Nothing like a little early April snow to get the airport tied up in knots. If you, like us, were traveling into or out of Heathrow on Sunday morning, you have our sympathies. Find us at the BIO-Europe Spring conference in Madrid (eventually the skies cleared and BA got its act together) if you want to commisserate over a glass of Rioja... and before we get to the weekend's news we would be remiss if we didn't mention that both the Flyers and the Sixers each made the playoffs. The playoffs!--who wouldda bet on that?
- Novartis has taken a huge stake in Alcon, the world's largest ophthalmology company. The Big Pharma spent about $11 billion buying 25% of the firm from majority owner Nestle, and has the option to increase that stake to 77% by buying Nestle's remaining interest in the company for $181 per share, or about $28 billion, between January 2010 and July 2011. (Nestle can also require that Novartis buy this remaining stake.) The Alcon portfolio allegedly complements Novartis' existing contact lens and ophthalmology drug businesses and it certainly adds specialty focus and some more diversity to the drugmaker's commercial offerings and pipeline. We'll have more on this deal later.
- Amicus CEO John Crowley was reportedly running for the Republican nomination in New Jersey's upcoming Senate race, and now he's reportedly not running. From the Politico story: “John was deeply impressed with the outpouring of support for his potential candidacy for the U.S.Senate," Crowley friend and advisor Bill Spadea said. "Many people both locally here in New Jersey and nationally had been encouraging him to run over the past week, but given his tremendous level of responsibility to his family, his company and to the U.S. Navy, he’s decided not to enter the U.S. Senate race this year."
- The New York Times reports that drug companies are getting nearer to securing 'pre-emption' of lawsuits against companies when patients are harmed by FDA approved products, as the Johnson & Johnson Ortho Evra patch case reaches the Supreme Court. The Supremes already granted a similar legal shield to medical device makers earlier this year.
Photo from flickr user leejordan used under a creative commons license