ALSO NOTED: Able Labs files Ch. 11; Vertex wins fast track; Tamiflu works against avian flu; and much more...

> Troubled Able Laboratories has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy. Story

> The FDA has granted fast-track status to Vertex's experimental HIV drug. Story

> US government researchers say they've shown in mice tests that Tamiflu suppresses the avian flu strain now rampant in poultry in Vietnam, Cambodia, and China. The team at St. Jude Children's Research Hospital wrote in the Journal of Infectious Diseases that eight of 10 mice given the drug for eight days lived, whereas none of the infected mice treated with placebo survived. The study could help develop treatment guidelines to suppress the spread of the virus in the event of a pandemic. Story

> Upsher-Smith Laboratories expressed its "disappointment" with the FDA's decision to delay approval of Fortical calcitonin-salmon Nasal Spray. Release

> Danco Laboratories, maker of the "abortion pill" RU-486, is changing labeling to reflect concerns about deaths from sepsis after treatment with the drug, which is marketed under the name Mifeprex. Release

> In a Phase II study of 242 patients, Valeant's anti-hepatitis B drug pradefovir cut the viral load by up to half without hurting kidney function. About half of the study patients had been previously treated ineffectively with other drugs. Valeant plans to release detailed interim results of the study in November and to complete Phase II by early 2006. Release

> Johnson & Johnson's second-quarter profit rose 9 percent to $2.68 billion, or 89 cents per share, on strong medical device and consumer product sales. The results topped Wall Street estimates. Article

> Animal tests of poloxymer 188, a drug used in humans for sickle-cell anemia, showed it is effective at preventing heart failure due to Duchenne muscular dystrophy. Story

And Finally... Declining Medicare reimbursements keep some patients from getting immunoglobulin treatments. Story