Senate passes landmark healthcare reform bill; FDA warns Ranbaxy unit on manufacturing plant;

> The U.S. Senate passed its version of healthcare reform at around 7 a.m. Thursday, clearing the way for difficult negotiations with the House. Report

> India's Ranbaxy Laboratories said its U.S. unit Ohm Laboratories received an FDA warning letter on violations of good manufacturing practices at a plant in Gloversville, N.Y. Report

> Former HHS Secretary Tommy G. Thompson was appointed to the board of Silver Spring-based United Therapeutics. Thompson, who also once served as governor of Wisconsin, will fill a newly created seat on the board when his appointment begins Jan. 1. Story

> Sanofi-Aventis' $1.9 billion bid for Chattem announced earlier this week was leaked in advance to two French investors who made $4.2 million making illegal insider trades, U.S. regulators claimed in a lawsuit. Report

> Sun Pharmaceutical Industries has announced that RiskMetrics Group's ISS Governance Services, a leading independent proxy advisory firm, recommended that shareholders of Taro Pharmaceutical Industries vote against Taro's board of director nominees for election or re-election as directors, as well as the indemnification proposal for its proposed external directors, in the upcoming Annual General Meeting of Taro's shareholders scheduled for December 31, 2009. Release

> Four plaintiffs filed a complaint Wednesday in Burke County alleging that the use of a Salix Pharmaceuticals drug led to kidney damage, their lawyers said in a news release. Story

> Shares in Amylin Pharmaceuticals dropped nearly 10 percent after the FDA asked it to conduct more safety studies on its diabetes drug Byetta, which has been linked to pancreatitis. Report

> Sanofi-Aventis' new heart drug Multaq failed to win early support from the U.K.'s cost-effectiveness agency NICE. Report

> Bristol-Myers Squibb lowered its 2009 outlook to reflect the completion of its spinoff of Mead Johnson Nutrition. Report

> Abbott Laboratories, which is challenging a $1.67 billion patent verdict won by Johnson & Johnson over the arthritis medicine Humira, settled a royalty battle with the University of Iowa on the drug. Report

> Pfizer's Wyeth unit failed to persuade a British Columbia appeals court to dismiss a lawsuit alleging the menopause drug Premarin caused breast cancer. Report

> A Pennsylvania employee benefit fund lost its suit faulting Eli Lilly's marketing of the antipsychotic drug Zyprexa. Report

> FDA again rejected an additional use for Pfizer's Lyrica as a treatment for generalized anxiety disorder. Report

> Teva Pharmaceutical Industries today said Teva-KOWA Pharma, its joint venture in Japan with KOWA Company, has signed a definitive agreement to acquire a majority of the outstanding shares of Japanese generic pharmaceutical company Taisho Pharmaceutical Industries. Story

> New research suggests that myhrr--one of the wise men's gifts--may help lower bad cholesterol. Report

Biotech's year in review

> Economic disaster followed by a revival in biotech share prices. Report

> Dealmaking in biotech reaches fever pitch at end of 2009. Story

> Big Pharma upends its R&D empires with a frenzy of late-year deals. Report

> The genetic revolution takes aim at the pipeline. Story

> Congress prepares to deliver for biotechnology with healthcare reform. Report

 > Special Reports of 2009
    > Top 10 Layoffs of 2009
    > Top 15 Women in Pharma
    > The Top 12 GMP Violations
    > The 2009 Biotech Graveyard
    > Top Venture Capital Firms
    > FierceBiotech's 2009 Fierce 15
    > CEO pay of 2008: Who makes what in Big Biotech?
    > Top 5 Regions Targeting Biotech Companies - 2009
    > Top 15 Big Pharma Paychecks of 2008

And Finally... A gene linked to asthma susceptibility in children has been identified that may reveal its link to allergies and lead to new treatments. Report