Year-to-date biotech funding surpasses 2008; WHO likely to declare phase 6 pandemic today;

> After a slow first quarter, the amount of money raised by biotech companies so far this year has finally, for the first time in 2009, exceeded the amount raised year-to-date in 2008. The increase was driven largely by funds raised through public offerings in May. Report

> Neuromed Pharmaceuticals has received notification that Merck will terminate the research collaboration and license agreement for novel compounds targeting N-type calcium channels for the treatment of pain and other disorders, which the companies inked in 2006. Release

> ProCognia is keeping busy. The biotech firm has signed a collaboration agreement with Dutch company DC4U, and with three European universities, as well as inked a deal that includes collaboration, licensing and marketing agreements with Japan-based GP BioScience. Report

> Abbott CEO Miles White said he's not interested in a mega-merger, but he maintains a "bias" toward building the non-pharmaceutical side of the company's business and is still interested in mid-sized non-pharma acquisitions. Report

> Transcept Pharmaceuticals said the FDA has extended review of its NDA for sleep drug candidate Intermezzo for three months. The company expects a response from the FDA in October. Release

> Still riding the wave of excitement produced by data on its prostate cancer drug candidate, Dendreon entertained investors (and fans) from around the country at its annual meeting yesterday. CEO Mitch Gold says he has no plans of selling the company, but of course, would dutifully consider offers. Report

> Germany's Stada Arzneimittel is taking a closer look at acquisition targets it once regarded as too expensive as prices decline, Chairman Hartmut Retzlaff said today in a speech to shareholders in Frankfurt. M&A activity among its rivals has forced the company down to sixth in the ranking of the world's biggest generics makers. Report

> In exchange for undisclosed upfront and future milestone payments, Orexigen Therapeutics has secured non-exclusive rights to certain formulation patents from GlaxoSmithKline related to bupropion, one of the constituents of Contrave, its lead treatment candidate for obesity. Release

Vaccines News

> Looking to cultivate some expert assistance for on-the-ground vaccine research work, Novartis Vaccines and Diagnostics is partnering with the University of Siena to offer a unique, two-year Masters program covering the clinical development of vaccines for a group of doctors from developing countries. Report

> Vaccine teams for four of the world's largest vaccine manufacturers say they have the seed stock they need to develop a new swine flu vax for use this autumn. But the researchers add that they're still uncertain just how much of the growing demand for the vaccine can be met. Report

> GlaxoSmithKline has taken the wraps off its new, $600 million vaccine manufacturing plant in Singapore, which will produce jabs for a range of childhood diseases such as meningitis, pneumonia and blood poisoning. And the opening ceremony featured plenty of boasting. Glaxo chief Andrew Witty called the plant "possibly the best vaccine facility anywhere in the world." Report

Pharma News

> As promised, GlaxoSmithKline has begun cutting prices in emerging markets. Report

> Pfizer is actively scouting for deals to expand its generics business. Report

> Three more antipsychotic drugs may soon be marketed for kids and adolescents, if an FDA advisory panel's recommendation is adopted by the agency. Report

> Industry is lining up against that controversial public health plan proposed as part of wholesale U.S. healthcare reform. Yesterday, top execs of Eli Lilly and Merck both called the public option a mistake. Report

> Once again, a drug-related legal battle stands to change the business landscape. The Supreme Court may hear a pharma case--namely, a court fight over data-mining--that could revamp the way all sorts of businesses gather and use consumer information, BusinessWeek reports. Report

And Finally... There's widespread expectation that the World Health Organization will declare a phase 6 pandemic alert this morning--the first such warning since 1968. But you can also expect the WHO's health experts to spend a considerable amount of time and effort reassuring the globe that this is not the deadly viral outbreak that has worried governments for generations. And vaccine developers are already well on the way to developing new jabs that guard against the new flu. Report

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