Even though German drug company Merck KGaA pulled out of the bidding for Schering after Schering agreed to be bought by Bayer, Merck's recent actions have some wondering about its intentions. Merck reports it now controls 20.71% of Schering, putting it close to the 25% needed to disrupt the Schering-Bayer arrangement.
Shire plans a 25% increase in personnel at its unit in Cambridge, Mass., that concentrates on treatments for rare diseases that stem from protein deficiencies. The increase from 400 to 500 comes eight months after the U.K. company bought Transkaryotic Therapies and made it Shire's Human Genetic Therapies division.
A Phase II trial of Human Genome Sciences' Albuferon for hepatitis C shows it has no efficacy as a monthly treatment, but the firm said the drug is safe and effective when combined with ribavirin and when given biweekly in large doses.
Germany's Merck KGaA has made a $17.7 billion bid for Schering AG, but Schering says the offer is too low and there have been no negotiations with Merck. The acquisition of Schering, the world's largest producer of birth control pills, would give Merck a portfolio of products including multiple sclerosis, cancer and fertility treatments along with a growing diagnostics business.