Tranzyme signs research pact with BMS; Gilead takes its case for Cayston to advisory committee

> Tranzyme Pharma is picking up a $10 million upfront payment from its new research collaboration with Bristol-Myers Squibb. Another $3 million to $6 million is scheduled in near-term payments with up to $80 million for each new drug they discover and successfully develop. Story

> Faced with a 2008 rejection by the FDA, Gilead Sciences will make its case for Cayston to a federal advisory committee on Thursday. The inhaled antibiotic is designed to treat a lung infection associated with cystic fibrosis. Gilead adamantly maintains that late-stage data demonstrates a solid risk-benefit assessment in favor of the therapy. Report

> Diabetes leader Novo Nordisk has begun trials of a new insulin pill that could one day replace insulin shots. Story

> Octapharma announced that the FDA has approved wilate for the treatment of spontaneous and trauma-induced bleeding episodes in patients with all types of von Willebrand disease. Release

> Infinity Pharmaceuticals is promoting Adelene Perkins to CEO. Founder Steven Holtzman is staying on as fulltime executive chairman. Report

> Galapagos NV has received a milestone payment of EUR4 million in cash for the initiation of clinical Phase I development of the first small molecule candidate drug, GLPG0555, from its arthritis alliance with GlaxoSmithKline. Release

> Kuala Lumpur-based Inno Biologics Sdn Bhd has inked a strategic licensing agreement with Germany's Cevec Pharmaceuticals GmbH. Release

Pharma News:

> Following several quarters of sliding DTC ad spending, TNS Media Intelligence data shows that pharma DTC advertising rose to $1.16 billion, up 15 percent from the same period last year. That's a big jump, considering ad spending was down 6.4 percent during the first half of the year. Report

> More news from the American Society of Hematology meeting: In the first head-to-head comparison of Novartis' Tasigna and its older medicine Glivec (also known as Gleevec), Tasigna results showed statistically significant improvement over Glivec in every measure of efficacy, including major molecular response, complete cytogenetic response, and prevention of disease progression. Report

> Sen. Charles Grassley has sent letters to 33 industry groups--including the American Medical Association and American Cancer Society--requesting that the organizations reveal industry funding. The request is part of the Senate Finance Committee's ongoing probe into the influence pharma industry money may have on disease and medical advocacy organizations. Report

> Mylan Pharmaceuticals has entered into settlement and license agreements with Wyeth, now part of Pfizer, relating to venlafaxine HCl ER capsules in 37.5-, 75- and 150-mg strengths. The product is the generic version of Wyeth's Effexor XR capsules, a treatment for major depressive disorder. Mylan will be granted a non-exclusive license to the relevant patents that would permit it to launch the capsules in the U.S. on or after June 1, 2011--or earlier in limited circumstances. Report

Biotech Research News:

> As promised, the NIH approved 13 new embryonic stem cell lines for use in federally sponsored research work. The approval pushes past the demarcation line drawn by President George W. Bush more than eight years ago when he limited the use of federal dollars to a group of existing lines. Report

> For a start-up, Boston-based Aura Biosciences has been attracting considerable attention for its work on nano-sized hollow proteins that can be used to deliver cancer meds straight to their target. A few days ago, the World Economic Forum named Aura a Tech Pioneer, one of 26 technology companies that were recognized by the group. Report

> Few countries have been as badly stung by the financial crisis as the U.K., and its biotech industry has felt the lash. But the country is fighting back, pouring significant sums into its renowned research industry. And this week officials unveiled their design for a flagship, £600 million research center that will be built in London in the shape of a pair of chromosomes. Report

> A two-headed compound obtained from soil bacteria may lead to the production of the next generation of antibiotics, researchers in the UK report. The potent compound, called simocyclinone, shut down crucial bacterial enzymes in an unusual two-pronged attack--possibly reducing the potential for bacterial resistance, Chemistry World reports. Report

> A Chinese newspaper reports that the Inspur Group is teaming up with a genomics institute at the Chinese Academy of Sciences to develop a third-generation genome sequencing technology that can cut as much as 99 percent off the price of new sequencing projects. Report

> Investigators say that a new approach to inhibiting the hepatitis C virus worked amazingly well in a group of four chimpanzees. And now researchers have taken the therapy into the clinic for the first time, testing it in humans in a Phase I trial. Report

And Finally... New drugs, early detection and reduced risks have conspired to reduce the rate of cancer deaths and diagnoses in the U.S. Story