Pfizer to appeal $9M Wisconsin judgment; Indian Merck plans to staff up by 300;

> A Wisconsin jury levied a $9 million judgment against Pfizer in a Medicaid fraud case; the state had been asking for more than $100 million. Pfizer says it plans to appeal. Report

> Merck's Indian subsidiary plans to hire 300 people this year as it prepares to expand in that market, particularly by introducing its vaccines for rotavirus, hepatitis A and herpes over the next two years. Report

> AstraZeneca ramped up production of branded and generic versions of its blood pressure medicine Toprol XL after two other drugmakers stopped supplying the drug. Report

> Endo Pharmaceuticals and Penwest Pharmaceuticals agreed to grant Actavis a license to sell a generic version of their Opana ER pain reliever in July 2011. Report

> GlaxoSmithKline CEO Andrew Witty is urging governments in Southeast Asia to clamp down on counterfeiters. Report

> Perrigo started shipping over-the-counter generic versions of Wyeth's Advil PM, a combination of ibuprofen and diphenhydramine. Report

> Hemispherx Biopharma says the FDA, citing an increased workload, has extended its review for Ampligen for the treatment of chronic fatigue syndrome. Report

> Texas officials are urging investment in biotech to provide incentives to business executives needed to build up the state's biotech sector, while business leaders in Maryland are urging the state to consider tax incentives to biotech investors in oder to sustain the young biotechs in the region. Report

> Saying the offer "significantly undervalues the company," CV Therapeutics has reviewed and rejected Astellas Pharma's $1 billion unsolicited bid for CV. Report

> Vertex Pharmaceuticals is hoping to raise a hefty $320 million through a public offering of its stock. The company announced that it is selling 10 million shares in an underwritten offering for $32 per share. Report

> Following last week's announcement that it's lead drug failed a Phase III trial,  La Jolla Pharmaceutical announced that it is taking steps to preserve its cash, including a "substantial reduction" in personnel and other operating expenses. Report

> Ann Arbor-based NanoBio has raised $12 million in series B equity financing. Perseus led the round, with contributions from existing investors. Report

> Nycomed's proton-pump inhibitor pantoprazole is set to become the second non-prescription medicine authorised through Europe's centralised procedure, following orlistat. Report

> Wyeth's osteoporosis drug Conbriza won a positive opinion from the Committee for Medicinal Products for Human Use, the scientific committee of the European Medicines Agency. Report

> Shire has opened an office in Japan which will serve as the base for "the future commercialisation of its pipeline products in the second largest biopharmaceutical market in the world". Report

And Finally... The Wall Street Journal called Abbott Laboratories a "safe haven" for investors looking for shelter from an increasingly volatile stock market. Report