ALSO NOTED: J&J reports big revenue growth; Drugmakers fight U.K.'s Aricept ruling;

> Johnson & Johnson reported a 7.7 percent increase in first-quarter sales, to a record-setting $16.2 billion; EPS grew by 8.6 percent to $1.26 excluding special charges. Report

> Eisai, Pfizer, and Shire are fighting a U.K. ruling that restricts access to Alzheimer's drugs such as Aricept to patients in later stages of the disease. Report

> Schering-Plough will report its first-quarter results tomorrow with a conference call; CEO Fred Hassan will offer an update on the company's business and its "major initiatives," most likely including Schering's new $1.5 billion cost-cutting plan. Report

> Abbott Laboratories is prepping for an antitrust trial over the AIDS drug Norvir, scheduled to start Friday. Report

> A combo of Lipitor and Celebrex--both made by Pfizer--inhibited the growth of prostate cancer cells in mice; human trials are being planned. Report | Report

> Genentech and its partner Biogen Idec said their blockbuster lymphoma and rheumatoid arthritis med Rituxan didn't show efficacy against multiple sclerosis in a 96-week trial. Report

> Forest Labs reported fourth-quarter earnings of $172.8 million on a 12 percent increase in revenues to $990.9 million. Release

> Laureate Pharma said it's made a deal with Alopexx Pharmaceuticals to manufacture the latter's product candidate mAb F598 antibody for use in clinical trials. Release

> Teva Pharmaceuticals got 180-day exclusivity for a generic version of the Ortho-McNeil antipsychotic med Risperdal. Report

> Roche said it would pay $160 million for the British pharma Piramed, which is developing meds for cancer and inflammatory diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis. Release

> The European commission gave Bristol-Myers Squibb and Otsuka permission to market their Abilify drug for treatment and prevention of mania in bipolar patients. Report

> Belgian healthcare group Omega Pharma will distribute Chrisal International's anti-dust mite spray in Europe, a Belgian newspaper reports. Report

> Hit by a clinical trial delay triggered by a surprise change-up at the FDA, Canada's Vasogen has hit the brakes on spending and announced plans to lay off 85 percent of its work force. Report

> Shares of AtheroGenics shot up this morning on the news that an interim analysis of late-stage data for AGI-1067 showed a statistically significant reduction in Hemoglobin A1c--a standard measure for blood sugar control. Report

And Finally... New York still feels the effects of a cholera epidemic almost 200 years ago. Report

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