Shire wins fast-track for Gaucher's drug; Basilea wins support from NICE;

> Just days after the FDA moved to make an experimental therapy for Gauncher's disease available to patients cut off by a sudden interruption in the flow of an approved drug, the agency has provided fast-track status to Shire's experimental velaglucerase alfa. Release | Report

> Basilea Pharmaceutica won the support of the UK's National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence for Toctino as a treatment for severe chronic hand eczema. Release | Story

> Zogenix announced that the FDA has approved its NDA for Sumavel DosePro (sumatriptan injection) needle-free delivery system to treat acute migraine, with or without aura, and cluster headache. Zogenix release

> Switzerland's Axentis Pharma says that the FDA's Office of Orphan Products Development has granted a second orphan drug designation to its lead product candidate Fluidosomes-tobramycin. Release

> AstraZeneca and The Mental Health Research Institute in Melbourne, Australia, today announced that they have entered into a research collaboration agreement to develop new ways of identifying Alzheimer's disease patients at early stages of the disease. Release

Pharma News

> The drug industry may have won the day on its DTC tax break, but it has lost the fight against drug price controls. In the House healthcare reform bill unveiled yesterday is a provision that reinstates price controls on drugs bought by low-income seniors, Politico reports. Report

> Nycomed is apparently very, very interested in Solvay's drug unit. A Solvay deal would beef up Nycomed to about €6 billion ($8.4 billion) in sales. It would make the Swiss company more diversified, with drugs in the gastrointestinal, CNS, and cardiac areas. Report

> Not to be outdone by its neighbors, France has ordered a whopping 94 million doses of swine flu vaccine. The government plans to spend almost €1 billion on those doses--$1.4 billion--with contracts to homegrown Sanofi-Aventis as well as GlaxoSmithKline and Novartis. Report

> It's that time again: Earnings time. As you know, Johnson & Johnson and Abbott Laboratories reported earlier this week; today we have Baxter, Novartis, and Biogen Idec. Report

> Merck and Schering-Plough got out of 35 state investigations of the Enhance trial only $5.4 million poorer. Report

Vaccine News

> Novavax began this year--one of the rockiest in biotech history--with $22 million in convertible debt. But the last $5 million was paid off earlier in the week as the developer cleared the books of debt. Report

> San Diego-based Inovio BioMedical is touting the results of a new animal study for its DNA swine flu vaccine. A double-dose of the vaccine triggered protective antibody responses in 100 percent of the pigs tested. Report

> Novartis says it's using both a traditional egg-based as well as a cell-based approach in developing a new vaccine for swine flu. And the pharma giant says it expects to launch a clinical trial of a new jab before the end of the month as it racks up huge orders from countries around the globe. Report

> Faced with their first pandemic in four decades, health officials around the globe are scrambling to line up big supplies of a new vaccine in what is shaping up as a multibillion-dollar windfall for the world's biggest manufacturers. Report

And Finally... Experts have long feared that genetic tests could just make people fret about health risks they can't do anything about. But a new study shows that most people who get bad genetic news about their risk for Alzheimer's actually handle the situation pretty well. Story

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