Company news from the 03/06/07 news brief

Bayer said it plans to eliminate 6,100 jobs as a result of its acquisition of German rival Schering. Bayer said of the job cuts 1,500 will be in Germany, where Schering employed around 7,000 people and where Bayer has around 37,600 employees. On Wednesday, Bayer already said it would cut 950 jobs at Schering’s former Berlin headquarters, which currently has a staff of 6,000 people. A further 160 jobs will be lost at the German Bayer sit in Wuppertal, Germany and 140 more at a former Schering site in Jena, Germany. Bayer is to cut in total 3,150 jobs across Europe, including the job losses in Germany. Additionally, 1,000 job cuts are planned in the US, 750 in Japan and the Asia Pacific region and 1,200 in Latin America and Canada. Of the 6,100 jobs to be eliminated, 2,850 will be administrative positions. About 1,850 production jobs will be cut and 1,400 are to go in research and development. Eli Lilly has acquired Hypnion, a privately held neuroscience drug discovery company focused on sleep disorders. The deal is expected to close near the end of the first quarter of 2007. Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed. A New Jersey jury on Friday delivered a mixed verdict in the latest Vioxx trial, finding that Merck sufficiently warned doctors of the drug’s heart risks in the case of one plaintiff but not of another. However, the eight-person jury in Atlantic City ruled in the case of both plaintiffs that Merck had violated New Jersey’s consumer fraud law.The ruling sets the stage for the second phase of the trial, which began Monday, to consider whether Frederick “Mike” Humeston of Boise deserves compensatory and punitive damages. Humeston’s case was tried previously in 2005 and Merck prevailed. The other plaintiff in this trial, Kathleen Hermans Messerschmidt, the widow of Brian Hermans of Waupaca, WI, at best can recoup three times the amount he spent on Vioxx prescriptions, plus about $2 million in costs and fees his lawyer requested. Hermans died at age 44 after having a heart attack on Sept. 15, 2002. Merck is facing some 28,000 lawsuits and has said it intends to fight each case. So far, Merck has won eight trials and lost four.