Sanofi wins approval to buy Merck's animal health venture; FDA cancer chief a lightning rod for patients, developers;

> Sanofi-Aventis won European Union approval to buy Merck's half of their Merial animal-health venture for $4 billion. Article

> By any standard, Dr. Richard Pazdur's job as head of the FDA's cancer drug office involves a delicate balancing act. He is credited with setting a high standard for new oncology therapies. But he's often vilified as an obstructionist by the people who are denied access to new drugs that don't pass muster. Profile

> Sun Pharmaceutical Industries, which is in a battle to take over Israeli company Taro Pharma, said it received clearance from U.S. Anti-Trust authorities for its open offer to acquire additional shares of Taro. Release

> Caraco Pharmaceutical said that its Board has appointed F. Folsom Bell to fill the vacancy left by John Crissman. Crissman decided not to stand for re-election at the 2009 shareholder meeting. Release

Biotech News

> In a fresh sign that biotech IPOs have begun a long-awaited revival, Anthera Pharmaceuticals has filed to sell $70 million of shares in a new initial public offering. Report

> A little more than a month after clinical trials began, the FDA has approved H1N1 vaccines from four big manufacturers as it races to launch a national vaccination campaign in mid-October. Report

> Savient Pharmaceuticals says it's on track to resubmit its closely-watched gout drug for FDA marketing approval by the early part of 2010 after the FDA made it clear in a recent meeting that the developer will not need to mount any new clinical trials. Report

> Shares of Keryx Biopharmaceuticals zoomed up to a 52-week high this morning after the developer announced that the FDA had extended orphan drug status to its late-stage cancer drug KRX-0401. Report

Manufacturing News

> In a good news/bad news scenario, Massachusetts is getting the bad news first: AstraZeneca will be cutting 113 jobs at its manufacturing plant in Westborough, about 30 miles west of Boston. Report

> Millipore and the newly formed Roka Bioscience say they are jointly developing molecular assays and portable instruments for biopharmaceutical production. Roka is a spinoff of Gen-Probe. Article

> Brand security is the target of a three-way collaboration including serialization and authentication service provider PHARMORX, label maker MSO Group, and ink provider Sun Chemical. Item

And Finally... An imminent skills shortage has spurred U.K. drug makers to form a national academy to aid in the development of manufacturing professionals. Report