Biotech could see $100B companies; Lab-bred bird flu studies resume;

 @FierceBiotech: Biogen bolsters MS biz with PhIII win for longer-lasting Avonex. News | Follow @FierceBiotech

@JohnCFierce: Flu researchers are getting back to work on controversial genetically engineered viruses, whether U.S. likes it or not. More | Follow @JohnCFierce

@RyanMFierce: Merck CEO pledges to persist with 'good' cholesterol drug program. Story | Follow @RyanMFierce

> Gilead Sciences ($GILD) has started the first of two Phase III clinical trials to evaluate a once-daily, single-tablet medication regimen containing tenofovir alafenamide to treat HIV-1 infection in adults who have not taken HIV drugs. Release

> Studies on the H5N1 avian influenza virus are set to restart after a year-long suspension. Story

> The FDA has approved Novartis ($NVS) drug Exjade (deferasirox) to treat chronic iron overload in patients 10 years of age and older. Release

> X PRIZE Foundation CEO Peter Diamandis thinks biotech is the next industry to see $100 billion companies. Story (sub. req.)

Medical Device News

 @FierceMedDev: FDA slaps Class I tag on Bausch + Lomb's eye surgery recall. Report | Follow @FierceMedDev

 @DamianFierce: Some companies are passing the cost of the device tax down to customers, and hospitals are none too pleased. Story | Follow @DamianFierce

> AngioDynamics spends $15M on microwave ablation tech. Article

> Recall charges drag down Stryker's strong Q4 sales. Story

Pharma News

@FiercePharma: Results from Slovenia's Krka show why pharma's so interested in emerging markets. E. European growth push sales up 6%. More | Follow @FiercePharma

 @AlisonBFierce: After a year-long voluntary moratorium, researchers are set to resume lab-bred bird flu studies. News | Follow @AlisonBFierce

> FDA won't appeal free-speech ruling on off-label marketing. Story

> Lawmakers lash out at Amgen-friendly legislation. Report

Vaccines News

> U.N. excludes vaccine preservative from mercury treaty. More

> Researchers set to resume lab-bred bird flu studies. Report

> Heightened flu season turns focus on vaccine advancements. Story

> Evidence mounts for GSK flu vaccine link to narcolepsy. News

> Novartis lands EU approval of meningitis B vaccine Bexsero. Article

Pharma Manufacturing News

> AmerisourceBergen seeing shifts in drug distribution business. Item

> Drug plants popping up in Kazakhstan. Story

> Counterfeit drug seizures fell significantly in 2012. Report

> Ben Venue consent decree softened to account for drug shortages. News

And Finally... Researchers have discovered an antimicrobial hydrogel that can break through diseased biofilms and completely eradicate drug-resistant bacteria upon contact. Release

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