Almac adds jobs; PRA International heads to South Korea;

> Pharma and biotech service provider Almac has added 150 jobs over the last 6 months, and recruiting for 70 more positions in the Philadelphia area. Report

> An experimental drug being developed by Roche blocks a common biological pathway linked to the spread of many cancers and has proved highly effective in mice, according to a study published in the journal Molecular Cancer Therapeutics. Report

> Clinical research organization PRA International has officially opened its office in South Korea. Release

> EnVivo Pharmaceuticals has completed a phase Ib/IIa trial of its nicotinic alpha-7 agonist EVP-6124 in Alzheimer's disease patients. The company says patients experienced improvement in cognition and EVP-6124 showed good tolerability and safety. Release

> Cambridge, MA-based Zafgen is attacking obesity the way that cancer researchers have been attacking tumors for decades: using drugs that interfere with its blood supply. Report

> Maxygen's midstage trial for chemotherapy treatment Maxy-G34 showed the drug candidate to be safe and effective as the product remains on track for potential FDA approval. Report

> Workers broke ground on a new biotechnology research facility in Syracuse yesterday. The center will be home to small medical device developers, medical researchers and start-up biotechs. The project is expected to cost around $20 million. Report

Pharma News

> Germany announced a deal for 50 million doses of the still-in-development vaccine, enough for about one-third of its citizens, health authorities said. Meanwhile, the U.K. is prepping for a massive shot campaign, hoping to reach the entire population--all 60 million. Report

> If you were losing sleep over pharma's DTC tax deduction, relax. It's safe, at least for now. But as the Los Angeles Times points out, pharma should worry less about their tax break and more about the FDA's proposed rules for including risk info in DTC ads. Report

> Apotex got an ultimatum from the FDA: Fix your manufacturing problems, or forget introducing new meds in the U.S. Report

> Sanofi-Aventis is pulling out the big guns in defense of Lantus. The drugmaker announced that a board of 14 experts have picked apart the recent studies that suggested a link between the diabetes drug and cancer. Report

> Solvay may be closing in on a spinoff for its drugs unit. According to press reports this morning, the company has two bidders circling its pharma business ... or perhaps three. Report

Manufacturing News

> The year 2008 saw some $15 million in lobbying contributions from pharmaceutical manufacturers, with individual contributions about half that of political action committees. Lobbying news

> Singapore's manufacturing industry expanded in June, the second time in as many months, with a boost from pharma output. Singapore report

> Swiss drug maker Nycomed is planning an $84-million manufacturing plant in Russia, making it one of the first foreign manufacturers of active pharmaceutical ingredients. Report

> Production management software and analytics software are two of the fastest growing automation technologies being deployed by pharmaceutical manufacturers. Report

> SAFC, a member of the Sigma-Aldrich group, has been certified and deemed proficient in the safe handling of potent active pharmaceutical ingredients (APIs). Report

And Finally... Researchers have discovered a gene variant that may help determine who is going to get Alzheimer's disease, and at what age onset may occur. Report