Piramal eyes overseas acquisitions; Top 10 Layoffs of 2009;

> Pharma major, Piramal Healthcare, is eyeing acquisitions overseas, a top company official said. "Many global pharma companies are on our radar. We are looking for a cross-border acquisition. But we have not finalized anything so far," Piramal Healthcare director, Swati Piramal, told PTI here today on the sidelines of seminar. Report

> The Top 10 Layoffs of 2009. Report 

> Facet Biotech said Thursday that its board of directors unanimously recommended shareholders reject a $493 million takeover bid from Biogen Idec. Report

> GSK says it plans to increase its investment in Britain following a government decision to slash corporation tax for patent-derived income. Europe's biggest drugmaker said on Thursday it expected to spend some 500 million pounds building a new factory to make biotech drugs and on expanding an existing plant to make next-generation respiratory medicines, leading to new jobs. Release | Report

Biotech News

> Eli Lilly is touting plans to roll out two new medicines a year starting in 2013 as it retains a sharp focus on Alzheimer's disease, diabetes and cancer. But with analysts aiming some sharp barbs at its pipeline, there are some stubborn concerns that the new drugs won't arrive in time to save Lilly from an expected plunge in revenue when Zyprexa loses patent protection in 2011. Report

> The China Post reports that Roche is scouting locations in Singapore for a base to house a $71 million translational research initiative. Neither Roche nor economic development officials are saying much, but they are reportedly looking around Singapore General Hospital and the eye, heart and cancer centers. Report

> With Pfizer at its back, Israel's Protalix has pushed ahead with an application to market its new treatment for Gaucher's disease. The promising a new therapy could undercut market leader Genzyme as the big biotech struggles to overcome an embarrassing manufacturing snafu. Report

> GlaxoSmithKline is parting ways with Cytokinetics (CYTK) on another cancer drug development program. In what's billed as a mutual decision, GSK will hand back all rights to GSK-923295, which was being studied for hard-to-treat solid tumors. And that follows the earlier return of SB-743921 and SB-715992, which had also been licensed to GSK. Report

> AstraZeneca faces a critical challenge in gaining new approvals ahead of the patent cliff that's looming for some of its biggest revenue generators. And AZ's business development chief tells Bloomberg that the company plans to aggressively partner on late-stage drug programs to beat the coming onslaught of generics. Report

> John Jenkins, the head of the FDA's Office of New Drugs, has the perfect cure for a chronic rash of poorly conceived new drug applications: Sunshine. And plenty of it, according to a piece in The RPM Report. Jenkins suggests that the agency's complete response letters should be made public when a new therapy doesn't make the cut at the FDA. Report

Vaccine News

While the demand for the H1N1 vaccine appears to be softening in the U.S., rival drugstore chains are gearing up for a big push to offer the jab to just about anyone who wants it. Report

> First there wasn't enough swine flu vaccine, then there was plenty, and now it turns out that many countries may have too much. Out in Vancouver, Canadian health officials say that the initial clamor for the vaccine has been followed by a rapid drop in demand. Report

> After years of inattention, health officials are preparing an ambitious set of field trials for the first new tuberculosis vaccine since 1920. And health officials in Uganda, where the vaccine will be tested in two of the country's districts, say fresh advances are badly needed. Report

And Finally: What better way to lug around a laptop, papers and, of course, samples, than in an eco-friendly, specially made bag? At the urging of employees, GlaxoSmithKline asked Redhanded Bags to dream up a design that could make a rep's life oh-so easy to carry everywhere they go.  Report