Spotlight On... NewLink jump-starts a Zika vaccine program as virus spreads; Carbylan osteoarthritis PhIII hits one endpoint, misses another; Nimbus' NASH drug gets on the FDA fast track; and more...

NewLink Genetics ($NLNK), which partnered with Merck ($MRK) on a promising Ebola program, has joined the incipient race to find a vaccine that can be used to combat the recent spread of the Zika virus. Inovio, Hawaii Biotech and other small biotechs have already piled in. "NewLink Genetics is committed to developing a vaccine solution to the tragedy of the Zika virus disease," said Thomas Monath, the CSO at NewLink. "Our R&D group has decades of experience in developing successful vaccines against closely-related flaviviruses, which we will leverage to accelerate our Zika vaccine program." Its shares jumped 5% this morning. Release

@FierceBiotech: Backed by J&J and Glaxo, veteran VC group splits from Index, unveils $227M fund. Report | Follow @FierceBiotech

@JohnCFierce: Trending: Will Zika frenzy fuel an overnight vaccine R&D miracle? Don't bet on it. More | Follow @JohnCFierce

@DamianFierce: the only thing I miss about working at a newspaper is election night pizza. | Follow @DamianFierce

> Palo Alto, CA-based Carbylan Therapeutics ($CBYL) says its Phase III study of Hydros-TA, a proprietary formulation of hyaluronic acid, hit one of two endpoints in treating osteoarthritis pain. Release

> Nimbus Therapeutics won the FDA's fast track designation for NDI-010976, an in-development treatment for the liver disease NASH. The drug is slated to enter Phase II in the first half of this year, the company said, and the fast-track tag guarantees Nimbus more access to agency officials throughout the development process. More

> The Dana-Farber Cancer Institute partnered with Array BioPharma ($ARRY) to collaborate in the field of immuno-oncology. News

Medical Device News

@FierceMedDev: ICYMI yesterday: IBM Watson, AHA and Welltok to develop workplace heart health program. Article | Follow @FierceMedDev

@VarunSaxena2: Updated w analyst info: Stryker to buy disposable device maker for $2.8B to reduce hospital-acquired infections. Report | Follow @VarunSaxena2

@EmilyWFierce: Roche sees no 'short term' pricing pressure for company's cancer drugs: Reuters. FiercePharma story | Follow @EmilyWFierce

> Med tech shops around for cost-cutting deals amid increased demand from hospitals. Report

> At Baxter, Covidien's Almeida looks to cut costs, fuel innovation and do smaller acquisitions. Story

> Swiss contract manufacturer diversifies into med tech via $895M acquisition of Creganna Medical. Article

Pharma News

@FiercePharma: Roche expects April price cut for Avastin in Japan where Tamiflu sales also hit. FiercePharmaAsia story | Follow @FiercePharma

@CarlyHFierce: ICYMI yesterday: Don't expect a generics-style smackdown from Remicade biosims, J&J CEO says. Article | Follow @CarlyHFierce

> Pfizer Q4 beats on Prevnar surge, but 2016 guidance disappoints. Story

> Looking to save $1.6B, Sanofi starts with 500-plus job cuts in France. Article

Pharma Manufacturing News

> Troubled Sun Pharma manages U.S. launch of copy of blockbuster Gleevec. Report

> Teva U.K. plant cuts 80 jobs as drugmaker looks for higher skilled workers. News

> CDMO Vetter finishes IT upgrade at German facility. Story

> FDA hands Wockhardt and Ipca more disappointing news. Article

> Allergan CEO suggests expanded Texas plant may be in store for more jobs. More

Drug Delivery News

> Mercator launches microinfusion catheter trial for below-the-knee ischemia. More

> New CRISPR/Cas9 delivery method could offer a clinical pathway. Report

> FDA approves the first extended-release orally disintegrating tablet for ADHD. Item

> Dr. Reddy's wins approval for injectable generic to treat migraines. Story

> Aprecia completes $35M financing to support launch of the first 3-D printed medication. Article

Pharma Asia News

> BMS details new Japan hit to hep C sales. Item

> India's Sun Pharmaceutical meets Feb. 1 deadline for U.S. imatinib launch. More

> Management moves to take Nasdaq-listed Sinovac Biotech private in growing trend. Report

> China's Qiming's fifth U.S. dollar venture fund clocks in at $648 million in commitments. Story

> Amgen says it's awaiting reimbursement details after Japan Repatha nod. Article

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