Astex gets orphan drug designation; Seattle Genetics, Agensys expand collaboration;

> Seattle Genetics and Agensys, an affiliate of Astellas, have expanded the companies' antibody-drug conjugate (ADC) collaboration. Under the amended agreement, Agensys will pay a $12 million fee for exclusive rights to ADC licenses against additional antigen targets. Seattle Genetics also receives an option to co-develop another ADC at the time of IND submission. Release

> Astex Therapeutics has been granted orphan-drug designation by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for AT9283, its combinatorial oncogenic kinase inhibitor, for the treatment of patients with Acute Myeloid Leukaemia (AML). Release

> Handok Pharmaceuticals will develop and commercialize Spectrum Pharmaceuticals's experimental cancer drug in South Korea as part of a deal valued at more than $19 million. Report

Pharma News

> In an interview with the Financial Times, Sanofi CEO Chris Viehbacher bucks conventional pharma wisdom. Report

> A Philadelphia jury ordered Pfizer to pay $6.3 million in compensatory damages to an Illinois woman who alleged that the menopause treatments Premarin, Provera and Prempro caused her breast cancer. Article

> A Biogen Idec shareholder is castigating CEO James Mullen (photo) for selling $85 million in company stock and picking up $63 million in compensation, Reuters reports. And no, the shareholder isn't Carl Icahn. Report

> FDA is sifting through some preliminary data suggesting that Abbott Laboratories' obesity drug Meridia (sibutramine) may carry cardiovascular risks. Report


Biotech IT News

> As Amazon continues to distance itself from the public-cloud computing provider pack, private clouds remain a not-ready-for-prime-time alternative. So says Chris Dagdigian of high-performance computing consultancy BioTeam. Report

> Clinical informatics meets patient data in a solution that targets the lagging subject enrollment of clinical trials. The software capitalizes on the ability of top-ranking investigators to enroll patients more quickly than most others, and it taps into database of prospective trial subjects. Report

> Rival drug developers may become allies in an MIT project called New Drug Development Paradigms. Among the project aims: New prediction models and more open sharing of information about the biology of diseases. Report

> Taking the open concept a step further is the Bioinformatics Organization, an open source practitioner that uses wiki software to let researchers post their models, questions, experiments and discoveries. Report

> As Google has become a tool for flu-tracking, so the mobile phone will be making medical diagnoses. Thanks to a Gates Foundation grant, STAR Analytical Services is developing software to analyze the sound of a cough. Report

And Finally... Scientists at the University of Bonn have discovered a previously unknown fruit fly gene that controls the metabolism of fat. Larvae in which this gene is defective lose their entire fat reserves. Mammals carry a group of genes that are very similar, which could lead to new medicines to fight obesity. Report