Judith Britz to direct Maryland Biotechnology Center; EU asks for more time to review Abbott-Solvay merger;

> The state's biotech entrepreneurs and scientists have one of their own to lead them. Judith Britz, a scientist, academician and entrepreneur, has been named executive director of the Maryland Biotechnology Center by Gov. Martin O'Malley (D). The center was launched in the fall with offices in Baltimore and Rockville. Report

> EU regulators extended their review of U.S. drugmaker Abbott Laboratories' plan to acquire Belgian peer Solvay Pharmaceuticals after Abbott offered remedies to ease competition concerns. Report

> Neoprobe has been hanging on for 26 years--two of them profitable--losing a cumulative $192 million. But for the second time, the company is on the brink of a breakthrough, awaiting the blessing for one of its products from the FDA--which has said no before. Story

> Caprion Proteomics a provider of proteomics-based service to the pharma and biotech industries, has acquired the biomarker services unit of PPD. No financial terms were disclosed. Caprion Proteomics is a portfolio company of Great Point Partners. Release

> Abbott Laboratories has not yet completed its acquisition of StarLIMS Technologies and it is already hungry to buy more Israeli companies. Story

Pharma News

> Here's a test case for you: Procter & Gamble is launching a social media initiative for Prilosec as part of its bid to maintain the drug's leadership position in an increasingly crowded market. Report

> While pharma types do list Russia among the emerging markets they hope to tap, there's not been much public discussion about the vagaries of selling drugs in that country. Story

> In a chat with the WSJ Health Blog, GSK's Andrew Witty says he's not interested in big deals, despite the advantages big buyers often cite, such as doubling up pipelines or deepening expertise in particular treatment areas. Report

> Genzyme has been something of a Bad News Bear recently, as manufacturing troubles continue to plague its Boston-area plant, and some key investors have been agitating for changes at the company--even calling for the resignation of CEO Henri Termeer. Story

> There's always a lot of talk about just how effective DTC advertising is--or isn't. Well, Manhattan Research has released a report examining one variable in the effectiveness equation: How many people check out a product website on the prompting of a DTC ad? Report

> More diet pill news today, and it's not encouraging. European regulators say Abbott Laboratories' Meridia drug should be suspended because of associated risks of stroke and heart attack. Story

And Finally... Some viruses may be able to accelerate around the body by helping each other find uninfected cells to attack, scientists say. Story