Stryker launches spinal tech; Covidien moves toward drug spinoff;

 @FierceMedDev: Intuitive slides as doc group slams robotic surgery 'hype.' More | Follow @FierceMedDev

 @MarkHFierce: A brain Dx would measure tumor DNA to gauge how advanced breast cancer patients are responding to drugs. Article | Follow @MarkHFierce

 @DamianFierce: Illumina has to fork over $96 million in a patent suit over sequencing. Story | Follow @DamianFierce

> Stryker ($SYK) is expanding its spinal offerings with the launch of the ES2 Spinal System for minimally invasive orthopedic surgery. News

> Cardiovascular Systems ($CSII) has submitted the final portion of an FDA application for its orbital atherectomy system, designed to treat calcified coronary arteries. More

> Covidien ($COV) is well on its way to spinning out drug unit Mallinckrodt by mid-year, announcing nominees for the new company's board of directors. Item

> Diagnostics outfit Evogen has signed a deal that allows Quest Diagnostics ($DGX) to use the company's HyBeacons PCR technology in infectious disease assays. Release

> Neuralstem, a company developing a drug delivery device for the spinal cord, narrowed its losses last year and plans to push its clinical programs forward in 2013. Results

> Biomet CEO Jeff Binder sat down with Mass Device to discuss the present and future of the orthopedics industry. Interview

Biotech News

 @FierceBiotech: Novartis grabs FDA's coveted 'breakthrough' status for lung cancer drug. More | Follow @FierceBiotech

@JohnCFierce: Tillman Gerngross (Adimab) has a new biotech startup, Avitide, a service company: More | Follow @JohnCFierce

@RyanMFierce: Merck hit with delay on FDA review of top drug prospect. Article | Follow @RyanMFierce

> Biotech Chimerix reveals ex-Pharmasset recruit after unveiling $85M IPO plan. Report

Pharma News

@FiercePharma: Claris injectables unit seen as M&A target for Teva, Pfizer, now that Mylan has Agila Specialties. More | Follow @FiercePharma

@EricPFierce: FDA acts quickly to assess potential cancer risks of Type 2 diabetes drugs, Merck's Januvia, Bristol-Myers Squibb's Byetta. Story | Follow @EricPFierce

> Pfizer's Read gets small raise in tough year. Article

> Generic drugmakers concerned over FDA turmoil. More