ALSO NOTED: J&J expects global sales to goose profits; Pfizer's lower earnings still beat analysts;

> Johnson & Johnson surprised onlookers with a rosy earnings outlook for 2008, predicting up to a 7 percent increase in profits on growth in international sales. Report

> Though Pfizer's fourth-quarter earnings fell to $2.9 billion, 70 percent less than the same period last year, the company still beat analysts' expectations; full-year sales were up, but only by 1 percent, to $48.6 billion. Release

> The FDA gave the nod to new uses for Mycamine, Astellas Pharma's anti-candida drug; previously approved for infections in the esophagus, the med can now be used against candida in other parts of the body, too. Release

> The U.K.'s National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence agreed to pay for Eli Lilly's lung cancer drug Alimta when used against mesothelioma, a type of cancer caused by asbestos exposure. Report

> Barr Pharmaceuticals is in settlement talks with Ortho Women's Health & Urology, hoping to resolve a patent dispute over Ortho Tri-Cyclen Lo, an Ortho birth control pill. Report

> California's efforts to track prescription drugs to combat global counterfeiting may be delayed to 2011 to allow drug makers more time to get the computer systems needed to keep tabs on individual bottles of drugs. Report

> India's Nicholas Piramal is buying the Bangalore-based parenteral maker Healthline for $3.8 million, planning to seek FDA approval for its manufacturing facilities. Report

> Managed care pharmacy execs ranked Novartis as number one drugmaker for the eleventh time, with Merck at number two and Schering-Plough at number three. Report

> A research team at Genentech has identified two new genes that are linked to lupus, further advancing the biotech giant's work to identify new ways to identify and treat patients with the disease. Report

> An international research consortium is launching the 1,000 Genomes Project, mapping the genomes of a thousand different people in an effort to shine a bright research light on the influence of genetic variations on disease. Report

> In a move that could have far reaching influence over the scale of pay for young researchers, the prestigious Whitehead Institute for Biomedical Research has significantly increased the wages earned by postdocs. Report

> Just days after scornfully assessing a field of weak-kneed pharma companies that were too timid to see the real value in Biogen Idec, the CEO says he may be in the market for a $10 billion acquisition himself. Report

> U.S. biotech and medical device companies raised a record $9.1 billion last year, 20 percent more than the year before. Report

And Finally... Researchers are proposing an overhaul of the way consumers pay for prescription drugs for chronic conditions. Report

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