Raptor buys failing TorreyPines; FDA staffers back Schering-Plough's Saphris;

> Raptor Pharmaceuticals announced a deal to buy TorreyPines Therapeutics, which said last May that it was preparing to liquidate. After the deal is complete, Raptor shareholders will own 95 percent of the combined company. Report

> Schering-Plough got a boost from FDA staffers who wrote that its new antipsychotic drug Saphris appears to be safe and works as expected. An advisory committee will meet on Thursday to review the therapy. Story

> San Diego-based BrainCells says its experimental therapy for depression demonstrated positive results in a clinical trial. The drug is designed to spur the development of new brain cells. Story

> The FDA has delayed approval of Shire's Intuniv, an extended release hyperactivity therapy, but the company says that it expects to complete talks about labeling and launch the drug by the end of this year. Report 

> Histogen reports that a clinical trial of its hair re-growth therapy demonstrated safety and efficacy. Histogen release

> Osiris Therapeutics has nailed a $750,000 milestone payment from the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation for progress made on a Phase II clinical trial evaluating Prochymal as a therapy for diabetes. Osiris release

> Tranzyme Pharma has won fast-track status for a new drug intended to treat an intestinal ailment. Report

> Acceleron has launched a second mid-stage study of ACE-011 for chemotherapy induced anemia. The drug is wrapping its first Phase II trial in multiple myeloma. Acceleron release

Pharma News

> The media brouhaha over potential manufacturing problems at a Mylan plant has brought out the FDA. The agency says it's a"routine" fact-finding mission, following up on news that employees at a West Virginia manufacturing facility may have violated government-mandated quality control procedures. Report

> The Philippines strikes back. President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo set price controls on two dozen drugs, including Pfizer's Norvasc, in a move expected to cut sales in the island nation by $146 million to $208 million, Reuters reports. Philippines report

> While pharma tunes up its advertising in support of healthcare reform, lawmakers are considering a little ad reform of their own. Yep, it's DTC regulation time, with Congressional reps eyeing everything from bans on certain ads to the tax deduction on pharma advertising. Report

> You've heard that drugmakers have funded a new Harry-and-Louise ad campaign for healthcare reform. You may have even seen some of the commercials. Well, get ready for lots more pharma-backed advertising--because the industry is considering ploughing $100 million or more into a campaign beginning as early as September, sources told Bloomberg. Story

Research News

> In an unprecedented laboratory feat, Chinese researchers have taken adult stem cells from mice and used them to breed new mice, a breakthrough that's being heralded as a fresh sign that the days of using fetal stem cells in research and the clinic is nearing an end. Report

> In an advancement could have profound consequences for labs engaged in cell engineering, a research team working in the lab of Harvard Professor George Church has created a new cell programming method dubbed Multiplex Automated Genome Engineering that gave them the ability to simultaneously 'edit' multiple genes. Report

> Determined to head off a swine flu pandemic that is once again inspiring widespread fear, the European Medicines Agency has cleared a fast track for the development of a new vaccine, doing away with the need for large-scale human trials. Report

And Finally... The FDA's accelerated approval program has done little to speed new cancer therapies through the research phase, according to a study funded by the National Cancer Institute. Report

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