Facet board spurns sweetened Biogen bid; Dow spinout raises $24M; Pfizer forges Asian cancer R&D pact with Crown

> The board at Facet Biotech doesn't like Biogen Idec's sweetened buyout offer any better than its first bid. The board unanimously turned their thumbs down on the $493 million offer. "We analyzed the unsolicited, revised tender offer of Biogen Idec and determined that $17.50 per share does not reflect the value of our company and its prospects," said Facet President and CEO Faheem Hasnain. Story

> San Diego-based Pfenex has rounded up $24 million to spin out from Dow Chemical. The developer "will develop proteins based on Dow Chemical's fluorescens-based platform that uses high throughput, parallel processing methodologies." Report

> Pfizer and Crown Bioscience have struck a collaboration to develop new therapies for cancers common to Asia. "This new collaboration extends an already very successful partnership between Crown and Pfizer," said Alex Wu, chief executive of Crown. Report

> Shares of OncoThyreon jumped 10 percent this morning after the company announced that its development partner, Merck KGaA, had launched a late-stage trial of a cancer vaccine. Story

> GlaxoSmithKline has launched the second round of late-stage trials of daraplib, a heart disease drug developed with technology from Human Genome Sciences. GSK Release

> More than 5,000 employees from companies focused on research and development today called on Congress to  extend and make permanent the R&D Tax Credit set to expire on December 31. Release

> The European Commission has granted orphan medicinal product designation for Sangart's MP4CO for the treatment of sickle cell disease. Release

> Bethesda-based RegeneRx says that its experimental heart attack therapy demonstrated its safety in an early-stage trial. Story

> Vivakor has forged a $5 million license agreement with consumer product specialist Regeneca International. Release

> Opexa Therapeutics raised $5.1 million from a securities offering. Release

> China Nuokang Bio-Pharmaceutical priced its initial public offering of 5 million American depositary shares at $9. Report

 Pharma News

> Adult prescription drug expenditure doubled from 1996 to 2006, according to a report released by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality. "The average expense for a prescription medication purchase was notably higher for [adults 18 to 44] in 2006 than in 1996 ($161 versus $79)," the group found. Report

> The SEC is investigating four pharma deals as part of a larger probe into potential insider trading violations. The deals in question include Pfizer's Wyeth buyout, Merck's purchase of Schering-Plough, Abbott's acquisition of Advanced Medical Optics and Lilly's $6.5 billion buyout of ImClone Systems. Report

> GlaxoSmithKline has placed many of its eggs in the emerging market basket, and today Abbas Hussain, the company's head of emerging markets, outlined exactly what the company hopes to get out of that bet. Report

> In an article full of juicy tidbits, Bloomberg profiles Chris Viehbacher (photo), the former GlaxoSmithKline CEO-runner up who defected to Sanofi-Aventis. Since joining the company last December, Viehbacher has set out to revamp Sanofi's image, making himself available to investors and media and giving the France-based company a public face. " Report

Vaccine News

> While the demand for the H1N1 vaccine appears to be softening in the U.S., rival drugstore chains are gearing up for a big push to offer the jab to just about anyone who wants it. Report

> Measles deaths declined 78 percent between 2000 and 2008 due to a global initiative to promote childhood vaccination. However, immunization experts warn of a resurgence in deaths if vaccination efforts are not sustained. Report

> First there wasn't enough swine flu vaccine, then there was plenty, and now it turns out that many countries may have too much. Out in Vancouver, Canadian health officials say that the initial clamor for the vaccine has been followed by a rapid drop in demand. Report

> After years of inattention, health officials are preparing an ambitious set of field trials for the first new tuberculosis vaccine since 1920. And health officials in Uganda, where the vaccine will be tested in two of the country's districts, say fresh advances are badly needed. Report

And Finally... In a first, researchers have used bone marrow transplants to cure adults afflicted with sickle cell anemia. Story