Vectura starts PhIII for COPD drug; $1B in cash grants available soon for small biotech;

 @FierceBiotech: Ignoring lawsuit, Bayer takes regorafenib into PhIII cancer study. Report | Follow @FierceBiotech 

 @JohnCFierce: A quick mental calculation gave me a $40M value on that CureVac round. But after the euro's fall, it's only $35M these days. | Follow @JohnCFierce

> Vectura Group has begun a Phase III clinical study by Novartis with QVA149, a once-daily, dry powder bronchodilator for inhalation combining a fixed dose of tindacaterol and the long-acting muscarinic antagonist glycopyrronium bromide to treat COPD. The start of Phase III triggers a $7.5m milestone payment to Vectura. Release

> The recently enacted healthcare reform legislation provides up to $1 billion in tax credits and cash grants for life sciences companies with 250 or fewer employees that have made or will make "qualified investments" in "qualifying therapeutic discovery projects" during 2009 and 2010. Credits and grants will be awarded through a competitive application process which is expected to commence on or before May 21, 2010. Report

> Pharmacyclics ranks first in Comtex SmarTrend's top-five list of biotechnology companies measured by lowest relative performance. Item

> CRO Encorium Group has recently been awarded $6.8 million of new business awards, primarily consisting of two Phase III studies for a major Asian technology company diversifying its operations into the pharmaceutical industry. Release

> Biotechnology drug developer Kamada announced that the FDA has awarded the commercial name "Glassia" for the company's intravenous AAT (Alpha-1 Antitrypsin) drug for congenital respiratory diseases. Report

> As the global pharmaceutical and biotechnology industry rushes to the emerging markets to set-up and develop new research & development hubs, the interest in the MENA region intensifies. Report

And Finally... A new study by researchers from McGill University and the University of British Columbia shows that mice, like humans, express pain through facial expressions. Report