ALSO NOTED: FDA lifts ban on Watson plant in FL; Sanofi bolstered profits but lost in drug trial;

> Watson Pharmaceuticals finally saw the FDA lift its ban on new products from a Florida manufacturing plant, allowing drugs made there to be eligible for agency approval; the facility had been under a new-product hold since 2005. Report

> Sanofi-Aventis kept sales and profits higher than analysts expected--$10.81 billion and $3.92 billion respectively--but said its experimental antidepressant saredutant failed a clinical trial. Report

> Novo Nordisk beat market estimates with a 22 percent hike in first-quarter profits to $589 million on $2.21 billion in sales. Report

> Takeda Pharmaceutical and Millennium Pharmaceuticals announced that the FTC granted an early end to the waiting period for their merger. Report

> Federal legislation calling for nationwide pharma-tracking would pre-empt the statewide pedigree systems under development in California and Florida. Report

> Canada's Nova Scotia province will cover Avastin treatment for colorectal cancer patients after a long delay over questions about the med's cost-effectiveness. Report

> AstraZeneca asked the FDA to expand the use of its Symbicort asthma drug to cover chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, or COPD. Report

> The FDA has approved Amitiza for women 18 years old and older with IBS-C. The drug is co-marketed in the U.S. by Sucampo Pharmaceuticals and Takeda Pharmaceutical Co. Report

> Compliance with schizophrenia treatment is higher when patients have lower copays and unrestricted access to their meds, according to a new study. Report

> Medco Health Solutions saw its first-quarter profits drop by 1.7 percent to $270 million on higher costs as volume continued to grow. Report

> Pfizer is providing $14.4 million to fund a research consortium involving four universities and Entelos, a company that does computer modeling for drug research work, in a drive to create a new class of diabetes drugs. Report

> Management consultant Dr. David A. Shaywitz has joined with Dr. Dennis A. Ausiello, the physician-in-chief of Massachusetts General Hospital and a director at Pfizer, to deliver a rebuttal to a small group of research scientists who have sworn off any industry-financed drug research work. Report

> An international consortium of researchers has launched a billion-dollar effort to map every way that changes in DNA contributes to the development of tumors. Report

> Mark Levin earned a reputation for a colorful personality with an incredible knack for raising cash as co-founder of Millennium Pharmaceuticals. Now Levin has sealed his reputation for raising cash with a $32 million Series A to get Constellation Pharmaceuticals up and running. Report

> With three significant development programs at work on a tamper-free alternative to the blockbuster OxyContin franchise, Purdue Pharma is bracing for an upcoming FDA panel review of its new pain therapy formulation. Report

> Unigene is racing to complete construction of new facilities in China that will house its joint venture with a Chinese pharma company. Report

And Finally ... Two new human trials of a gene therapy for inherited blindness have demonstrated that injecting replacement genes under the retinas of the blind can spur at least partial sight in some volunteers. Report