Astex forges $530M drug discovery deal with Glaxo; Altus moves closer to liquidation;

> The UK's Astex Therapeutics is getting $33 million upfront in a co-development pact with GlaxoSmithKline. And the development and regulatory milestones are potentially worth more than $496 million. Astex, a Fierce 15 company, will use its drug platform to identify candidate therapies, with the biotech company responsible for initial fragment screening and lead discovery. Glaxo will handle optimization work. Astex release

> Altus Pharmaceuticals took another long stride toward the biotech graveyard yesterday, filing for Chapter 7 bankruptcy as it winds down its operations. Article

> Australia's Biota is buying the UK's Prolysis, an antibacterial drug discovery company, and MaxThera in the U.S. for a total of $12 million in shares and cash. Story

> ThromboGenics says it is considering raising new funds to finance the growth of the company. Report

> NeuroTherapeutics Pharma snared a $100,000 investment from the Epilepsy Therapy Project. NeuroTherapeutics release

Pharma News 

> Today's the day you pharma marketing folks have been waiting for: The beginning of FDA's two-day public hearing on social-media and online drug promotions. Report

> No wonder Ratiopharm's owner family was so pleased by the first round of buyout bids. If Bloomberg's sources are correct, a smorgasbord of offers came in from financial investors, branded drugmakers, and generics firms. Report

> Who tops the list of highest-paid Swiss executives? None other than pharma's own Daniel Vasella (photo), CEO of Novartis. Vasella's 2008 compensation grew by more than 20 percent from 2007, to 20.5 million francs. Report

>  You've heard about selective publication: When a greater share of positive drug studies get published and fewer negative ones do. But what about skewed publication? Report

 Vaccine News

> The R&D upheaval now underway at the newly merged operations of Pfizer and Wyeth will leave a number of research facilities involved in vaccine work. Report

> Tiny Seattle-based Kineta has reaped $6.8 million of a $13 million grant to fund the development of new adjuvants for vaccines. Report

> Production of H1N1 vaccine at two U.S. Sanofi-Aventis facilities is "working optimally," according to Sanofi-Aventis CEO Chris Viehbacher. Reports

> GlaxoSmithKline finally won an approval for its H1N1 vaccine from the FDA, but don't look for any big shipments to the U.S. The regulatory approval clears the way for Glaxo to deliver only 7.6 million doses of the swine flu shot in December. Report

And Finally... A small cadre of physicians and nurses in the U.S. is recommending that their patients steer clear of the swine flu vaccine, which may help explain why only a small percentage of U.S. healthcare workers get any kind of flu shot. Article