Gates channels $16.8M to Maryland HIV vax research; Marin County notices biotech resurgence;

 @FierceBiotech: Struggling Intercell replaces its CEO. Item | Follow @FierceBiotech 

 @JohnCFierce: Pfizer may still do bolt-ons: "pain, or in women's health, or in the vaccine area, or in oncology" Follow @JohnCFierce

> Maryland School of Medicine's Institute of Human Virology gained $23.4 million in grant funding, primarily from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation for its work on a preclinical HIV vaccine. The vaccine targets HIV-1 strains. The Gates Foundation provided $16.8 million of the total grants. News

> Irish biotech Opsona has received €5.9 million in funding from the European Commission for its efforts to combat organ loss in kidney transplant patients. The company plans to start Phase I trials of its therapy, OPN-305, this summer. Article

> Although Florida is a burgeoning hot spot for biotech, Marin County, CA has seen an economic boost from the industry as well. It's still in the early stages, but some job growth and fewer corporate vacancies are good signs of an upswing. Item

> Athersys has announced it will start its first MultiStem clinical trial for stroke patients by the end of 2011. The Cleveland-based company hopes to have as many as 150 patients enrolled in the stem cell treatment trial. Report

> Charlottesville, VA-based Phthisis Diagnostics has received the first funding from Piedmont Angel Network's PAN 3 fund for its DNA sample collection and pathogen detection work. PAN 3 awarded the company $200,000 to start out, with another $225,000 available if the company hits revenue goals. Story

Pharma News

@FiercePharma: Garnier pledges active role on Actelion board. News | Follow @FiercePharma

> Canada bars Biovail founder Melnyk from executive office. Story

> Will Novartis, BMS offer NICE a deal on leukemia meds? Report

And Finally... Birth control pills or hormone replacement therapy could prevent future strokes, according to a new study. But researchers are already calling for broader investigations before taking the findings into consideration. Report