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Pharma Roundup: Roche Still Buying Genentech, Merck Cancels Obesity Drug, and More

Roche still plans Genentech purchase -- Despite the state of the world economy, not to mention exchange rates making takeovers more expensive in Swiss francs, Roche announced it has every intention of completing its buyout of Genentech. The $43.7 billion deal is being watched closely outside the industry, as it is seen as a barometer for the global condition of mergers and acquisitions. [Source: FiercePharma]
Merck axes obesity drug -- Phase III data on taranabant, a weight-loss drug, have led Merck to kill the product's development. Though it successfully helped subjects lose weight, the drug provoked suicidal thoughts and other psychiatric effects. In previous trials, smaller doses led to fewer neurological complaints but didn't result in significant weight loss. [Source: Pharmalot]

Sanofi cuts French sales force -- The French drug-maker is terminating 817 sales jobs in its home country. The news comes in a year when Merck, Wyeth, and Schering-Plough have also reduced their sales forces, and when doctors may wish all sales reps would lose their jobs. Could the era of the sales rep as we know it be coming to a close? [Source: WSJ Health Blog]
Pharma execs worry about pace of innovation -- Executives from the industry think pharma's number one focus should be developing and marketing innovative drugs, but fear that the industry presently lacks the ability to generate sufficient innovation, according to an informal survey conducted at the Pharmaceutical Strategic Alliances conference. [Source: In Vivo]

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