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Sanofi-Aventis is buying out Merck's 50% stake in the companies' joint animal health venture, Merial Limited, for $4 billion in cash. Following completion of the deal, Sanofi will own 100% of Merial. However, Merck will pick up an animal health business – Intervet – with its acquisition of Schering-Plough, and the companies have signed a call option that would allow Sanofi to combine Merial with Intervet after the Merck/Schering-Plough acquisition has been completed.

Covance secured a $145 million dollar deal with Merck to provide genomic analysis services, and will acquire Merck's Gene Expression Laboratory in Seattle. Covance expects to offer employment “to the majority of current employees” at the lab, and will move into the site on August 17, according to a company release.

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