Pfizer to cut 800 R&D jobs; Clinton conflicts in question;

> Rumors have been swirling for some time now that Pfizer would announce layoffs in January. Those reports were confirmed yesterday as Pfizer announced it would cut 5 to 8 percent of its 10,000 R&D jobs in 2009. Pfizer report

> Barack Obama's choice for Secretary of State, Hillary Rodham Clinton, said that contributors to her husband's foundation, Clinton Global Initiative, would not influence her in her new role. Merck & Co. has been a member since 2006, during which time Hillary Clinton wrote a letter to the Health and Human Services Secretary Mike Leavitt asking him to approve the HPV vaccine. She also wrote letters on behalf of Barr Laboratories and Plan B. Report

> Burnham Institute for Medical Research, a nonprofit, entered into a multiyear agreement with Johnson & Johnson Pharmaceutical Research and Development to collaborate on the development of medications aimed at treating inflammatory disease. Report

> Alseres Pharmaceuticals has entered into a securities purchase agreement for the private purchase of 1,000,000 shares of the company at one dollar per share by Robert Gipson. Release

> Allergan should begin could begin selling Lumigan--the first drug approved by the FDA to help users grow longer, thicker eyelashes--this month. Report

> Amgen announced that it sold $2 billion worth of debt, consisting of $1 billion in 10-year notes and $1 billion in $30-year notes. Report

> The U.S. FDA has requested more data on Schering-Plough's drug Saphris (asenapine) for the treatment of schizophrenia in adults and for manic or mixed episodes of bipolar disorder, but has not requested additional clinical trials thus far. Schering-Plough report

> Sequenom isn't taking 'no' for an answer to its bid to acquire Exact Sciences. The company announced this morning that its earlier offer to buy the cancer test developer--which had been rejected--is going hostile. Report

> Novartis says that its experimental cancer therapy Afinitor produced positive data in a mid-stage trial, setting the stage for a late-stage study. Researchers say they will now plan to begin enrolling patients for the Phase III trial this year. Novartis release 

> Cephalon has agreed to pay Ception Therapeutics $100 million for an option to buy the company. And it will pay $250 million for Ception's closely-held stock--provided its late-stage drug program lives up to its potential. Additional, and unspecified, regulatory and clinical milestones payments are included in the option package. Cephalon release

And finally... Researchers at UC Berkeley have zeroed in on an enzyme that plays a key role regulating metabolism and weight in mice and say a drug that inhibits this target could do the same for people. The scientists disabled the enzyme in mice and found that they were able to remain lean and healthy while subsisting on a high-fat diet. Report