Merck Q1 profit rises as R&D spending falls; GSK funding new university lab;

 @FierceBiotech: Check out this report on the pulse of biotech IT in Boston by @RyanMFierce. Report | Follow @FierceBiotech

 @JohnCFierce: The Spanish crisis getting worse, Italian economy shrinking, U.K. back in recession. U.S. economy slows. Interesting times. Article | Follow @JohnCFierce

 @RyanMFierce: Novo Nordisk plans to grow its U.S. workforce 15% in 2012. Nice change from usual drumbeat of pharma layoffs. Release | Follow @RyanMFierce

> Merck's ($MRK) research and development budget dropped 14% in the first quarter as profits soared 64%. Release | Article

> GlaxoSmithKline ($GSK) has agreed to fund two-thirds of the £18 million ($29.2 million) cost of a new laboratory at the University of Nottingham, of which GSK CEO Andrew Witty is a graduate. Report

> The CRO industry group ACRO wants faster action on efforts to modernize clinical trials. Report

>  Novartis ($NVS) has won FDA approval of its kidney cancer drug Afinitor for combating kidney tumors called renal angiomyolipomas and tuberous sclerosis complex. News

Pharma News

 @FiercePharma: Drama at J&J annual meeting: One investor hopes new CEO will "lead us back" to being happy when $JNJ's in the news--AP. Story | Follow @FiercePharma

> Boosted by Januvia, Merck bests expectations by a penny. News

> Amgen gets a no from the FDA on extended use of Xgeva. Story

> Bristol-Myers Squibb confirms it's a target of bribery probe. Article

> Jazz Pharmaceuticals announces another deal. More

Medical Devices News

 @FierceMedDev: FDA panel gives Cameron Health good news on implantable ICD. News | Follow @FierceMedDev

> High-impact sports reduce life span of artificial hips. Report

> Covidien sees strong quarter on device sales, emerging markets growth. Article

> FDA panel gives Cameron Health good news on implantable ICD. Story

And Finally… Array BioPharma ($ARRY) has tapped former Hospira ($HSP) executive Ron Squarer to be its CEO. Release