FDA puts hold on Geron IND; Crucell wins $300M contract;

> Geron said the FDA has placed a hold on its IND for GRNOPC1, a cell therapy for neurologically complete, subacute spinal cord injury. The agency is reviewing of new nonclinical animal study data submitted by the company. Geron release

> Oncology company Kolltan Pharmaceuticals has raised an additional $5 million to close its Series A preferred stock financing at $40 million. Report

> Dutch biotechnology firm Crucell won $300 million in contracts for it Quinvaxem pediatric vaccine, bringing total sales of the product to $800 million and pushing shares up by 3 percent. Report

> Genentech is back with more news on Avastin, and this time the data points to the drug as a strong candidate for second-line breast cancer treatment. Report

Pharma News

> House Minority Leader John Boehner (R-OH) is not at all happy with the $80 billion healthcare reform deal the pharma industry cut with the Obama Administration. In a strongly-worded letter to PhRMA head (and former colleague) Billy Tauzin, Boehner blasted the deal, calling it a shortsighted move that will hurt both pharma companies and patients in the long run. Report

> Amgen is continuing its push to boost Vectibix by narrowing the drug's target market. The drugmaker announced results from a another Phase III trial, this time evaluating Vectibix as a second-line treatment for patients with advanced colorectal cancer. Report

> Thinking to reassure the public, U.S. health officials had said that they expected to have 120 million doses of swine flu vax on hand to start a huge national vaccination campaign in mid-October--just as a second wave of the pandemic is expected to hit. Turns out that was a tad optimistic. CBS News reports that experts now say that only 45 million doses will be on hand, with another 20 million jabs coming in every month after that. Report

Research News

> Over the past several years there's been a growing amount of research to prove that caloric restriction can trigger longer life spans. And the potential to use drugs to trigger the same biologic pathways that can extend life has inspired a biotech company to take its therapeutic approach into the clinic. Report

> Looking past 2010, when more than $10 billion in fresh federal research funds runs out, the new head of the NIH is hatching a plan to gain a predictable flow of money to back an enlarged commitment to the country's researchers. NIH report

> Scientists at Stanford found a surprising link between high blood pressure and multiple sclerosis that could quickly pave the way to an inexpensive new approach to treating the disease. Report

And Finally... An inch-long marine worm has inspired researchers to develop a new adhesive that can be used to repair shattered bones. Report