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Cuts at Merck

Merck is to cut some 8,500 positions and shake up its research and development division, Bloomberg News reports. These, it adds, are in addition to the 7,500 cuts the company already announced, together totaling about 20 percent of the company's workforce. The cuts are to be spread among all areas of the company, including R&D, sales, and management.

According to Merck, the move is to save the company about $1 billion next year and $2.5 billion by 2015.

"We will sharpen our focus on core therapeutic areas," CEO Ken Frazier said during a conference call, according to Bloomberg. "In other therapeutic areas, we will significantly reduce our resources."

For example in a press release, the company says that it will focus its R&D efforts on "on candidates capable of providing unambiguous, promotable advantages to patients and payers." Those efforts are to include some of its programs in immunotherapy for oncology, a BACE drug Alzheimer's disease, and work on a nine-valent HPV vaccine.

The Scan

Could Cost Billions

NBC News reports that the new Alzheimer's disease drug from Biogen could cost Medicare in the US billions of dollars.

Not Quite Sent

The Biden Administration likely won't meet its goal of sending 80 million SARS-CoV-2 vaccine doses abroad by the end of the month, according to the Washington Post.

DTC Regulation Proposals

A new report calls on UK policymakers to review direct-to-consumer genetic testing regulations, the Independent reports.

PNAS Papers on Mosquito MicroRNAs, Acute Kidney Injury, Trichothiodystrophy

In PNAS this week: microRNAs involved in Aedes aegypti reproduction, proximal tubule cell response to kidney injury, and more.