ALSO NOTED: VaxGen gains extension; Merck wins latest Vioxx suit;and much more...

> Officials at HHS have granted VaxGen a one-month extension of its deadline to resolve a clinical hold on its troubled development program for an anthrax vaccine. The agency has threatened to cancel its contract with VaxGen unless it resolves the hold. Report

> Biotech drugs take longer and cost more than the traditional medicines fielded by the FDA, according to a new survey from Tufts University's Center for the Study of Drug Development. On average, a complex biologic costs $1.2 billion to approval over a period of 97.7 months. Report

> A federal jury has cleared Merck of any wrongdoing in the latest federal trial over Vioxx. Report

> Daryl Faulkner has been named president and CEO of Digene. Faulkner recently retired from Invitrogen. Report

> CollaGenex has sold $45.5 million in stock. Report

> Migenix has raised $10 million through a bought-deal financing package. Release

> AtheroGenics CEO Russell Medford says the company is on track to deliver late-stage data on the heart drug AGI-1067 in March of next year. Report

> Scientists at the University of Zurich have used stem cells obtained from fetal fluid to grow new heart valves for repairing damaged hearts. Report

> A host of experimental stem cell therapies are poised to make the switch from animal studies to clinical development. But as human studies begin, experts have been quick to warn against giving into the hype that life-saving treatments are just around the corner. Report

And Finally... Researchers have found two genetic mutations in H5N1 necessary to trigger a human pandemic. Their work may help signal a coming outbreak. Article

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