Sanofi buys U.S. rights to leukemia pill; U.S. judge derails Pfizer's Trovan settlement;

> Sanofi-Aventis bought the U.S. rights to chronic lymphocytic leukemia treatment Oforta, FDA-approved as a second-line therapy for adults, from the biotech company Antisoma. Release

> A settlement in the Pfizer Trovan case looked so imminent that the governor of Nigeria's Kano state reportedly headed to London to sign it yesterday, but a U.S. judge ordered a hearing into whether the settlement is fair. Report

> Forest Laboratories' antidepressant Lexapro is no longer the leading first-line treatment for major depression, perhaps because of insurers' step-therapy restrictions that require patients to first try the company's Celexa--which is off patent and available as a generic --before being reimbursed for Lexapro, Decision Resources found. Release

> Roche announced it would donate another $5.65 million treatment courses of Tamiflu to the World Health Organization, replenishing WHO's regional stockpile and the rapid-response stockpile, and creating a new pediatric stockpile. Release

> A new $60 million manufacturing suite is operational at the South Carolina plant where Roche makes APIs for some of its leading products, including for its antiflu drug Tamiflu (oseltamivir). Report

> Japan's Takeda Pharmaceuticals has set up another independent sales and marketing operation in Europe, this time in Portugal. Report

> Sanofi-Aventis has expanded its collaboration with Pilgrims to include its Dagenham, U.K. facility, which will now be guarded by the security services company. Report

> Roche has inked a $50.4 million deal to use Tekmira Pharmaceuticals' technology to advance its two leading RNAi candidates into the clinic. Report

> A late-stage trial involving more than 18,000 patients has delivered new data that demonstrates AstraZeneca's experimental heart drug Brilinta is more effective than the blockbuster Plavix. Report

> The University of Miami has inked a deal to kick-start a new life science park with the construction of 211,000 square feet of new space for established and spin-out companies looking to work closely with its scientists. Report

> Following the FDA rejection of its blood substitute PolyHeme, Northfield Labs said late Friday that it is laying off all its staff and shutting down. Report

> In the next fiscal year beginning Oct. 1, the Obama administration is proposing to spend $147.6 billion on R&D, $555 million higher than the current year. And that money would be supplemented with $20 billion in stimulus spending budgeted between now and the end of 2010. Report

> Can serious genetics research be undertaken in a garage? That's a question that renowned Harvard geneticist George Church, the founder of Knome, is asking as one of his former students undertakes an ambitious genetics project in her own apartment. Report

And Finally... Scientists have now found a genetic marker linked to the risk of acetaminophen-induced liver injury, using a strategy that could help develop safer drugs in the future. Release