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Morning Read: Will this Chantix study move the needle for the FDA?

And a great tidbit on a biological illustration class.


Chantix will be coming for the FDA – or so it seems. A British-based study claims the non-smoking treatment didn’t increase heart attacks or depression. “Regulators such as the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) should review its safety warning in relation to varenicline as this may be unnecessarily limiting access to this effective smoking cessation aid,” said Aziz Sheikh, professor and co-director at the University of Edinburgh’s Center for Medical Informatics. Reuters


Merck will get its immunotherapy treatment Keytruda into Briain after promising a lower price. Reuters

AstraZeneca and Australia’s Starpharma have struck a licensing deal around AZ’s cancer pipeline. It gives Starpharma $2 million up front with another $124 million in development and sales milestones for the first product. – BusinessWire

Merck Sorono has struck an in-licensing deal that lets Swiss-based Relief Therapeutics develop the pain-relief neurotherapy atexakin alfa. – BusinessWire

A campaign to ban power morcellators is picking upsteam. A Government Accountability Office review of the device’s marketing practices is underway.The Philadelphia Inquirer

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Duke Royalty and Oliver Wyman are partnering to offer royalty financing to pharma and healthcare services with a emphasis on the “attractive and yet to be developed European market.” BusinessWire

Cipla bought itself a bigger slice of the U.S. generic drugs market through a $550 million all-cash deal for InvaGen Pharmaceuticals and Exelan Pharmaceuticals. Pharma Times


A small study suggests lung-cancer screenings don’t convince people to stop smoking. Instead, the report suggests Medicare and private payers should encourage quit-smoking programs.The New York Times

Arizona’s Banner Health is dumping Epic and going with Cerner. Fascinating tidbit: A report 2014 attributed $6.8 million in losses one fiscal year to physicians training on Epic system and not seeing as many patients. – Arizona Daily Star (with a hat-tip to HIStalk)


There’s a notable trend in cloud-buying habits. Companies like Google and major Internet service providers are gobbling up products from “original design manufacturers.” Revenue from ODMs grew by 25.8 percent. CIO

Google is talking with the Chinese government about launching a new Android app store there. Wall Street Journal

Cleveland Clinic Abu Dhabi has gone HIMSS Stage 6. – PR Newswire


A new take on an old course, indeed! “Biological Illustration courses are not new. They’re taught in art colleges all over the world. My course, though, is a biology class.” Scientific American