Poll: U.S. unsure of FDA's potency; AstraZeneca rides Crestor sales surge;

> Although the FDA's public rep has improved, Americans still are split on whether the agency is doing its job, according to a Harris Interactive/HealthDay News poll. Report

> Novartis got the FDA nod for its blood-pressure medication Exforge HCT, which combines amlodipine, valsartan and hydrochlorothiazide--a calcium-channel blocker, angiotensin receptor and diuretic--in one pill. Release

> The stock analysts like everything they've seen about Dendreon's new data on the prostate cancer vaccine Provenge. They like it so much, some think the biotech has made itself an appealing buyout target among the hungry pharma companies roaming the world for new takeovers. Report

> A surge in sales of cholesterol drug Crestor, combined with strong demand from emerging markets, boosted Q1 revenues at AstraZeneca, although the company kept its full-year earnings forecasts unchanged. Report

> AstraZeneca is in talks with U.S. health authorities about developing a vaccine for swine flu. Report

> Analysts were juggling a new set of positive data about the efficacy of Merck KGaA's cladribine--a potential blockbuster which would be the first oral drug for multiple sclerosis, if approved--against safety concerns about a small number of cancer cases reported among the study group. Report

> Bristol-Myers Squibb reported a 5 percent rise in first-quarter net to $921 million as sales of its blood thinner Plavix leapt by 10 percent and antipsychotic Abilify grew by 30 percent. Report

> ADHD drug specialist Shire reported revenues of $818 million on a 114 percent rise in sales of its Adderall follow-up drug Vyvanse. Report

> Seattle-based ZymoGenetics is taking out the budget axe and chopping 161 jobs, one third of its workforce, as the biotech restructures its R&D effort in order to reduce costs by about $30 million a year. Report

> Generics maker Watson Pharmaceuticals boosted its full-year forecast as Q1 revenues rose by 6.5 percent to $667.4 million. Report

> Mylan boasted a better-than-expected first-quarter profit, with strong sales of its generic depression and pain treatments pushing net income up to $71.3 million on a 13 percent rise in revenues to $1.21 billion. Report

> Anxious to slow the spread of a swine flu epidemic that has now claimed up to 176 victims, the Mexican government is ordering most people to stay home for five days. Report

> Sepracor beat expectations for Q1 earnings, with $35.2 million in net income on revenues of $330 million. Report

> Warburg Pincus is seeking a buyer for Archimedes Pharma, the British firm with a novel cancer pain treatment it hopes could generate annual sales of $500 million, a source told Reuters. Report

> PA-based Auxilium Pharmaceuticals announced today that the FDA has accepted its biologics license application for Xiaflex and granted the submission priority review. Report

> Researchers in Texas have signed on to work on a new chlamydia vaccine for Merck. Report

> Armed with large federal subsidies and a strong desire to exchange the old, egg-based vaccine production method with something far more efficient, vaccine makers have been moving closer to a new cell-based system. Report

And Finally... Drinking water that contains relatively low levels of lithium may reduce the risk of suicide, a Japanese study suggests. Report

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