Depomed shares soar on late-stage pain data; SciClone halts pancreatic cancer trial;

> Depomed shares soared 41 percent and hit a three-year high after researchers announced its neuropathic pain drug hit its primary endpoint in a late-stage trial. Depomed, which is partnered with Solvay on the program, says it will file for marketing approval of DM-1796 in early 2010. Release

> Shares of SciClone Pharmaceuticals tumbled after the developer said on Friday that it was halting a mid-stage trial of its experimental pancreatic cancer therapy on the advice of its safety committee. "We will continue to evaluate future opportunities to bring new and effective treatments to these patients," said Chief Executive Friedhelm Blobel. Story

> Sangamo BioSciences has expanded its pact with Sigma-Aldrich on its zinc finger DNA-binding protein technology, inking a deal that provides Sangamo with an extra $20 million. Report

> AVI BioPharma has landed an $11.5 million contract with the Defense Threat Reduction Agency's Transformational Medical Technologies Initiative to fund development of its virus infection therapy. Report

Pharma News

> Unlike other victims of animal rights extremists, Daniel Vasella isn't lying low, the Financial Times reports. Instead, he's personally warned 140 people who sent him critical emails "willingly or not you are associating yourself with criminal activity." Report

> The youngest flu patients are getting better access to drug treatment. The FDA is authorizing use of expired Tamiflu to make an oral suspension of the drug, for small children and others who can't take the more broadly available capsule version. Report

> Ever heard of a CEO calling for more regulation of his industry? If not, you will today. David Brennan (photo), chief executive of AstraZeneca, is set to call on the U.S. to boost funding for FDA "so that it is recognized as a watchdog with a full set of teeth," the Times of London reports. Report

> Sanofi-Aventis strikes back. The French drugmaker plans to launch a generic form of its own anticlotting blockbuster Plavix, to combat the copycat versions European regulators already have approved, a French business publication reports. The Sanofi generic will be sold via its subsidiary Winthrop. Report

> In more generics action today, Sandoz CEO Jeff George said his company plans to launch six more copycat meds in Japan this year, bringing its total in that country to 13 for 2009. And between now and 2014, Sandoz aims to sell at least 10 new drugs every year, he said. Article

Biotech IT News

> Trial enrollment solution StudyOptimizer is now available as software as a service. DecisionView says it will offer hosting, implementation, and support on a pay-as-you-go basis, available for individual trials. Report

> Federal funding is furthering research in two areas: DNA sequencing and proteomics. Report

> Data- and image-management service provider M2S is working with Pervasive Software (PVSW) to improve the Clinical Data Pathways product. Report

> Phase Forward's Clintrial has emerged victorious from a competitive product review by Budapest-based generics giant Gedeon Richter. Article

> Nextrials has unveiled version 3.0 of the Prism platform for electronic data capture and clinical trial management. Report

> How well paid are biotech employees? Report

And Finally...Three Americans won this year's Nobel Prize for Physiology or Medicine for their work on telomeres, a field that has big implications in the treatment of cancer and aging. Article