UCB plans to cut 200 jobs in Belgium, U.K.; Revised bids due for Swiss generics firm;

> Genentech said it had submitted two FDA applications to market its cancer drug Avastin for advanced HER2-negative breast cancer. Report

> Some half a dozen pharmaceutical companies are set to submit revised bids for Mepha, the Swiss generic drugmaker owned by the family of dead billionaire Adolf Merckle, a person familiar with the matter told Reuters. Report

> Talecris Biotherapeutics will add 259 jobs as part of a $269 million expansion of its manufacturing facility in Clayton, North Carolina. Report

> Japan's No. 1 generic drugmaker, Sawai Pharmaceutical, aims to lift its share of the growing domestic market despite competition from bigger foreign players and a headwind from government price plans. Report

> Bristol-Myers Squibb and Novartis are facing a giant hurdle in getting their leukaemia drugs Sprycel and Tasigna funded by the U.K.'s National Health Service, now that the cost-effectiveness watchdog has rejected their use as second-line treatments. Report

> Regulatory enforcement efforts to tackle counterfeit and substandard APIs are in disarray, Hovione CEO Guy Villax said. Report

> Bristol-Myers Squibb saw its shares leap in response to news that it would spin off nutritionals division Mead Johnson. Report

Biotech News

> Icelandic genomics pioneer deCODE Genetics has filed for bankruptcy protection, listing assets close to $70 million and debt of more than $313 million. But it filed papers in court outlining a deal to sell its Icelandic subsidiary to Saga, which is backed by Polaris Venture Partners and Arch Venture Partners, two well known venture groups active in the drug development business. Report

> Late Monday San Mateo, CA-based NeurogesX announced that the FDA had approved its patch for shingles pain. NeurogesX won European approval for the pain product--Qutenza--back in May but this is the first FDA approval received by the developer. Report

> Belgium's UCB is reengineering some of its research operations as it trims two percent of its global workforce. Its research division NewMedicines is being downsized, with 174 positions at its Braine-l'Alleud site in Belgium and 44 positions in Slough, England on the chopping block. Report

> Isis Pharmaceuticals (ISIS) says that its experimental cholesterol drug mipomersen hit its primary endpoint in a late-stage trial, cutting levels of LDL by an average of 25 percent among patients genetically inclined to develop high cholesterol. And some patients demonstrated a reduction of 70 to 80 percent. Report

Biotech Research News

> An animal rights group has stirred controversy in Utah after one of its activists infiltrated the state university's biomedical research lab and used hidden cameras to spy on their activities and document what it claims is abusive treatment of lab animals. Report

> Harvard Medical School associate professor of systems biology Roy Kishony has been studying the reasons why some combo drug therapies work and others don't. Understanding why certain drugs work well or poorly together can help researchers identify the cellular functions they attack. Report

> The human body has a very efficient system for excluding toxins and other invaders from the brain. But the same blood-brain barrier that keeps toxins out also bars therapeutics, complicating efforts to treat a whole host of diseases. Report

> Two years ago the revelation that Merck's experimental AIDS vaccine actually increased the risk of infection among the people who volunteered for a clinical trial proved a serious blow to the whole research field, which it is still recovering from. But now researchers at Imperial College of London believe they have figured out what went wrong. Report

And Finally... Novartis lost a ruling in a British court in which it asked for a ban on animal rights protestors wearing animal costumes that cover their faces. Report

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