Group nears synthetic biotech code; Biopharma: Innovating to extinction?;

> Curemark is conducting clinical trials at the Southwest Autism and Resource Center in Phoenix and 11 other sites across the U.S. on a treatment that helps children digest proteins. Story

> Wilmington cancer researchers have received a second round of federal funding to address the disease's unequal burden on minority and underserved groups. New Hanover Regional Medical Center's Zimmer Cancer Center will get nearly $2 million during the next five years from a National Cancer Institute program. Report

> The International Association of Synthetic Biology says that it's close to completing a code of conduct that would cover ethics, biosafety, and biosecurity aspects of gene synthesis. Article

Pharma News

> Is the biopharma industry innovating itself to extinction? Report

> Roche CEO Severin Schwan is confident his company will outpace the market this year, as well as hit its 2009 sales goal, according to Swiss paper Handelszeitung. Article

> Prescriptions for Merck's cholesterol drug Zetia drop as Niaspan rises. Article

> The U.K.'s cost-effectiveness watchdog has struck another blow against high-priced cancer meds. The National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence has deemed Roche's Avastin too expensive for use in bowel cancer patients on the National Health Service. The rejection comes even after Roche offered to subsidize treatment with the drug. Report

> The hubbub over this week's DTC advertising study would be more convincing if it had looked at more drugs than just one, writes Jim Edwards at BNet Pharma. Report

Research News

> Data from a 12-month Phase II stem cell study showed the first evidence that transplanting a potent form of adult stem cells into the heart muscle of subjects with severe angina results in less pain and an improved ability to walk, according to a Northwestern University report. Report

> Pfizer and the Drugs for Neglected Diseases initiative (DNDi) recently announced that they have signed an agreement that will potentially lead to the discovery of compounds to treat human African trypanosomiasis (HAT), visceral leishmaniasis (VL) and Chagas disease--all of which afflict vulnerable populations in the developing world. Report

> Personal genomics company Knome has launched KnomeDISCOVERY, a fully integrated human genome sequencing and data processing service for researchers. Report

And Finally... UCLA researchers have developed a nano device that can capture circulating cancer cells (CTCs) in a patient's blood. The new nano "fly paper" can grab cancer cells that have broken off from tumors, giving healthcare providers valuable information, from diagnosis to monitoring treatment effectiveness. Report