ALSO NOTED: Analysts question J&J copycat; Novartis seeks Rasilez approval in Europe;and much more...

> The Wall Street Journal looks at the case of J&J's schizophrenia drug paliperidone, which the FDA is expected to decide on today. The therapy is a close version of its bestselling Risperdal. Analysts see the new drug, which simply removes the need for the body to metabolize the active ingredient, as a way for the company to extend its control of the therapy by five years. But others see little medical advantage coming from an officially sanctioned copycat drug. Article (WSJ sub. req.)

> Novartis is out to gain European for a new blood pressure therapy developed with Speedel. Researchers are staking their application on the results of a 7,800-member trial that demonstrated Rasilez's ability to lower blood pressure in four weeks. It would be the first new blood pressure therapy in 10 years. Report

> Elan has released new data on Tysabri illustrating that the drug offers a sustained benefit on relapse rates for up to three years. Report

> The Motley Fool offers some incisive analysis on ImClone's recent travails, noting that ImClone's shares actually ended up higher after Amgen announced the FDA's approval of a new competitor for Erbitux that will be priced at a 20 percent discount. Investors, they say, are looking to rebel investor Carl Icahn to shake things up now that he's on the board. Article

> The European Commission has approved Pfizer's anti-smoking therapy Champix. Report

> A.P. Pharma has pushed back its timeline to release data on its experimental therapy to treat the side effects of nausea, citing problems enrolling patients and preparing trial sites. Data is now expected in the second half of 2007 instead of the first quarter. Report

> Minneapolis-based CoAxia announced that it has reached terms with Canaan Venture Partners, Prism Venture Partners, Affinity Capital Management, and Baird Venture Partners on an $11 million Series C round of financing. Release

> Basilea Pharmaceutica's experimental antibiotic Ceftobiprole demonstrated cure rates of up to 92 percent for patients with staphylococcal infections. Report

> GlaxoSmithKline will invest more than €500 million in a new vaccine plant in France. Report

> Wisconsin Governor Jim Doyle is offering free stem cell licenses to firms sponsoring research in the state's non-profit and academic institutions. Report

> TAP Pharmaceutical has signed on to co-promote Novartis' genital herpes drug Famvir. Report

> DOR BioPharma has won two additional grants from the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases totaling approximately $5.3 million. Release

And Finally… While the FDA is harshly criticized for infighting and poor drug oversight procedures, more and more drug company execs see an agency that has been steadily tightening the reins on new approvals. Article

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