Tobacco plant used to develop new vaccine; Covance closes on Merck deal;

> Scientists say they were able to develop a new vaccine for the common norovirus from a tobacco plant. Report

> Covance has closed on its five-year deal to supply genomic analysis services to Merck. The $145 million deal includes Covance's acquisition of Merck's Seattle-based Gene Expression Laboratory. Story

> Some positive developments on the generic drug front have been pushing up the value of Par Pharmaceuticals' shares. Report

Pharma News

> In a strike against GlaxoSmithKline's Avandia, a new study found that it carries more heart risks than rival Actos. Report

> The latest issue of JAMA delivered a mixed blessing to Merck's Gardasil. In a headliner study published by the Journal of the American Medical Association, the side effects of the human papillomavirus shot were deemed reasonable. And another JAMA study dropped a bombshell: Merck gave money to three medical societies to fund their promotion of Gardasil. Report

> It looks as if pharmacy benefits managers are going to have to 'fess up to their deals with drugmakers one way or another. Either the government will force PBMs to disclose what they pay for drugs and what they charge insurers--and to tell all about rebate deals with drugmakers. Report

> Apparently word on the street is confirming initial suspicions that Abbott Laboratories' Niaspan outperformed the Merck/Schering-Plough med Zetia in a study that was abruptly called to a halt last month. Report

> In a landmark case that has sparked a heated debate about patent linkage in India, Delhi's high court today threw out Bayer's petition to block Indian generics maker Cipla from gaining regulatory approval for its version of Bayer's patented kidney cancer drug Nexavar (sorefenib tosylate). Report

Manufacturing News

> Biosante just announced that its BioVant adjuvant increased the protective effect of vaccines for multiple flu strains, including a potential swine flu vaccine, yielding 100 percent protection from symptoms of illness. Report

> Following the lead of freight carriers and logistics providers, IT vendors are targeting the growing need for cold storage and transport. In at least one case, vendors are delivering a one-two punch in the form of cold chain management coupled with track-and-trace systems for establishing drug pedigree. Report

> Netherlands-based drug-delivery specialist OctoPlus will perform formulation development and clinical manufacturing for an unnamed mid-sized European drug maker. The work encompasses three products, now in Phase I to Phase III clinical development. Report

And Finally... OK, we tapped out of biotech news, so this will have to do. A new mathematical model proves that the best way to fight a zombie attack is with wave after wave of military assaults. Report