is streamlining operations and implementing efforts to become leaner and more efficient as the economic recession takes its toll on the contract research organization. This restructuring includes a 3 percent company-wide workforce reduction, the majority of which will be in the preclinical services unit. Report

> At the Phacilitate Vaccines Forum, FierceBiotech sat down with representatives from ERA Consulting, a U.K.-based firm that advises companies on their regulatory strategy. Representatives shared with us the secrets to successfully navigating the regulatory process. In these tough economic times, a clear regulatory strategy can add value and help avoid irreversible mistakes. Special report

And Finally... Exploring a striking similarity between heart disease and Duchenne muscular dystrophy, researchers at Columbia University discovered that a new class of experimental drugs for heart failure may also help treat the fatal muscular disorder. Release

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