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A Leaner Merck Says, 'So Long, Seattle'

At In the Pipeline, Derek Lowe blogs about Merck's layoff announcement (about 10 percent of employees, or some 7,000 positions, if you missed the news) and how the approach differs from layoffs at Pfizer, GSK, and other pharmas. "The company doesn't seem to be exiting any one therapeutic area, as Pfizer has, or rearranging their whole R&D structure the way GSK is doing. Merck just seems to be thinning things out across the whole organization," Lowe writes. More than half the layoffs will affect employees outside the US.

Perhaps most interesting to this community: Lowe notes that Merck's Seattle group will be shut down as part of the layoffs. That was the site for the Rosetta Inpharmatics unit, as well as some RNAi and microarray research. According to this news article, many of the Seattle staffers will be offered positions in Boston.


The Scan

Pig Organ Transplants Considered

The Wall Street Journal reports that the US Food and Drug Administration may soon allow clinical trials that involve transplanting pig organs into humans.

'Poo-Bank' Proposal

Harvard Medical School researchers suggest people should bank stool samples when they are young to transplant when they later develop age-related diseases.

Spurred to Develop Again

New Scientist reports that researchers may have uncovered why about 60 percent of in vitro fertilization embryos stop developing.

Science Papers Examine Breast Milk Cell Populations, Cerebral Cortex Cellular Diversity, Micronesia Population History

In Science this week: unique cell populations found within breast milk, 100 transcriptionally distinct cell populations uncovered in the cerebral cortex, and more.