Alpharma rejects higher King bid; Wyeth hikes quarterly dividend;

> Alpharma has again rebuffed King Pharmaceuticals, which sweetened its buyout offer to $37 from $33, and says it's continuing to look for other alternatives to "maximize shareholder value." Report

> Wyeth's board of directors boosted the drug developer's quarterly dividend by 7.1 percent, citing the company's cash position, receding litigation payments and growth prospects. Report

> President Bush's AIDS drug program has cut Ranbaxy drugs from the mix after the FDA halted imports of the Indian generics makers products. Report

> Four years after Boston bucked federal regulators to offer low-cost Canadian prescription drugs to employees and retirees, the program has fizzled, never having attracted more than a few dozen participants. Report

> Ligand Pharmaceuticals said it planned to acquire New Jersey biotechnology drugmaker Pharmacopeia for up to $70 million in a stock transaction. Ligand release

> Merck said Europe's Committee for Medicinal Products for Human Use (CHMP) recommended approval for Kuvan (sapropterin dihydrochloride) as an oral treatment for hyperphenylalaninemia. Merck Serono release

> Sanofi-Aventis has added to its campaign for sleeping pill Ambien CR with an online video game called "Silence Your Rooster." Report

> Bad news for NPS Pharmaceuticals: the company announced late Thursday that its partner GlaxoSmithKline would abandon a Phase II study of Ronacalaret, an osteoporosis drug. Report

> Merck has signed an agreement with Japan Tobacco to develop and commercialize JTT-305, an investigational oral osteoanabolic drug. Report

> France-based Novagali Pharma has raised €15 million in a new financing round. Report

> Citing "historic instability in the market," Fluidigm announced today that it has withdrawn its registration statement for its IPO. Report

> Emergent BioSolutions has inked a three-year, $29.7 million deal with Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority (BARDA) and the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID). Report

> After quietly backing the small Canadian vaccine developer Medicago, the giant tobacco company Philip Morris has stepped up to grab a majority interest in the company. Report

And Finally... Good news for scientists and researchers: despite a number of layoffs and hiring freezes, there is still high demand in the biotech industry. And human resources managers are going above and beyond to attract good talent. Report