Lilly eyes Wyeth's animal health unit; Daiichi posts big loss on Ranbaxy buy;

> Eli Lilly said it was watching to see whether Pfizer would sell the animal-health business it is acquiring as part of its planned $68 billion takeover of Wyeth. "You can bet, with our interest in growing our animal health business, we've got our eye on that," CEO John Lechleiter said. Report

> Japan's Daiichi Sankyo said its fiscal third-quarter loss totaled 332 billion yen ($3.71 billion), swinging from a year-earlier profit of 36.2 billion yen. Much of the hit was due to a write-down on its investment in Indian drug maker Ranbaxy Laboratories. Report

> Germany's Merck KGaA is looking to acquire a prominent Indian pharmaceutical company and established drug brands, as part of its plan to grow operations on the subcontinent over the next four years. Report

> Drug distributor Amerisource Bergen declared a 10 cent per share dividend on its common stock. Release

> Gilead Sciences wrapped up its acquisition of a 163,000-square-foot building and adjacent 30-acre site in Foster City, Calif., where it plans a major expansion. Release

> Omnitura Therapeutics has struck a deal to garner $24 million in venture capital. The money is scheduled to arrive in three tranches, with $8 million arriving before March 31, 2009, $8 million before December 31, 2009 and $8 million before December 31, 2010. Report

> Safeguard Scientifics says it joined a group of investors who ponied up $10.4 million to finance the development work underway at Garnet Biotherapeutics. Other investors include Alliance Technology Ventures and SCP Vitalife Partners, which led the round. Report

> Canada's Isotechnika has already announced that it's pursuing partnerships, merger deals, asset sales and other "strategic alternatives." And in a release this morning, the developer is adding layoffs and other unspecified budget-cutting moves. Report

> Marlborough, MA-based Sepracor announced that it plans to cut 530 company jobs and another 410 contract positions as it refocuses its marketing activities. The layoffs, which will claim about one in five jobs at the company, were prompted by the economic crisis that has roiled the biotech industry. Report

> Xconomy's Luke Timmerman takes a close look at Novo Nordisk's plans to set up a new research institute in Seattle. The Danish drugmaker, which reaps a big financial harvest from diabetes drugs and the hemophilia therapy Factor VII, plans to hire some 80 people for immunology research work. Report

And Finally... For the first time, some of the disability associated with the early stages of multiple sclerosis appears to have been reversed with stem cell treatment. Report

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