Spotlight On... Ariad axes 90 staffers in ongoing reorg; Zosano chops staff, focuses on migraine program; Opko shares hit as FDA rejects drug; Denali in ALS research collaboration; and more...

Cambridge, MA-based Ariad Pharmaceuticals ($ARIA) is axing about 90 staffers--25% of its total workforce--in an ongoing restructuring of the business. The biotech is also reviewing its R&D portfolio and other aspects of the business, saying it plans to unveil more changes in Q2. Ariad says it is concentrating efforts around its once-suspended cancer drug Iclusig as well as the late-stage drug brigantinib. Brigantinib, its only other clinical asset, is in pivotal studies for non-small cell lung cancer. Ariad laid off 40% of its staff in 2013 when it was forced to yank its leukemia drug off the market. Release

@FierceBiotech: Pitt team redesigns an epilepsy drug, from FierceBiotechResearch. Item | Follow @FierceBiotech

@JohnCFierce: Sanofi-Genzyme helps cancer biotech ImmuneXcite close $8.6M financing round. News | Follow @JohnCFierce

> Fremont, CA-based Zosano Pharmaceuticals ($ZSAN) is cutting 24 staffers. "As a result of our focus on the ZP-Triptan program, we are restructuring the organization to manage our cash while creating value for the company by driving towards the completion of a near-term clinical milestone for ZP-Triptan such as the pivotal efficacy study," commented CEO Konstantinos Alataris. Release

> Opko Health ($OPK) shares slid 7% after the biotech reported that the FDA handed out a complete response letter rejecting its treatment for secondary hyperparathyroidism in patients with stage 3 or 4 chronic kidney disease and vitamin D insufficiency. The Miami-based biotech says the agency had problems with its third-party manufacturer. Release

> Denali Therapeutics has struck a deal to collaborate with the ALS Therapy Development Institute on researching new drugs. Release

> Pain Therapeutics ($PTIE) has resubmitted its NDA for Remoxy, an abuse-deterrent formulation of extended-release oxycodone (CII) capsules. Release

Medical Device News

@FierceMedDev: IYCMI: Theranos slammed again after new study points to testing flaws. Article | Follow @FierceMedDev

@EmilyWFierce: UPDATED: Astellas cancer med Xtandi draws fire as U.S. lawmakers demand a pricing hearing. FiercePharma story | Follow @EmilyWFierce

> CMS policy driving consensus around moderate use of Boston Scientific's Watchman: Survey. Story

Pharma News

@FiercePharma: Aduro, UC Berkeley team up in $7.5M immunotherapy and vaccine initiative. FierceVaccines story | Follow @FiercePharma

@EricPFierce: Construction begins on Novo Nordisk's first US, API plant and first outside of Denmark. FiercePharmaManufacturing story | Follow @EricPFierce

@CarlyHFierce: ICYMI: Shire scores a patent victory for Lialda, but Bass-spurred PTO review looms. Item | Follow @CarlyHFierce

> Valeant pitches deadline delays to creditors in debt rescue plan. Report

> Reuters: Turkish whistleblower accuses Novartis of bribing providers to boost scripts. More

> Novartis follows brand offloading trend, selling drugs in Japan to Sun. Article

Biotech Research News

> TSRI/Salk collaboration finds two unique enzymes that may control diabetes and inflammation. Item

> Johns Hopkins scientists help explain why cancer stem cells survive in low oxygen. Report

> Gene targeting reverses cardiac fibrosis in heart-failure models. Story

> Two-stage nanoparticle smart bomb targets lung, breast cancer cells. More

> Stanford team boosts human cells' resistance to viruses with discarded GSK drug. Article

Vaccines News

> Sanofi Pasteur releases early results from next-gen flu vax tech. Story

> Aduro, UC Berkeley team up in $7.5M immunotherapy and vaccine initiative. More

> GSK planning combo vax launches in India, report says. Article

> DOD awards UC Irvine $8M to develop Q fever vaccine. News

Pharma Marketing News

> Keryx anemia med Auryxia trounces placebo in study aimed at big new use. News

> Brand matters: Interbrand's best in pharma ranks Pfizer, Roche and Merck at top. More

> WPP Group buys CMI healthcare and pharma media agency. Report

> Gilead meds face little threat from hep C rivals Merck, BMS and AbbVie: analyst. Story

> Teva goes for the absurd in latest opioid addiction video series. Article

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