UK group want to end pharma gifts; Pfizer fires Chantix ad agency;

> A group of medical experts in the UK is expected to recommend that drugmakers stop giving promotional gifts to doctors, out of fears of conflicts of interest. Report

> Pfizer is dumping Chantix ad agency McCann HumanCare in favor of Mcgarrybowen, in hopes of reversing a decline in sales of the stop-smoking drug. Report

> Health services conglomerate MDS--parent of MDS Pharma Services--has set up a directors' committee to evaluate ways to boost shareholder value, in apparent confirmation of rumors that the company might break itself up into smaller units. Report

> American Peptide is plotting an expansion of its GMP manufacturing facility in Vista, CA, which will increase its capacity for bulk orders from pharmaceutical and biotech companies. Report

> Teva Pharmaceutical Industries started shipping its version of the Johnson & Johnson antipsychotic drug Risperdal after it was approved by FDA on Friday. Report

> Fifteen European countries have given the nod to Ipsen and Gladerma's Azzalure, a muscle relaxant intended for dermatologic and aesthetic use. Report

> India's Sun Pharmaceutical said it's on the lookout to buy a midsize generics maker in the U.S. in hopes of growing its share of the market here; meanwhile, the company posted a 28 percent increase in net profits for its fiscal third quarter. Report

> BioMS Medical shares plunged more than 30 percent today on the news that its phase II trial MINDSET-01--designed to evaluate dirucotide in patients with relapsing-remitting multiple sclerosis--did not meet its primary endpoint, in terms of the annualized relapse rate, or its associated secondary MRI endpoints. BioMS report

> Drug and vaccine developer GenVec announced today that it is reducing its headcount to keep costs in control. Twenty-two positions will be eliminated, leaving the company with 101 employees. GenVec report

> Alexza Pharmaceuticals announced today that it's consolidating operations and cutting 52 jobs--33 percent of its staff--in the process. The company expects the move to reduce its expenses by approximately $21.5 million this year and $11.1 million in 2010. Report

> Private equity group Deerfield Capital has agreed to pay $36 million in an all-cash deal for struggling biotech NitroMed. Report

Emerging Drug Developer: Enlight Biosciences

And Finally... Stem cell therapy was able to reverse the neurological damage inflicted by multiple sclerosis, according to a new study. And the procedure, which relies on bone marrow cells, could offer a radically new approach to treating a notoriously drug-resistant condition. Report