Maxygen transfers R&D assets to new JV; AMAG shares jump on FDA approval;

> Maxygen and Astellas Pharma are forming a joint venture to advance experimental protein pharmaceuticals through the pipeline. Maxygen and Astellas will each contribute $10 million with Maxygen handing over virtually all of its protein pharmaceutical technology in the JV. After the venture is set up, Maxygen's CEO, CFO and COO will leave the company, and Maxygen will be left with an 83 percent stake in the new developer. Astellas gains an option to buy the venture in three years. Maxygen release

> Shares of AMAG Pharmaceuticals jumped on the news that the FDA has approved Feraheme, a new anemia therapy. The approval comes after two information requests from the FDA. AMAG says it will now market the treatment through its commercial arm. Its shot jumped four percent on the news. Story

> Shares of Vical got a boost on Tuesday after the developer said its swine flu jab sailed through an animal study with positive results. Its stock shot up 20 percent on the news that the vaccine is ready for a human study as it marches into the clinic in record time. FV

> Pozen has filed for an approval of a new pain drug, which will trigger a $10 million milestone from AstraZeneca. Report

> Exton, PA-based Morphotek has struck a research collaboration agreement with Synageva BioPharma to express and develop therapeutic monoclonal antibodies for various forms of cancer and infectious disease. Release

> Pharming says it is on schedule to file a new marketing application for its lead therapy Rhucin. The EMEA has twice rejected the therapy. Story

Pharma News

> Which pharma is the most profitable? You might be surprised. A new analysis of net margins by EvaluatePharma tagged companies for profitability, and the winner wasn't one of the biggies. Not Pfizer, not Johnson & Johnson... but PDL BioPharma. Report

> Once again, Pfizer calls an early halt to Sutent research--and it's not good news. Sutent report

> Here's a ban that could be a real pain for drugmakers: An FDA advisory panel voted in favor of pulling the narcotic combo drugs Percocet and Vicodin, seven other acetaminophen/narcotic combos, and all their generic equivalents. Report

> Quick, what's at the top of the list for comparative-effectiveness research? Those expensive biologic anti-inflammatory meds, namely Enbrel (Amgen and Wyeth), Remicade and Simponi (Johnson & Johnson and Schering-Plough) and Humira (Abbott Laboratories). Report

Manufacturing News

> The recent UPS supply chain survey, which found that 36 percent of pharmaceutical and biotech respondents say they are "highly concerned" about product tampering or counterfeiting--fourth place among choices provided--is likely due to the fact that the bulk of the problem still resides in under-developed countries, says Bill Hook, UPS VP for healthcare logistics global strategy. "It came in a little higher than I expected," he says. Report

> As the first U.S. doses of government-contracted H1N1 swine flu vaccine were produced last week-via egg-less insect cell technology-the FDA reminds the public to be wary of Internet sites and other promotions for products that claim to diagnose, prevent, treat or cure the virus. Report

> The decontamination of a Boston-area Genzyme plant due to a virus in a bioreactor will take longer than expected, the company says, extending the rationing of the two drugs made there. Report

> Continued violations of good manufacturing practices have led to the seizure of 33 medications and drug ingredients at plants in Michigan, the FDA says. Report

> A single-use benchtop bioreactor ready to use out of the box is expected to launch next month, according to Massachusetts manufacturer Millipore. The 3-liter CellReady Bioreactor is part of the company's Mobius line. Report

And Finally... Health officials in Buenos Aires, Argentina have declared a health emergency as it mounts a new effort to fight an outbreak of swine flu that has killed at least 26 people in the country. Story