Immunogen shelves development plans for cancer compound; Oscient slashes marketing staff;

> Finding it hard to find patients for a clinical trial, Immunogen says that it is discontinuing its development program for the gastric cancer drug IMGN242 and plans to try and out-license the compound. "We believe that the best course of action is for IMGN242 to be advanced by a company with the appropriate profile for successfully developing a therapeutic for gastric cancer and for us to focus on the many other opportunities in our pipeline," said Chief Executive Daniel Junius. Immunogen shares dipped on the news. Release | Report

> Waltham, MA-based Oscient Pharmaceuticals is cutting its sales force by 150 and will slash another 30 jobs along with them as the biotech company cuts its costs. Oscient says it will drop direct sales efforts for its two bronchitis therapies. Release | Story

> Ardea Biosciences says its interim data indicates that its lead drug performed well in a mid-stage study for gout and hyperuricemia. Release

> Marlborough, MA-based Exact Sciences says that it has raised $8.2 million in a private placement and forged a collaboration deal with the Mayo Clinic. Release

> The board of directors of Plymouth Meeting, PA-based Genaera voted to follow through with plans to liquidate the company. Shareholders voted in favor of liquidation last week. Release

> Canada's Ibex Technologies says that it's reviewing "strategic initiatives" for the company. There's no precise word on what those initiatives might be, but typically it involves prospective financing deals, a merger, pact or sale. Report

> Opko Health has acquired one third of the common shares of Sorrento Therapeutics, which develops antibodies. Report

Pharma News

> Congratulations, FDA. You now have the dubious honor of regulating tobacco. FDA report

> If you thought pharma's patent-cliff problem was tough, wait till you see what public-sector changes and economic troubles have in store. Report

> Eli Lilly prodded doctors to prescribe Zyprexa for dementia patients even though it had data showing the drug didn't help those patients, Bloomberg reports, based on internal company documents made public as part of a lawsuit. Report

> Forget the proxy fight. Elan decided to bypass the wrangle and simply appoint two dissidents to its board voluntarily. Elan report

> GlaxoSmithKline is butting heads with the Russian government over the price of HIV meds. The government wants a 15 percent discount off its current pricing deal; Glaxo says cutting the price that much would leave margins too slim. GSK article

And Finally... San Diego-based Illumina has just cut the price of full genome sequencing in half, down to the bargain basement price of $48,000. Experts say that if you can wait a couple of years the price will be about $1,000. Story

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