Icagen shares jump after Pfizer extends development pact; Incyte psoriasis drug positive in mid-stage trial;

> Icagen has inked a deal to extend its collaboration with Pfizer for another year, which sparked a 28 percent jump in its share price. As part of the deal Pfizer will provide Icagen--which has programs for epilepsy, pain and inflammation--with about $5 million for research costs. Icagen also stands to gain up to $359 million in milestones for any new drugs developed. Report

> Shares of Incyte shot up 14 percent on the news that its experimental psoriasis drug proved effective in a mid-stage trial. Story

> Spectrum Pharmaceuticals plans to raise $50 million through a direct offering of common shares and warrants. Story

> A mid-stage trial of a new therapy for late-stage Parkinson's disease produced promising results, according to Impax Laboratories. Report

> Scientists have unveiled two new blood tests that can be used to detect stomach and colon cancers. Report

> Maxygen has wrapped up a previously announced joint venture agreement with Astellas to establish a newly-formed joint venture, Perseid Therapeutics, to focus on the discovery, research and development of multiple protein pharmaceutical programs. Release

Pharma News

> Private equity firms are circling Martindale Pharmaceuticals, the U.K.'s leading maker of methadone. Put up for sale by its U.S. parent Cardinal Health with a price of about £150 million ($242 million), Martindale is on the block in an auction run by Morgan Stanley. Article

> A U.K. drugmaker could find itself in the center of a bidding war. Generics maker Goldshield Group faces a bitter takeover battle, as managers work up a counterbid to last week's £162 million ($262 million) offer led by ex-CEO Ajit Patel. Article

> Merck is doing the old wink-wink, nudge-nudge on joining its animal-health forces with Sanofi-Aventis, after merging with Schering-Plough, of course. Article

> More signs of manufacturing trouble at Apotex. The generics maker is recalling lots of three drugs in Canada. Article

Biotech IT News

> Phase Forward has contracted BMC Software to manage virtual machines in a datacenter running applications that support hosted clinical trials and data capture and management. Article

> The 2009 Edition of the DDI Predict software application targets risk assessment of drug-drug interactions, including those involving multiple enzymatic pathways. Recent DDIs have caused adverse events leading to removal of drugs from the market, says Paris-based Aureus Pharma. Article

> Genedata has unveiled Expressionist 5.3, which emphasizes capabilities for transcriptomics-based biomarker discovery for drug profiling and patient selection. Article

And Finally... The U.S. Chamber of Commerce is offering companies some guidance on how to handle the coming flu season, which could trigger a crippling case of absenteeism. Report