Sun loses bid to oust Taro directors; Europe plans inquiry into 'false pandemic' claim;

> Though Taro Pharmaceutical's minority shareholders voted against the company's slate of director candidates, founder-shareholders of the Levitt family tipped the balance in favor of the company, putting Sun Pharmaceutical's takeover attempt on hold yet again. Report

> E.U. officials plan a probe into whether drugmakers exerted any influence over the World Health Organization's declaration of an H1N1 flu pandemic. Report

> Morgan Stanley analyst David Risinger resumed coverage of Bristol-Myers Squibb with an equal-weight rating, citing its 35 percent premium to U.S. peers. Report

> The Street rated Teva Pharmaceutical Industries as a fast-growing stock to buy with better-than-average numbers for growth, performance, and financial strength. Report

> Analysts reinforced their positive ratings on Abbott Laboratories in the face of a sustained six-month rally in the share price. Report

> Pfizer's Wyeth unit must face a $1.5 million damage award over one of its menopause drugs, a Pennsylvania appeals court ruled. Report

> Australian drug companies, makers of swine flu vaccines and cervical cancer medication, beat carmakers as the nation's largest exporters of so-called high-tech products. Report

> Ranbaxy Laboratories said it had launched a new skin-care drug in India under license from Japan's Summit Pharmaceuticals. Ranbaxy Release

> Zach System, a French active pharmaceutical ingredient (API) maker, received a warning letter for failing to take appropriate action on API lots shipped to the U.S. that may be affected by cross-contamination. Report

> A public service advertisement encouraging college students to get swine flu shots to prevent a third wave of the epidemic was released by the Department of Health and Human Services. Report

Biotech News

> Anesiva didn't make it intact into the new year. The South San Francisco-based company announced on New Year's Eve that it couldn't complete a planned merger with Arcion Therapeutics and instead would cease operations and file for bankruptcy. Report

> Last year proved a turbulent time for the biotech industry, with a host of developers going out of business or being bought up by bigger players. But the upheaval has proven to be a boon for start-ups looking for cheap equipment. Report

> Rockefeller & Co analyst David Song sees a lot of healthcare companies coming out ahead in the event the new healthcare reform bill passes Congress. In particular, he cites Amgen and Alexion as two of the biotech industry's biggest winners. Report

> Novartis has struck a deal to acquire a majority interest in Alcon for $28.1 billion, snapping up Nestle's 52 percent interest in the global eye care company as the Swiss pharma company claims control of a growing drug company with an impressive R&D arm. Report

Biotech IT News

> Online drug hawkers have upped their game by embedding MP3 audio clips in their e-mail messages to defeat messaging security filters and e-mail clients. Top products are male performance enhancers Cialis and Viagra; some of the audio messages include background moaning. Report

> Version 2.0 of the caBIG open-source Clinical Trials Suite bundles patient, adverse-event, and lab data, as well as clinical functionality. CaBIG is the Cancer Biomedical Informatics Grid, an information network of the National Cancer Institute's Center for Biomedical Informatics and Information Technology. Report

> Cancer systems biology algorithms have led researchers to two genes that collaborate to cause an aggressive brain tumor. Researchers from Columbia University and oncology drug discovery company Therasis found the genes by reverse-engineering the cellular network within actual tumor cells of the most lethal form of glioblastoma. Report

> Researchers have discovered and validated a drug target for fighting multiple cancers following the in silico prediction via a Compugen discovery platform for monoclonal antibody targets. Report

> In its effort to crack one of the tougher clinical trial nuts, GlaxoSmithKline has doubled the efficiency of its subject-recruitment efforts. The pharma giant says it averages about 400 subjects at 60 sites, usually in fewer than 10 countries. Larger trials, of course, reach into the thousands of subjects, reports Information Week. Report

> Simultaneous analyses of text and image data are helping researchers probe the intersections between biology and chemistry--so says the Fraunhofer Institute in Germany. The institute is working with the Jülich Supercomputing Centre on automated annotation software for grid-connected supercomputers, which are being used to query some 50,000 pharmaceutical chemistry patents. Report

And Finally... Democrats have been clear that the Medicare Part D "doughnut hole" would disappear gradually, but haven't mentioned that the hole would be slightly larger during two of the next three years. Report