Johnson & Johnson buys a stake in Elan, invests in Alzheimer's program

Elan Corp. (ELN)'s share price popped over 20 percent earlier today, but by the afternoon was up "only" over 13 percent. Still, not bad at all considering markets are down about 2 percent. The Irish drugmaker and Johnson & Johnson (JNJ) announced today they have signed a deal giving J&J control of most of Elan's Alzheimer's research. In addition, J&J will invest $1 billion in new Elan equity in exchange for an 18.4 percent stake.

Elan's Alzheimer's 50/50 joint venture with Wyeth (WYE) -- the Immunotherapy Program, or AIP Program -- is for research, development and commercialization of selective products for treating and preventing neurodegenerative conditions. It includes multiple compounds that are being evaluated for slowing the progression of Alzheimer's disease.