Company news: Pfizer, CVS, Challenger Gray

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Drug makers are investing $72.7 million into an adult stem cell bank that will be managed by England's University of Oxford, reported Bloomberg. The venture was piloted by Roche and includes 23 drug companies, including Pfizer, Sanofi, Boehringer Ingelheim, Eli Lilly and Novo Nordisk. According to Bloomberg, the bank will focus on developing 1,500 lines of adult stem cells, so they can be used for treatment studies of dementia, toxicology and schizophrenia, among other conditions. Bloomberg reported the DNA of older donors was preferable because it is more likely to have the genes related to the condition.

CVS has enhanced its mobile offerings to include immunization appointments. The new feature lets customers chose the location, date and type of immunization they want and just need a patient's date of birth to schedule an appointment at the pharmacy. The national retailer also added a tool the helps customers check pills for drug interaction risks and identify pills by shape and color.

Pharma has shed 12,886 jobs since January 2012, including 1,300 this month, according to outplacement firm Challenger Gray & Christmas -- but the industry failed to make the most-fired list, which included the computer, transportation, good, healthcare products and retail industries. Across all industries, November layoffs are 34% higher for November 2012 than they were in November 2011, but year-to-date numbers show that layoffs are down 13% compared to last year. Hostess accounted for the bulk of the November firings, while Ford heavily contributed to those of October and HP contributed significantly to those in May.

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