This Week’s Biotech Highlights

Here are the ins and outs of biotech this past week:

As far as Merck was concerned, Xenon Pharmaceuticals was in, with a new deal that has Merck providing R&D funding for new small-molecule cardiovascular drugs and getting an option on any output. Neuromed was out, with Merck pulling out of a collaboration looking for NCE’s targeting N-type calcium channels.

Online medical resources are in, with new offerings from the Canadian Medical Association for patients with diabetes and an information upgrade from the Ontario Hospital Association at But the Ontario Health Quality Council’s 2009 Annual Report showed that electronic medical records were still out, reporting that compared to other jurisdictions, Ontario lags when it comes to EMR adoption .

An FTC report on the economics of biosimilars provided support for the proposition that shortened exclusivity periods should be in, but argued that pay-for-delay deals should be out.

Sodium fluoride isotopes for bone scans were in, with Sherbrooke University Hospital resurrecting a 40-year old technology to make the isotope in-house using a cyclotron. But medical isotopes were still out, with the shutdown of Ontario’s Chalk River Reactor projected to last at least three months.

Keep up with all the ins and outs, ups and downs, and ayes and nays of the biotech scene at

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