Forma taps Novartis vet as new R&D chief; Ablynx extends pact with Merck;

@FierceBiotech: RaNA banks $55M to get its RNA drugs into the clinic. News | Follow @FierceBiotech

@JohnCFierce: Cara Therapeutics scores another positive PhII for lead opioid. More | Follow @JohnCFierce

@DamianFierce: The world is terrible. Article | Follow @DamianFierce

> Watertown, MA-based Forma Therapeutics has tapped Novartis ($NVS) vet John Hohneker as its new head of R&D. Hohneker most recently served as senior VP and global head of development for the immunology and dermatology franchise at Novartis. Release

> Ablynx has extended its pact with Merck ($MRK) to work on an increased number of immune checkpoint modulator targets. Release

> SutroVax, a spinout of Sutro Biopharma, raised $22 million in Series A cash to support its work on vaccines for infectious diseases. Story

> Gilead Sciences ($GILD) is touting positive Phase III results in a study testing whether an in-development, one-pill combination of four HIV treatments can measure up to its blockbuster Viread. The trial met its main goal of noninferiority, and the new pill notched a statistically significant improvement in patients with lower viral loads. More

Medical Device News

@FierceMedDev: Oxford Nanopore reels in $109M to ramp up R&D. FierceDiagnostics story | Follow @FierceMedDev

@StacyALawrence: iHealth expands its retail, connected medical device empire and looks to move into. Report | Follow @StacyALawrence

@VarunSaxena2: UPDATED: St. Jude to buy Thoratec for $3.4B, will pair its heart pump with the cardioMEMs patient monitor. Story | Follow @VarunSaxena2

@EmilyWFierce: Nonprofit snags $5.2M grant to investigate U.S. drug pricing. FiercePharma article | Follow @EmilyWFierce

> Bard hit with FDA warning letter affecting its vena cava filters. Report

> Harvard Wyss Institute spins out apnea prevention startup MediCollector. Article

Pharma News

@FiercePharma: NIAID scientists one step closer to 'universal' flu vaccine. More | Follow @FiercePharma

@CarlyHFierce: Earnings season is better than Christmas. I mean, I actually like most things better than Christmas, but point still stands. | Follow @CarlyHFierce

> Bristol-Myers smashes Q2 as hep C meds rake in overseas sales. Story

> Eli Lilly's Q2 beats the Street as newer products, animal health buy pitch in. Article

Vaccines News

> Pfizer talks up 'comprehensive' vaccines business. Report

> Health officials detail need for $2B vaccines fund. Item

> NIAID scientists one step closer to 'universal' flu vaccine. Article

> SutroVax bags $22M Series A to develop vaccines for infectious diseases. Story

> Sanofi's dengue vaccine anticipated on profitability 'high end.' More

CRO News

> Biocon might spin out its CRO after taking it public. More

> Huntingdon and Harlan raise up to $125M to fund their future together. News

> PRA doubles down on the hunt for new R&D talent. Report

> Covance and LabCorp open a new R&D center to pool their expertise. Story

> AMRI bets $174M on manufacturing with latest buyout. Article

Pharma Manufacturing News

> Sun may only get 3 of Ranbaxy's 4 banned plants ready for U.S. market. Item

> Capsugel expanding plant in Scotland. More

> Lupin gets first U.S. manufacturing base with buyout of GAVIS. Report

> Patheon, DPx unload chemical operations to tighten focus on pharma. Story

> Sandoz gives Novartis a boost, but 3 plants still get the boot. Article

Pharma Asia News

> From the pharma C-suite: Novartis on Asia, emerging markets in Q2. Item

> Lee family victory in Samsung shareholder challenge sets stage for biologics ramp up. Report

> India's drug and CRO manufacturing travails gather pace as New Delhi calls on diplomats to help. Article

> Industry groups lobby against Japan reimbursement price cuts. Story

> China state-owned drug firms move to direct consumer sales, prescriptions next? More