ALSO NOTED: Biovail, Watson settle Cardizem patent fight; More Novartis/Bayer rumors;

> In settlement of a patent dispute, Watson Pharmaceuticals agreed to delay its launch of a generic version of  Biovail's Cardizem blood pressure drug, and to pay royalties on sales after that. Release

> Mylan's Indian subsidiary, Matrix Laboratories, got tentative clearance from the FDA to market a generic version of Viread, an anti-HIV drug marketed by Gilead Sciences. Under the President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief, the agency's tentative OK gives Matrix the right to sell the drug in certain countries, but not yet in the U.S. Release

> Rumor Mill: Novartis stock was up this morning on new rumors that the Swiss drugmaker might bid for Bayer; analysts pooh-poohed the idea, but that didn't stop investors from buying. Report

> Meanwhile, the FDA gave its blessing to Novartis' Diovan for treatment of high blood pressure in children and adolescents ages six to 16. Report

> Indian activists are calling for a boycott of Novartis drugs to persuade the company to drop its push for patent protection on Gleevec. Report

> China's FDA approved Aoxing Pharmaceuticals' Suboxone, an anti-opoid addiction drug manufactured by Reckitt Benckiser in the U.S. Report

> There's fresh evidence that antibodies remain one of the hottest commodities in biotechnology. Novartis has extended its antibody development deal with Germany's MorphoSys, agreeing to pay $60 million a year in R&D support along with technology access fees and up to $400 million in milestone payments. Report

> Experts are debating whether mass screening for Alzheimer's would be a good idea, or just a cause of needless anxiety (or false reassurance). Report

> Life in the biotech fast lane is good for investors, not so great for patients--or so says the Cleveland Plain Dealer after a seven-month investigation of the FDA's record on fast-track drugs. Report

> Blocking a single critical protein reversed the effects of aging on the skin of mice, suggesting that researchers may be on to a short-term therapy that could help older people heal from an injury. Report

And Finally... In one of the most closely watched research programs at a biotech company, Sirtris has unveiled three new chemicals that could play a big role in fighting the effects of aging and resisting diabetes. Report

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