Nuvo, partner win FDA approval; Metabolex garners $8.6M in new venture financing;

> The FDA has approved a new osteoarthritis therapy developed by Covidien and Nuvo Research. The non-steroidal anti-inflammatory Pennsaid will be marketed for osteoarthritis symptoms in the knee. Nuvo owns the IP on the product and Covidien will handle commercialization in the U.S. They're looking to launch in the first half of the year. Story

> Hayward, CA-based Metabolex says it has rounded up an additional $8.6 million in venture financing. Release

> Hit by the sudden loss of a partner, Johnson & Johnson, the Belgian diagnostics company OncoMethylome says that it is refocusing its business. Its shares slid to a six-month low. Story

Pharma News

> Funny that some U.S. pharma companies are eyeing Japan as a growth market, considering that Japanese drugmakers are looking to grow everywhere but home. Japan report

> Pfizer faces legal battles in a couple of quarters, one set inherited from the newly acquired Wyeth. In the second Prempro development in three days, a Philadelphia jury reportedly gave $75 million in punitive damages to a woman who developed cancer after taking the hormone replacement therapy. Report

> The Merckle family counts itself content. Via its investment vehicle VEM, the family has been accepting bids for German generics maker Ratiopharm. And not only was the family surprised by the number of offers, but "very satisfied" with the bids themselves. Article

> Maybe Merck CEO Dick Clark learned something about PR from Sanofi-Aventis chief Chris Viehbacher. Like Viehbacher last weekend, Clark gave interviews to several news outlets yesterday, dispensing a different bit of news to each. Merck report

> In a move that highlights the FDA's stated focus on public health, the agency is mounting a campaign to fight "preventable" injuries from medication mistakes and misuse. Report

Vaccine News

> Big Pharma is mapping out a global vaccine strategy. Article

And Finally... Millions of women who carry the human papillomavirus suffer from lesions in precancerous tissue. But a small study indicates that an HPV vaccine may either improve their condition or cure it altogether, preventing malignancies in the vulva. Article