Ardea nabs $15M milestone payment; Williams returns to R&D at Biogen;

 @FierceBiotech: Frazier: Merck to make "tough" spending decisions. Report | Follow @FierceBiotech

> Ardea Biosciences has received a $15 million milestone payment from Bayer for its mitogen-activated ERK kinase (MEK) inhibitor, BAY 86-9766. Bayer has paid $50 million total to Ardea, with the latest stemming from the drug's Phase II trial for primary liver cancer. Ardea release

> After 20 years in the field, former ZymoGenetics CEO Doug Williams is getting back to what he loves most in biotech: day-to-day R&D work at Biogen Idec. Feature

> Exelixis gained orphan drug status for its cancer drug XL184. The company plans to release Phase III trial results in the first half of 2011 and file an NDA for the follicular, medulary and anaplastic thyroid carcinoma treatment in the latter half of 2011. Exelixis release

> Using data from its IMPACT study, Dendreon hopes to get European Medicines Agency approval for its prostate cancer vaccine Provenge in late 2011 or early 2012. The vax brought in $48 million in revenue from U.S. sales in 2010. Story

> Advanced Cell Technologies has received the green light from the U.S. government to start a second embryonic stem cell trial, studying dry age-related macular degeneration. News

> Celtic Therapeutics has finalized a deal with Resolvyx Pharmaceuticals for its dry eye syndrome treatment, RX-10045. The drug is scheduled to enter a Phase III study this year. Resolvyx release

> With help from Venrock, New Enterprise Associates and other firms, Acadia Pharmaceuticals has raised $15 million via a 12.57 million share stock sale. The financing will go towards Acadia's Phase III pimavanserin project. Acadia release

And Finallly... UCLA researchers may have found an unexpected target for PTSD and anxiety disorder treatments, and it may have implications for Alzheimer's treatment as well. Instead of focusing on synapses, like most researchers, Michael Fanselow and his team are looking at "gap junctions" between neurons. Report