Sigma inks $60M deal for BMS brands, plant; Pfizer aims for Indian generics launch;

> Sigma Pharmaceuticals agreed to buy a portfolio of drug brands and a plant from Bristol-Myers Squibb for $60 million cash, and will raise $297 million to fund the acquisition and pay down debt. Article

> Pfizer plans to launch two or three generic drugs in India by December as part of its efforts to widen its portfolio and market share. Article

> Critics say that a new WHO diagnostic tool for osteopenia is based on a faulty formula and that the advised threshold for medication is too low. Article

> A leading Australian psychiatrist who has received thousands of dollars from drug companies is appealing to colleagues to disclose the payments they receive from drugmakers. Article

> KV Pharmaceutical named Thomas McHugh, the company's vice president of finance and corporate controller, as its interim CFO. Article

> Spectrum Pharmaceuticals got the FDA nod for expanded use of its cancer drug, Zevalin, as a first-line consolidated therapy for non-Hodgkin's lymphoma. Article

> Endo Pharmaceuticals announced the availability of Valstar for the treatment of a distinct form of bladder cancer. Article

> MDS is putting the rest of its contract research unit, MDS Pharma Services, up for sale as the Canadian company pares down to focus solely on medical isotopes. Article

> Scientific instruments maker PerkinElmer agreed to acquire Chinese diagnostic product company Shanghai Sym-Bio LifeSciences for 435 million renminbi ($63.7 million). Article

Biotech News

> Array BioPharma (ARRY) announced late Thursday that its rheumatoid arthritis drug candidate ARRY-162 was no more effective than a placebo in a mid-stage study. The disappointing results caused the developer's shares to drop nearly 30 percent in premarket trading on Friday. Article

> Partnered with two biotech companies, a scientific team at Scripps Research Institute has identified two antibodies that can block HIV from replicating--a breakthrough that may well lead the way to a new vaccine to guard against the AIDS virus after almost 25 years of fruitless searching. Article

> Big Pharma's need to cut development spending and boost its presence in big new markets is driving sizzling hot growth rates for China's contract research organizations. Article

Biotech IT News

> Virginia Tech has begun a scale-up of its GenoCAD synthetic biology software, used in designing genetic constructs. The effort stems from a $1.4 million grant from the National Science Foundation, thanks to stimulus package funding. Article

> Personal PCR--polymerase chain reaction technology in a machine that costs a fraction of the tens of thousands of dollars of current technology--may be right around the corner. Article

> Ten screening libraries from ChemBridge are now available to researchers via the Collaborative Drug Discovery (CDD) public access database. Article

And Finally... Many researchers are ignoring a 2005 requirement that they register clinical trials in a government database as a condition for publishing their results in medical journals, and the journals are publishing the papers anyway. Article