Algeta cancer drug shows blockbuster potential; Ireland's AGI changes course;

> Norway's Algeta unveiled positive data from three mid-stage studies of Alpharadin as a treatment for bone metasteses. Algeta closed an $800 million licensing deal with Bayer recently for the therapy, which the biotech believes has the potential to earn close to $2 billion a year. Release

> Ireland's AGI Therapeutics has outlined plans to change course and focus on developing specialty drugs for the U.S. market. AGI says it will look beyond its original focus on gastro intestinal diseases and look for alternative uses for Rezular, which had produced disappointing data for irritable bowel syndrome. The developer says it has enough cash on hand to pursue its new strategy for the next two years. Story

> An FDA staff review of a new pain drug developed by Neuromed and Covidien highlights its potential for abuse. Story

> Facet Biotech has asked its stockholders to sit tight as it reviews Biogen Idec's $14.50 a share bid. Release

> Pacific Biosciences, which has set out to revolutionize the drug discovery business on its way to making genome sequencing a routine part of health care, has begun to scale up its manufacturing and build a sales force as it prepares to begin commercialization efforts. Release

Pharma News

> Who's the greenest pharma of all? Report

> GlaxoSmithKline is taking another step back from the drugmaker influence game. The company won't fund commercial CME programs anymore. Report

> Generic drugmaker Teva says it will cut 400 Czech jobs and shut the plant by the end of the year. Report

> Now that the cardiovascular drug market has a couple of new entries, analysts are applying their skills. Their take: Eli Lilly's clot-buster Effient has been "sluggish" out of the gate, while Sanofi-Aventis' atrial fibrillation drug Multaq has hit the ground running. But even Multaq hasn't made huge advances. Report

> The animal-health shuffle continues. As expected, Pfizer and Wyeth are offloading some animal health assets in advance of their merger, in part to get regulatory approval for the deal. Boehringer Ingelheim's Vetmedica will pick up the assets, which include products sold in several countries and manufacturing and research facilities in Fort Dodge, Iowa. Report

Research News

> Officials in Chicago are studying the puzzling death of a lab researcher earlier this month who had been infected by the plague bacteria he had been studying. Report

> Anxious to distinguish themselves from a slew of investigators making high-profile claims of unsubstantiated miracle cures, a group of bioethicists and researchers from Canada is proposing a charter to guide reputable scientists working on stem cell therapies. Article

> Nanoparticles "smaller than a grain of pollen" have been engineered to carry minute quantities of therapeutics for ED, effectively delivering the drug directly through the skin in animal models. Report

> Research have found that retooling brain's genetic machinery can help trim fat. Item

> Regulatory T cells--a group of white-blood cells dubbed Tregs--were able to effectively treat acute lung injury in mice. And now researchers are pursuing a clinical approach that can use a revved up set of these immune cells to do the same in humans. Report

And Finally... After an analysis of 75 years worth of study data, researchers concluded that the flu appears to significantly increase the risk of heart attacks and heart disease. The data underscores the need to vaccinate people with heart disease. Report