The quarter ended on a positive note, with the FDA granting approval to Zonegran zonisamide anti-convulsant capsules from Elan Corp. plc (ELN) as an adjunctive therapy to treat partial seizures in adults with epilepsy, and issuing an approvable letter for balsalazide disodium from Salix Pharmaceuticals Ltd. (TSE:SLX, Palo Alto, Calif.) to treat mild-to-moderate ulcerative colitis.

1Q approvals

That aside, the year end FDA housecleaning kept the first quarter thin on product approvals. In the last week of the year, the agency approved Nutropin Depot somatropin long-acting recombinant human growth hormone to treat growth hormone disorders developed by Alkermes Inc. (ALKS, Cambridge, Mass.) and Genentech Inc. (DNA, South San Francisco, Calif.), and Targretin bexarotene capsules from Ligand Pharmaceuticals Inc. (LGND, San Diego, Calif.) to treat cutaneous T cell lymphoma (CTCL).