ZymoGenetics buys IL-21 rights; OSI partners with Dako for cancer treatment;

> Novartis profits rose 70 percent to $1.54 billion with an increase in sales from $9.93 billion to $10.08 billion, but its share prices and bottom line could use some help. Report

> The FDA has approved a request by OraSure Technologies for a 12-month shelf life for the company's OraQuick ADVANCE Rapid HIV-1/2 Antibody Test. Report

> ZymoGenetics has just acquired the rights from Novo Nordiskto Interleukin 21 (IL-21), which means that ZymoGenetics will now have worldwide rights to the compound. Release

> OSI Pharmaceuticals and diagnostic company Dako have partnered to develop a new cancer diagnostic test to be a companion product for cancer treatment. Release

>  A single injection of the cholesterol-binding agent CYCLO was enough to rid mice of excessive accumulations of cholesterol in cells, a finding that could point the way to treat the lethal Niemann-Pick type C disease. Report

> Waltham, MA-based Altus Pharmaceuticals is the latest biotech company to fall victim to the economic crisis roiling the industry. Altus announced that it is slashing 107 jobs--75 percent of its work force--and will reduce its research focus to a single program. Report

> Japan's Astellas Pharma is offering a billion dollars in cash for CV Therapeutics. The bid comes in at $16 a share, a whopping 41 percent premium over yesterday's close. And the pharma company, Japan's second largest, says the bid is not contingent on financing. Report

> Basilea Pharmaceutica is adding jobs in Europe and subtracting staffers in the U.S. as the developer positions itself to the conflicting regulatory responses it faces for a key new antibiotic. Report

> Pfizer has been sending some clear signals recently that it fully intends to be an aggressive buyer of biotech assets. But its deal yesterday to pay $68 billion in cash and stock for Wyeth is leaving a host of developers feeling that the takeaway message now is that they're likely to be forgotten. Report

And Finally... A team of researchers at the Pennington Biomedical Research Center in Louisiana have been building a case that a common cold virus can help trigger obesity. Dr. Nikhil Dhurandhar says he has gathered blood samples from a large number of patients at an obesity clinic who appear to be influenced by adenovirus-36. In one of their studies the researchers concluded that the virus is found to be far more common in the obese population than among the slim. Report