ALSO NOTED: Altana drops Xifaxan pact; Biovitrum buying Arexis; Harvard scientists make embryo breakthrough; and much more...

> Salix Pharmaceuticals has agreed to let Altana Pharma US, the US affiliate of the German company, out of its pact to co-market Xifaxan for traveler's diarrhea. Altana is switching its focus to respiratory products. Salix says that Altana's pullout won't affect its projected revenue figures for the year. Report

> Biovitrum is buying Sweden's Arexis, which develops drugs for metabolic and inflammatory diseases, for an undisclosed amount. Arexis was founded six years ago. Release

> Scientists at Harvard say they have created stem cells similar to embryonic cells without destroying embryos. The hybrid cell could offer a detour around the fierce debate over the use of embryonic stem cells in research. Report

> The FDA has approved a new formulation of Alphagan. Release

> Aventis Pharma has received approval for a new indication for Taxotere. Article

> Chutes & Ladders: Four of Seattle-based Cell Therapeutics' board members have resigned. Release

> Progenics Pharmaceuticals has added to the positive data from its earlier announced Phase III results for methylnaltrexone for the treatment of opioid-induced constipation in patients with advanced medical illness. Report

And Finally... New York City health officials have been scrambling to craft a plan to handle an outbreak of avian flu. Article