Auxilium shares jump on positive FDA staff review; Protein Sciences slaps down involuntary bankruptcy case;

> Shares of Auxilium Pharmaceuticals jumped 20 percent on the news that FDA staffers had taken the position that its new drug for advanced Dupuytren's disease provided relief with minor side effects. An expert panel is meeting to review the drug tomorrow. Story

> Protein Sciences has batted away an involuntary bankruptcy case brought by Emergent BioSolutions, which had been left jilted after an attempted merger failed to materialize. Protein Sciences, which has a contract to supply flu vaccines to the government, says a judge found that bankruptcy was not in the best interests of the company or its creditors. Report

> Alnylam Pharmaceuticals and Medtronic presented promising pre-clinical research findings from their drug/device Huntington's disease program at the 2009 World Congress on Huntington's Disease. Alnylam release

> Aeolus Pharmaceuticals has initiated a second study in mice to determine the optimal length of treatment with AEOL 10150 when used as a countermeasure to Acute Radiation Syndrome in the lungs. Aeolus release

Pharma News

> Bayer announced today that it is bidding farewell to several of its top executives. The company's CEO for the last 8 years--Werner Wenning (photo)--will depart on September 30, 2010, to be replaced by Thermo Fisher Scientific's CEO Marijn Dekkers (photo). Report

> Big deals have led to big job cuts in 2009. Story

> Following a judge's orders, Elan and Johnson & Johnson have amended their agreement to remove a breach of Elan's deal with Tysabri partner Biogen Idec. Report

Research News

> When mass public vaccination campaigns get started around the globe in the next few weeks, pregnant women will be given a preferential spot at the head of the line. And now researchers say that they have gained some insight into just why they're so vulnerable to swine flu. Report

> Researchers have ID'd a master gene that turns blood stem cells into Natural Killer--or NK--immune cells. And their work points the way to new cancer therapies as well as a better understanding of the part these unique immune cells play in provoking multiple sclerosis, diabetes and other autoimmune ailments. Article

> The generic diabetes drug metformin has proved to be a potent cancer weapon when combined with the standard chemotherapy doxorubicin, say researchers at Harvard Medical School. Report

> San Diego-based NexBio has been highlighting promising animal and lab experiments that support a new approach to fighting the flu. Story

> A start-up called LucCell is beginning clinical development work on molecular light switches, a genetic technology that promises to help the paralyzed breathe and gain bladder control. Report

And Finally... The dread methicillin-resistant Staph aureus superbug has taken up residence at public beaches, adding one more source of MRSA transmission. Story