Ratiopharm on block after Merckle's death; FDA's $1.5M rah-rah riles Congress;

> The family of Adolf Merckle, the German billionaire who committed suicide this week after his business empire cratered during the global financial crisis, plans to sell off generics maker Ratiopharm to generate cash. Report

> Preparing for hearings with HHS nominee Tom Daschle, lawmakers are fuming about a $1.5 million consulting contract the FDA awarded for morale-boosting. Report

> The European Commission gave the nod to Teva Pharmaceutical Industries' proposed merger with Barr Pharmaceuticals, provided Teva divests 15 cancer drugs in several countries, including Hungary and Poland. Report

> Valeant Pharmaceuticals appointed Rajiv Silva as its new chief operating officer of specialty pharmaceuticals; Silva had been president of Novartis USA's vaccine ops. Report

> India's Aurobindo Pharma got Health Canada's nod for its version of Pfizer's epilepsy drug Neurontin. Report

> Bayer Schering Pharma submitted its drug Visanne for the treatment of endometriosis for registration to all member states of the European Community. Release

> A federal judge has dismissed scores of lawsuits that followed Medtronic's recall of its Sprint Fidelis leads, which connect to implantable defibrillators. Report

> A California-based subsidiary of Mylan will pay Mississippi $3.9 million in a settlement of a 2005 lawsuit claiming it inflated prescription drug prices and overcharged the state's Medicaid program. Report

> BioMarin Pharmaceuticals is betting that the third late-stage trial will be the charm for Riquent, La Jolla Pharmaceutical's experimental therapy for lupus. Report

> Switzerland's Synosia Therapeutics has garnered $29 million in a Series B, much of which will be spent on four experimental therapies in Phase II trials. Report

> San Diego-based Sangart is restructuring, triggering a "significant reduction in work force" as it names four new additions to its executive staff. Report

> The field of transgenics--developing therapies in genetically engineered animals--just got a big boost from staffers at the FDA. Regulators said that Framingham, MA-based GTC BioTherapeutics's drug ATryn, an anti-clotting treatment produced in goats, appeared to be safe and effective. Report

> Emergent BioSolutions is walking away from its troubled attempt to finish a merger deal with Protein Sciences, saying the $78 million acquisition is "no longer practical." Report

> GlaxoSmithKline unveiled a $300 million vaccine manufacturing facility it's developing in Pennsylvania as it gears up for a major push into the U.S. market. Report

> The CRO PPD has broadened its ties with Merck after completing a vaccine testing deal that includes buying the pharma company's 130,000-square foot plant in the suburbs of Philadelphia. Report

> An expansive Wyeth is in talks to acquire vaccine maker Crucell--one of the last of the big independent vaccine makers--in a deal that the Wall Street Journal reports could value the Dutch company at more than $1.35 billion. Crucell confirmed that talks are ongoing, but declined to divulge any details. Report

> Bioengineer Fiorenzo Omenetto at Tufts University is using silkworm cocoons to develop new biosensors that can be inserted into patients and used as a tracking device to monitor a person's post-surgical progress or a chronic disease like diabetes. Report

And Finally... Parkinson's sufferers who had electrodes implanted in their brains improved substantially more than those who took only medicine, according to the biggest test yet of deep brain stimulation. Report