Sepracor deal won't involve big job cuts; Merck picks three Schering directors for new board;

> Sepracor employees were informed in corporate presentations yesterday that Dainippon Sumitomo Pharma intends to "substantially maintain" Sepracor's staff following its $2.6 billion buyout of the firm. Article

> Merck announced that three Schering-Plough directors would join the combined company's board: C. Robert Kidder, Patricia F. Russo, and Craig B. Thompson. Article

> European Commission VP Gunter Verheugen says he is "more convinced than ever" that EU rules on the provision of information to patients about prescription drugs must be updated. Article

> The Chinese government ordered 7.3 million doses of vaccines for the H1N1 strain of flu from domestic firms Sinovac Biotech and Hualan Biological, the official Xinhua news agency said. Article

> FDA will review Takeda Pharmaceutical's application for broader use of its blood-cancer drug Velcade--acquired via its buyout of Millennium Pharmaceuticals--in patients with previously untreated multiple myeloma. Article

> Merrion Pharmaceuticals reported a net loss of €2.3 million ($3.28 million) for the six months ended June 30, a slightly higher loss year over year, despite a 378 percent increase in revenues to €1.7 million ($2.42 million). Article

> GPs need to assess their patients' history more closely when prescribing for post-menopausal osteoporosis to reduce the risk of gastrointestinal side effects that could lead to treatment discontinuation, researchers found. Article

Biotech News

> Big Pharma's need to cut development spending and boost its presence in big new markets is driving sizzling hot growth rates for the country's contract research organizations. Article

> Looking to boost its pipeline for dermatology products, Denmark's LEO Pharma has agreed to buy out Peplin for $287.5 million. The acquisition values Peplin at $16.99 a share and LEO will also extend a loan to the company to fund operations until the deal closes. Article

> In an effort to cut back on its burn rate, Canada's Akela Pharma announced yesterday that it is chopping about a third of its staff. Article

> Spurred by a stagnating home drug market, Japan's Dainippon Sumitomo has struck a deal to buy Sepracor for $2.6 billion. Backed by bridge loans, Dainippon says it will pay $23 a share for Sepracor, a 27 percent premium on Tuesday's close. Article

> In a fresh sign of just how hot cancer meds have become, Bayer Schering Pharma took analysts by surprise this morning with an $800 million licensing pact for Algeta's lead drug--an experimental therapy that targets cancerous bone cells. Article

> An experimental cancer drug being developed by Genentech has proven strikingly successful in a small trial of patients suffering from two rare forms of cancer. And scientists in the field say that the results demonstrate that the hedgehog pathway can blaze a trail for a new class of therapies that target a variety of hard-to-treat tumors. Article

And Finally... Thin thighs might not be so great: Researchers find they may indicate greater risk of heart disease and early death. Article