BioMarin to buy Huxley in $58M deal; ZymoGenetics scores $70M milestone;

> Novato, CA-based BioMarin has struck a deal to buy Huxley Pharmaceuticals for $15 million upfront and up to $43.5 million more in milestones. Huxley owns rights to a drug that treats the autoimmune disease Lambert Eaton Myasthenic Syndrome. BioMarin release

> Bristol-Myers Squibb owes ZymoGenetics a $70 million milestone with the launch of a mid-stage trial of an experimental hepatitis C therapy, pegylated interferon lambda. The trial will initially recruit 50 patients and then expand to 500. Story

> France has revealed plans to invest $206 million in the country's biotech industry. Report

> GlaxoSmithKline and Theravance have begun a late-stage trial of a new therapy that is designed to be the successor to the blockbuster Advair. GSK release

> Metabolon has closed an additional $6 million in its Series C funding round. This brings the total funding raised in the Series C round to $12.3 million. Metabolon release

> Bellicum Pharmaceuticals unveiled a $4.5 million Series A and convertible note funding. The new funds will be used to complete the company's ongoing Phase I/IIa trial of BP-GMAX-CD1 in patients with advanced, androgen independent prostate cancer, and to prepare for Phase IIb trials. The company anticipates reporting initial results of the Phase I/IIa trial in mid 2010. Bellicum release

> Higher research costs and lower revenue conspired to drive a bigger quarterly loss at Vertex Pharmaceuticals. Story

> PTC Therapeutics is expanding the development of ataluren to a third indication with the initiation of a Phase IIa clinical trial in nonsense mutation hemophilia A and hemophilia B. PTC release

Pharma News

> For more evidence of why Big Pharma is high on healthcare reform, look no further than General Motors. Report

> Investors suing Merck over Vioxx got a boost from the White House yesterday. In an amicus curiae brief filed with the Supreme Court, the Obama administration backed the investors' right to sue the drugmaker. Vioxx case

> Will new blockbusters follow a new model? Report

> For the third time in a row, the jury in a drug liability case has sided against pharma. Having already concluded that Wyeth's Prempro hormone replacement therapy was linked to plaintiff Cindy Barton's breast cancer, the 8-member panel awarded $3.75 million in compensatory damages. Report

> Sanofi-Aventis is in court defending its blockbuster cancer drug Taxotere against generic competition. Report

Research News

> New drug target have been discovered for the treatment of sleep deprivation. Article

> A benign adenovirus armed with a genetic payload was used to correct the sight of a dozen people suffering from a rare genetic disorder called Leber's congenital amaurosis. And their work could have broader implications in fighting macular degeneration. Report

> Are community cancer research sites reliable? Report

> Once hailed as a national hero for his groundbreaking work on new stem cell therapies, South Korean scientist Hwang Woo-suk was convicted of embezzling research funds and sentenced to a three year suspended sentence. Report

And Finally... A group of six Harvard researchers were hospitalized after drinking coffee spiked with a toxic chemical, and one of them told reporters that there was no way the poisoning could have occurred accidentally. Report

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