Spotlight On... AstraZeneca's Brilinta disappoints in stroke trial, endangering $3.5B sales goal; India reasserts right to force compulsory licenses on Big Pharma; Sanofi's Praluent cuts need for aphaeresis, study shows; and more...

AstraZeneca's ($AZN) high hopes for its heart drug Brilinta took a major hit Wednesday. According to new top-line data from the much-anticipated SOCRATES trial, the clot-fighting med failed to beat aspirin at treating stroke patients, missing its primary goal of delaying stroke, heart attack and cardiovascular death. As FierceBiotech notes, this means that a 40-cent tablet--first sold by Bayer in 1899--was just as good at helping patients as AZ's new drug that costs around $7 (before discounts) per daily treatment. Brilinta is one of AstraZeneca CEO Pascal Soriot's new growth platforms, key to hitting an ambitious 2023 sales goal of $45 billion. More from FierceBiotech

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> The Indian government reaffirmed its right to issue compulsory licenses on branded drugs after news last week that officials had given private assurances that they would not use that power. Report

> A Phase III study of Sanofi ($SNY) and Regeneron's ($REGN) Praluent met its primary endpoint, with patients adding Praluent to their other cholesterol meds cutting the frequency of apheresis therapy by 75% compared with placebo. Release

> French President Francois Hollande wants drug pricing to be on the agenda at the G-7 summit in Japan in May. Report

> Lawyers in multidistrict litigation over alleged gastrointestinal side effects of Daiichi Sankyo blood pressure med Benicar are at odds over a defense motion to preclude so-called "woodshedding" of plaintiffs' treating physicians. Report (reg. req.)

> Chinese police have detained 37 people linked to a vaccine scandal and are investigating three pharma companies. Report

Medical Device News

@FierceMedDev: ICYMI yesterday: Boston Sci launches minimally invasive pancreatitis tech it gained last year in startup buy. Article | Follow @FierceMedDev

@VarunSaxena2: ICYMI: Med tech consultant discusses China FDA, tries to clear up Chinese clinical trial confusion. More | Follow @VarunSaxena2

@EmilyWFierce: J&J dials up diagnostic R&D with new projects for COPD, gestational diabetes mellitus. Report | Follow @EmilyWFierce

> Clinical Genomics brings home $15M for two-gene colorectal cancer test. News

> Aussie ImpediMed raises $57M just after U.S. launch of early Dx tool for lymphedema in cancer. More

> Apple to add CareKit for symptom, medication adherence tracking. Report

> Boehringer Ingelheim, Propeller Health to enroll 'smart' inhaler patients in evidence-generation program. Article

Biotech News

@FierceBiotech: Bristol-Myers bags the biotech upstart Padlock in $600M autoimmune deal. News | Follow @FierceBiotech

@JohnCFierce: Sahm Adrangi's hedge fund ridicules Sage Therapeutics' rare disease drug in short attack. Article | Follow @JohnCFierce

> Janssen adds COPD and diabetes to its venture portfolio for preventative medicine. Story

> Quanterix raises $46M in Series D round, but no mention of an IPO. Item

> AstraZeneca suffers a setback as trial shows Brilinta 'no better than aspirin' for stroke. Report

Biotech Research News

> Researchers advance work on a new oral therapy to fight pancreatic fibrosis. Item

> Caltech scientists gain traction in nanoparticle-therapy for treating human solid tumors. More

> Imperial scientists find a key miRNA that silence breast and lung cancers in the lab. Story

> Using CRISPR, Temple team eliminates HIV from T-cells. Report

> Johns Hopkins team IDs a new target for obesity R&D. Article

Vaccines News

> NIH-developed dengue vaccine protects all patients in challenge study. Report

> CSL's Seqirus aims for 'industry leadership' as it integrates Novartis' flu vaccines. Article

> Sanofi science chief on Zika: It's time to disrupt traditional vaccine development. Story

Pharma Marketing News

> Merck enlists patients for award-winning marketing on black box allergy-fighters Ragwitek, Grastek. Report

> Physician's Weekly revamps its offering, adding digital tablets and more content. More

> U.K. watchdogs reject Vertex's CF med Orkambi, citing $147K annual cost. Item

> Lilly's new psoriasis med Taltz sets up head-to-head with Novartis' Cosentyx. Story

> Analyst slashes Entresto sales forecast in half as skeptical heart docs hobble uptake. Article

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