ChemGenex buoyed by promising leukemia data; Valeant forges deal to buy Laboratoire Dr. Renaud

> Shares of ChemGenex Pharmaceuticals jumped 12 percent on the news that its therapy cleared leukemia in 86 percent of the patients taking part in a study. And researchers added that Omapro cleared the disease in the bone marrow of 18 percent of the study group, opening the way to bone marrow transplants that would have the potential to cure leukemia. Report

> Valeant Pharmaceuticals announced a deal to buy Laboratoire Dr. Renaud, a cosmeceutical company, for $21.8 million. As part of the deal, Valeant will also enter into a lease for a 45,000 square foot facility that includes a manufacturing plant completed in 2007 specializing in topical formulations. Laboratoire Dr. Renaud currently has annualized sales of approximately C$11 million. Release

> Amgen has authorized a $5 billion stock buyback program aimed at kicking up shares that have dragged behind most biotech stocks this year. That's on top of the $1.2 billion left over from the last buyback campaign. Story

> Biogen Idec has had its say in the latest round of broadsides over its proposed buyout of Facet Biotech. Now Facet's investors are poised to make their voices heard. Report

> LA-based ImmunoCellular Therapeutics has nailed down a $10 million financing commitment with Socius Life Sciences Capital Group. Much of that money will be spent on clinical trials for the company's ICT-109 and ICT-121 cancer vaccine candidates. Release

Pharma News

> Things may have just gotten tougher for potential pharma whistleblowers. Last Friday, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit in Atlanta upheld a lower court's dismissal of a whistleblower case filed against Solvay Pharmaceuticals in 2004 by two former sales reps. Report

> The FDA has approved the use of Eli Lilly's Zyprexa and AstraZeneca's Seroquel in teenagers with schizophrenia and bipolar disorder. But the agency will be looking for more data on the side effects of these antipsychotics, and whether those side effects are worse in teenagers then they are in adults. Report

> How much is too much to pay for a cancer drug? New York Times healthcare writer Andrew Pollack examines the case of Folotyn, Allos Therapeutics' recently-approved cancer drug. Folotyn is indicated for peripheral T-cell lymphoma, a rare cancer that affects 5,600 Americans each year and has no other FDA approved treatments. The drug--Allos' first and only on the market--was approved in September and is now available at the cost of $30,000 per month. Report

> Drugs giant GSK is scouring the globe for acquisitions and could splash out more than $3 billion to expand in consumer healthcare, over-the-counter medicines, generics and vaccines. Analysts say the company is looking at acquiring Dr Reddy's, the Indian generics firm that has large selling operations in Africa, the Middle East and Latin America. Report

> Cephalon could have a blockbuster on its hands following the release of new data about its tumor-fighting therapy Treanda. The drug is currently approved for a form of non-Hodgkin lymphoma, which effects about 30,000 Americans. But at the American Society of Hematology meeting, the company revealed that Treanda paired with Rituxan outperformed the current standard of care in treating non-Hodgkin's lymphoma. Report

> A recent study by ORC Guideline found that many consumers ignore the lengthy risk disclosures in print and TV ads. According to the 1,045 people surveyed, 41 percent tuned out drug safety information on TV spots, while half ignored the finer points in print ads. Consumers 55 and older were most likely to skip over the drug safety information. Report

Biotech IT News

> Fluorescence imaging got a boost last week on two separate fronts: at the nano-biotech level via software support for high-end cameras, and in in vivo 3D image acquisition and analysis for disease study. Report

> Drug companies and their customers need to be able to converse online so they can correct misinformation, share product knowledge and learn together. While individual exchanges can't be regulated, the overall effort can be, says social media evangelist Bob Pearson. Report

> A remotely operated X-ray set-up that promises diagnoses of infectious respiratory diseases for millions in developing countries may also provide data for the discoverers and developers of drugs to cure such diseases. Report

> Some 400 miles west of the IBM-powered Pitt, Indiana University is spending $1.5 million from the National Institutes of Health on its own high-end computing discovery tools. The Hoosiers' Pervasive Technology Institute Digital Science Center is targeting cloud computing to support life science research. Report

> It's always nice to be recognized, but especially so when the recognition comes in the form of high-end IBM hardware and software. The University of Pittsburgh's McGowan Institute for Regenerative Medicine received such recognition last week when it garnered a Shared University Research (SUR) Award from Big Blue. Report

> In IT genealogy, Web 2.0 spawned Enterprise 2.0 (E2.0), the content-, knowledge-, and collective-input-savvy corporation. Now Web 2.0 and E2.0 have spawned social knowledge networks. Report

And Finally... Neuroscientists at the Mayo Clinic campus in Jacksonville, Fla., have demonstrated how brain waves can be used to type alphanumerical characters on a computer screen. By merely focusing on the "q" in a matrix of letters, for example, that "q" appears on the monitor. Release

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