MAP announces FDA decision on Levadex study; Sanofi unit, KaloBios to partner on anti-infective;

> MAP Pharmaceuticals has announced that the FDA has informed it that a second pivotal efficacy study is not required for the Levadex NDA submission for the acute treatment of migraine. Release

> Sanofi Pasteur, the vaccine unit of French drugmaker Sanofi Aventis, said Monday it entered in an agreement with KaloBios Pharmaceuticals of the U.S. to develop a treatment for nosocomial infections. Story

> Alnylam Pharmaceuticals CEO John Maraganore had a snappy greeting ready for our first conversation of 2010. "Happy RNA Decade," Maraganore said. For the sake of his Cambridge, MA-based company, Maraganore is wagering that this will be the decade in which scientific seeds of RNA-based therapies start to fulfill their potential. Report

> Celgene expects to file for U.S. and European regulatory approval for treating newly diagnosed multiple myeloma patients with its flagship blood cancer drug in the second half of 2010. Story

> Idenix Pharmaceuticals reported positive movement in three of its hepatitis C drug development programs, sending its shares up as much as 17 percent. Story

Pharma News

> Sanofi-Aventis is slashing prices of some of its leading meds for patients in Southeast Asia, as it turns to emerging markets for growth. By making the medicines more accessible to poor patients, CEO Chris Viehbacher hopes to boost volume--and regional revenues--in the process. Story

> The U.S. government wants less than half of the swine flu vaccine it originally sought from CSL and is joining countries such as France and Germany in canceling orders amid waning public concern about the influenza pandemic. Report

> Think the pharma mega-merger trend is over? Think again. Some analysts and money men are saying that the drug industry is still ripe for consolidation. After all, no one company has more than 8 percent of the global market for prescription drugs. Story

> A handful of drugs have increased in price dramatically over the last few years--so much so that the U.S. Government Accountability office investigated. The GAO's conclusion? Some 416 branded meds saw their prices jump by 100 percent at least once between 2000 and 2008. Report

> News about post-merger layoffs continues to trickle out. The latest: Pfizer is cutting 680 jobs in Collegeville and Great Valley, Pennsylvania--from a total of 4,500 workers at those sites, the Philadelphia Inquirer reports. That's a 15 percent cut--the same percentage that Pfizer announced it would cut from its workforce globally. The Pennsylvania layoffs will take effect in two months, on March 12. Story

> Pfizer and Stanford University are teaming up to develop new CME courses. That's nothing new; drug companies fund new CME all the time. What is new is that Stanford will use $3 million in Pfizer funding specifically to develop CME that's free of any and all pharma industry influence. Report

Biotech IT News

> Use of DNA variations as an indicator of patient response to medicines is one study underway that taps the newly available Vanderbilt University DNA databank, BioVU. Report

> A combination of OntheFly annotation software, the Reflect text-mining web service, and the ProMiner terminology-recognition tool has yielded a 50 percent increase in the productivity of Jackson Laboratory staff indexers for certain curation tasks. Story

> Data processing and bioinformatics may become bottlenecks as the need grows to assemble and compare large numbers of genomes, says Xconomist in a list of five transformational biotechnologies of the future. The 10,000 times cost drop in human genome sequencing is just one indicator of what's to come. Report

> It took the headquarters installation of a server and relational database--plus computers at nine remote sites powered by solar panels to substitute for a power grid--to provide a project database for a struggling malaria tracking project in Uganda. Story

> The U.S. Food and Drug Administration continues its build-out of software capabilities for the evaluation of drug candidates. Software maker Pharsight has delivered two data analysis tools to the regulator: Phoenix NLME and Phoenix Connect, deliverables under an ongoing cooperative research and development agreement with CDER. Report

> Finding no commercial solutions matching its biologics R&D needs, Bayer Schering Pharma R&D will spend the next several years collaborating with software maker Genedata to create a biologics data platform. Story

And Finally... A urine test that can differentiate between dangerous and safe snoring is possible, say researchers at the University of Chicago. Story