Private equity firm boosts Nitromed offer; Questcor to double sales force

> Nitromed, maker of heart-failure drug BiDil, said it received a letter from private equity investor Deerfield Management increasing the firm's unsolicited buyout offer to 0.65 cents per share in cash from 0.50 per share. Release

> Questcor Pharmaceuticals is doubling its sales force to 30 reps to build on growth in prescriptions of its H.P Acthar Gel for the treatment of exacerbations associated with multiple sclerosis. Release

> Wyeth said that Turkey has initiated a national immunization program against pneumococcal disease with Prevenar, a childhood vaccine against seven serotypes causing the majority of pneumococcal disease. Report

> Celgene expects sales of its cancer drug Revlimid to drive revenue in 2009, but the company predicted full-year profit well below Wall Street forecasts. Report

> Cubist Pharmaceuticals said fourth-quarter sales of its antibiotic Cubicin rose 43 percent, but that fell shy of Wall Street expectations. Report

> The last European plant manufacturing paracetamol closed for the final time at the turn of the year, another sign that manufacturing of active pharmaceutical ingredients may be shifting away from Europe. Report

> Pharmatech Associates launched a new division to provide specialized equipment training and project engineering services for solid dose manufacturers in the pharmaceutical industry. Release

> Teva U.K. has selected Redprairie's Warehouse Management and Workforce Management IT solutions to help boost efficiency and improve customer service. Report

> Forma revealed that it had done a deal with Novartis, agreeing to use its chemistry platform to develop inhibitors for an undisclosed protein-protein interaction target in oncology. Report

> GlaxoSmithKline has inked a discovery deal with the UK's Biotica, making an undisclosed equity investment and committing up to $130 million in milestone payments for each new drug discovered in the collaboration. Report

> The FDA does next to nothing to explore potential conflicts of interest among the providers involved in clinical trials and believes that protecting patients from such conflicts doesn't warrant the effort. Report

> Santaris Pharma's drug development technology has won over Wyeth. The two have formed a collaboration aimed at developing new RNA-based therapeutics. Report

> Tarrytown, NY-based EpiCept has joined the growing ranks of biotech companies that have run smack into the brick wall of an economic downturn. Report

> The Wall Street Journal analyzes the thinking behind Illumina's deal to acquire a stake in the UK's Oxford Nanopore Technologies. Report

> Can the research community make a case that increased research spending should become part of the upcoming stimulus legislation? The Massachusetts Life Sciences Collaborative thinks so. Report

And Finally... Pharmaceutical love potions and anti-love vaccines? A neuroscientist says both could be in the offing. Report