Circassia raises $25M in new venture round; Denosumab beats Zometa in Phase III;

> The U.K.'s Circassia has raised $25 million in a new investment round aimed at advancing research into its allergy T-cell vaccine technology. Imperial Innovations led the round and was supported by existing shareholders including Invesco Perpetual and Lansdowne Partners. Release

> Amgen's closely watched late-stage drug denosumab reduced the risk of bone complications among breast cancer patients by 23 percent when compared with Novartis' Zometa. The study details follow the top-line announcement last summer. Analysts now are largely focused on the FDA's decision on Amgen's application to market the drug to cancer patients. Article

> David Mott, the former MedImmune CEO turned venture capitalist, has been chairing Montgomery County's Biosciences Task Force, which has been pushing for what's being billed as one of the first local biotech investment tax credits in the country. Montgomery County and Maryland have been "boxing below our weight class," Mott said. "We have a unique opportunity to step back up to our proper weight class." Story

> The FDA has green-flagged a Phase I trial to test Azaya Therapeutics' lead cancer drug for a new indication. The therapy is designed to enhance the efficacy of the blockbuster Taxotere. Story

> Neurologix reports that it has completed all planned surgeries in an ongoing Phase II clinical trial of the company's gene transfer approach to the treatment of advanced Parkinson's disease. Release

> Vernalis has earned a $700,000 milestone related to the sale of Apokyn to Ipsen. Release

Pharma News

> Companies like IMS and Verispan have built major businesses by collecting data on physician prescribing habits and selling it to drugmakers. Pharma companies pass this information on to their sales reps, who use the data to tailor their pitches to the doctors. Report

> Pfizer is suing India's Dr Reddy's Laboratories in a Delaware federal court over a proposed generic version of the blockbuster cholesterol med Lipitor, according to Livemint. Dr Reddy's notified Pfizer in October that it was seeking FDA approval for a generic version of the drug. The last-to-expire patent covering the drug enjoys pediatric exclusivity through January 2017. Report

> A popular type of osteoporosis drug may reduce women's risk of developing breast cancer, according to two studies released at the San Antonio Breast Cancer Symposium. Report

> The U.K. has unveiled a tax incentive plan that would from 2013 offer companies a 10 percent tax break on revenues resulting from patents filed there. U.K.-based GlaxoSmithKline likes the sound of that. "The patent box is exactly the sort of active, long-term and creative support that we need from the Government to ensure that the U.K. remains an attractive place for highly skilled sectors such as pharmaceuticals," CEO Andrew Witty (photo) says in a statement. Report

And Finally... Almost 10,000 Americans have died from swine flu since April, according to the CDC, and almost 50 million people have caught the disease in the U.S. Report