Neuralstem gets FDA nod for ALS stem cell trial; Gene therapy startup reels in $2.5M in seed money;

 @FierceBiotech: Alkernes announces positive PhII results for antiepressant ALKS 5461. More | Follow @FierceBiotech

 @RyanMFierce: Top 10 Biotech IT Investments in the past year. Special Report | Follow @RyanMFierce

> Neuralstem ($CUR) has received FDA approval to begin a Phase II trial using NSI-566 spinal cord-derived human neural stem cells to treat amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), also known as Lou Gehrig 's disease. Release

> Almirall and partner Forest Laboratories ($FRX) reported that its combo therapy met the co-primary endpoints in a Phase III trial to treat chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). Item

> Gene therapy startup BEATBio has closed on $2.5 million seed stage investment. Release

> Agila Biotech has struck a joint venture deal with Pfenex to develop a pipeline of six biosimilar products. News

> The FDA has approved a New Drug Application for BioAlliance Pharma's drug Sitavig acyclovir Lauriad to treat recurrent orofacial herpes. Item

> Santarus (SNTS) and Pharming Group submitted a Biologics License Application to the FDA for permission to market Ruconest (recombinant human C1 esterase inhibitor), an investigational drug for the treatment of acute angioedema attacks in patients with hereditary angioedema. Release

Medical Device News

 @FierceMedDev: Post-pharma Abbott soars on Dx, struggles with devices. Article | Follow @FierceMedDev

 @MarkHFierce: Rather than sell its healthcare division outright, Panasonic is now looking for an investor. More | Follow @MarkHFierce

 @DamianFierce: The first quarter wasn't all that kind to St. Jude, but the company still believes it can chart a big 2013. Story | Follow @DamianFierce

> For J&J, a hip lawsuit trial victory. More

> Baxter warned for marketing infusion pump minus PMA. Item

> Quest's Q1 2013 numbers dip, as expected. Article

Pharma News

 @FiercePharma: U.S. lawmakers introduce "dual-eligibles" bill to hike rebates on drugs for low-income Medicare patients. More | Follow @FiercePharma

 @EricPFierce: FDA decision on OxyContin tough for some drugmakers but a boost for others. Article | Follow @EricPFierce

> Amgen to pay $25M to wrap up Aranesp kickbacks case. Article

> Dual-eligibles bill sets up another pharma fight over Medicare rebates. More

> Vivus revs up new Qsymia sales plan after FDA removes a roadblock. Story

Biomarkers News

> Scientists use fMRI, neurological pattern to diagnose pain. Item

> Presence of certain bacteria could indicate dangerous infant disorder. More

> Biomarker could help guide treatment for aggressive breast cancer. Report

> Discovery: Thousands of genes mark schizophrenia risk. Article

> Biomarker for liver problems also predicts lung cancer likelihood. Story

Drug Delivery News

 @MichaelGFierce: UCLA team uses diamonds to tackle tricky form of breast cancer. Report | Follow @MichaelGFierce

> Inner-ear drug delivery draws $50.6M for Auris Medical. Story

> Delivery nanotech gives RNAi potential a boost. More

> Novaliq pulls in $18.1M for ocular delivery tech. News

> Self-propelled 'microrockets' carry drugs in active delivery approach. Article

> BIND Therapeutics completes PhI trial of first Accurin cancer drug. Item

And Finally… Sage Therapeutics is shifting gears and turning its attention on a rare form of epilepsy. Article

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