Tasigna aces leukemia trial; Court affirms pro-Merck Vioxx ruling;

> Data from a mid-stage trial showed Novartis' Tasigna achieved a rapid and deep reduction of the abnormal proteins that cause a life threatening type of leukaemia, the company said. Report

> A U.S. federal appeals court in Texas reaffirmed a decision that reversed $26.1 million in damages against Merck in litigation tied to pain and arthritis drug Vioxx. Report

> Europe's CHMP has adopted a positive opinion on new dosage regimens and delivery device for Wyeth's Enbrel (etanercept). Report

> Express Scripts on Thursday launched its three-part $2.5 billion note sale, said IFR, a Thomson Reuters service. Report

> A sixfold surge in swine flu cases within Scotland this week shows the virus is spreading in local communities, adding to evidence a pandemic is emerging. Report

> Novavax stock surged nearly 50 percent Thursday after the Maryland company said it had succeeded in producing a swine flu vaccine and the U.S. government has agreed to test it. Report

> Should pharmacists play a bigger role in the healthcare system? Some reformers think so. Report

Biotech news

> San Diego-based Anadys Pharmaceuticals unveiled plans to slash its staff by 40 percent and drop one of its drug development programs in a move to cut costs. Anadys also says that it was able to raise $17.5 million from the sale of shares to continue funding its lead program for hepatitis C. Report

> After more than five long years without a new drug to boast about, AstraZeneca CEO David Brennan (photo) says that the pharma giant's pipeline is getting ready to churn out a string of new therapies that can command significant sales. Report

> With pharma sales beginning to slide and the loss of patent protection looming on its $2.5 billion a year epilepsy franchise from Topamax, Johnson & Johnson execs are spending much of today polishing up their late-stage development jewels for stock analysts. Report

> Halozyme Therapeutics is dumping an early-stage osteoporosis program after witnessing severe site injection reactions. Investors--in no mood for setbacks, no matter how early in the development process--quickly sliced off nine percent of the San Diego-based company's share value. Report

> Pfizer has won approval for a new cancer drug for dogs with the kind of clinical data most developers can only dream about. Report

> Determined to cut its annual cash burn rate by $12 million a year, Adolor has opted to axe 45 jobs--28 percent of its workforce--as the developer shifts its focus away from early-stage clinical products and concentrates on late-stage prospects and its bowel dysfunction drug launched last year. Report

And Finally... New discovery on Huntington's disease may provide a long-awaited target for drug development--plus shine light on more common brain diseases like Alzheimer's. Report