ALSO NOTED: Pharmaxis touts late-stage study; ALS gains orphan drug status; H5N1 passed human-to-human; and much more...

> Pharmaxis says that a late-stage study of its experimental drug for a chronic lung condition demonstrated its effectiveness. Release

> Advanced Life Sciences says the FDA has granted orphan drug status to its cancer drug, ALS-357. Report

> Simmering fears of a bird flu pandemic have been heating up in the wake of a new study that confirms human-to-human spread of the deadly disease. Experts at Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center confirm that the avian influenza A (H5N1) virus in 2006 spread between a small number of people within a family in Indonesia. A number of biotech companies have joined the race to develop a vaccine against bird flu. Report

> Families of Spinal Muscular Atrophy and Tikvah Therapeutics announced a collaboration to accelerate the clinical development of TIK-201 for the treatment of spinal muscular atrophy. Release

> Tercica says it expects the FDA to make a decision on Somatuline Autogel later in the week. Report 

> The FDA has accepted Merck's NDA for Cordaptive. Report

> Roche has lost turf to Amgen in their patent battle over Mircera, an anti-anemia drug now under FDA review. FiercePharma

> In another step under the patent shelter for AstraZeneca's Seroquel, the company won approval from Dutch regulators for an extended release form of the drug. FiercePharma

And Finally…The battle of the bulge is not going well for the forces of slim. A new study shows that obesity grew worse in 31 states last year, with no state posting an advance. Report