Sandoz names Barr Labs CEO as new U.S. chief; JP Morgan downgrades Biogen on Tysabri;

> Swiss generic pharmaceuticals company Sandoz, a unit of Novartis, named Christine Mundkur to run its U.S. generics operations; previously she was CEO of Barr Laboratories. Report

> JP Morgan cut its rating on Biogen Idec, saying the multiple sclerosis drug Tysabri could continue facing challenges in 2009 while the company lacks any catalysts to drive new revenue; the change sent Biogen stock down 2.2 percent. Report

> Teva Pharmaceutical Industries paid $7 million to settle a suit claiming it charged illegally inflated prices to Massachusetts' Medicaid program. Report

> Pharmalot, the pharma-focused blog, has fallen victim to difficulties at its parent newspaper The Star-Ledger of Newark, but blogger Ed Silverman will be doing his thing for In Vivo and other Elsevier online publications. Report

> Actavis announced that it has acquired the brand name drug Kadian from King Pharmaceuticals for not more than $127.5 million, based on quarterly sales milestones ending June 30, 2010. Report

> AstraZeneca has appointed Dan Evans as government relations and external affairs manager; previously he worked in the political risk department at Royal Bank of Scotland. Report

> Dabur Pharma, an Indian company focused on cancer research and anticancer products, received the requisite shareholder approval for its name change to Fresenius Kabi Oncology. Report

> Astellas Pharma Europe has named Kay Spiller as its new vice-president of marketing; she had been director of urology. Report

> PDL BioPharma and Alexion Pharmaceuticals inked a licensing and settlement agreement to resolve their disputes over Alexion's humanized antibody Soliris, used to treat a rare blood disease. Alexion release

> Merck has contracted with UPS to manage a significant portion of its U.S. pharmaceuticals and vaccines distribution, as well as to provide package transportation services. Merck release

> Companies that make cold pills containing ingredients used to make methamphetamine--including Pfizer, Perrigo, and Johnson & Johnson--cannot be forced to pay the costs of fighting the illegal drug in Arkansas counties, a federal appeals court ruled Monday. Report

> The credit crisis will continue to hit the biotech industry in 2009. Report

> Researchers say they've had plenty of practice with hard times. With the lid firmly on NIH funding, five long years of static cash flow has steadily eaten away at research budgets. Obama's picks for top science advisers, though, may help change that grim trend. Report

> In 2008 the FDA approved 24 applications for new chemical entities. OK, that wasn't great, but it was an improvement. In 2007 the record was a paltry 18. Up is good. But 24 is hardly a turnaround number. Report

> CRO PPD has purchased Merck's Wayne, PA-based vaccine testing site and hired nearly 80 Merck employees to operate the facility. Report

Emerging Drug Developer: Synta Pharmaceuticals

And Finally... Until happiness pills hit the market, we'll have to rely on tips like these. Report