Company news: FDA, Shire, Bayer

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An independent look at the FDA by the Partnership for Public Service reports that despite an influx of money, the agency continues to suffer from internal problems that hinder its ability to attract talent. Among the problems cited: the lengthy hiring process (“government has a timeline that isn't reasonable for people in the real world,” an employee told researchers), lack of employee training and little hope of professional development and promotion. Researchers said the agency has to do a better job of finding talent and to assess the quality of the recruits brought in. Researchers also said the agency has to become bolder about self-promotion and foster “a better understanding of the FDA, what it does and who it hires.”

Shire announced Monday that it is digging deep into rare diseases next year. The company's research will culminate in a 2013 rare diseases impact report that will outline the” health, psycho-social, societal and economic impact of rare disease in patient and medical communities.” The report will be based on research that includes surveys of patients, caregivers, physicians, payers and thought leaders in the US and UK. President of Shire's Human Genetic Therapies division Sylvie Gregoire said in a statement that one of the report's goals is to provide “new, unique insights on how best to address the holistic needs of the rare disease community and drive important conversations and innovation.”

Bayer HealthCare decided not to enter a bidding war for Schiff Nutrition, the vitamin and supplement supplier it agreed to acquire on Oct. 30, deferring to Reckitt Benckiser Group's roughly $1.4-billion counterbid. According to an SEC filing made today by Schiff, Bayer's board concluded that entering a competitive bidding process for the US OTC maker “would result in a price outside Bayer's set financial criteria.” Reckitt Benckiser's counterbid, commenced on Nov. 16, valued Schiff at a 23.5% premium, or $200 million, over Bayer's initial $1.2-billion offer. “Having completed a number of successful acquisitions, Bayer plans to continue its strategy to augment organic growth with strategic bolt-on acquisitions,” said the firm, according to the SEC filing.

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