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BUSINESS
June 29, 2013 | By David Sell, Inquirer Staff Writer
Drugmaker Merck & Co. Inc. has agreed to sell manufacturing and related sites and options on several products to Aspen Pharmacare Holdings for about $1 billion, the largest divestiture for Merck since 2009. The manufacturing sites, employing about 960 people, are in the Netherlands. Merck facilities in Sioux City, Iowa, and Des Plaines, Ill., employ a total of 20 people and also will shift to Aspen. The 11 products had $248 million in 2012 sales, mostly in Latin America and East Asia.
BUSINESS
June 4, 2013 | By Steve Rothwell, Associated Press
NEW YORK - For now, bad news is good for the stock market. On Monday, investors judged that the latest weak economic reports would make it more likely that the Federal Reserve would continue to stimulate the economy and support a rally on Wall Street. The Institute for Supply Management (ISM) reported Monday that its factory index, a measure of U.S. manufacturing, fell in May to its lowest level since June 2009 as overseas economies slumped and weak business spending reduced new orders to factories.
BUSINESS
May 26, 2013
When Merck & Co. Inc. announced earlier this month that it planned to buy back $15 billion in common stock, it seemed likely that the move would follow the typical pattern: big talk, but little actual repurchase activity for months, if not years. Then the pharmaceutical company, with major operations in Montgomery County, struck an accelerated share-repurchase program with Goldman, Sachs & Co. last week to buy about $5 billion worth of Merck common stock. Also, Merck agreed to sell $6.5 billion in debt to raise cash to buy more shares, putting it well on the way to repurchasing shares worth $7.5 billion within the next 12 months.
BUSINESS
May 11, 2013 | By David Sell, Inquirer Staff Writer
Multinational drug companies, like other businesses, see Africa as an emerging market with tremendous opportunities and challenges, and that was a backdrop to Thursday's announcements of two programs designed to deliver more medicine and better health care to the continent. Merck & Co. and GlaxoSmithKline Plc joined the GAVI alliance in announcing from Cape Town, South Africa, an agreement to supply human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine at lower prices to developing countries to help girls and women in those nations avoid cervical cancer.
BUSINESS
May 11, 2013 | Associated Press
NEW YORK - A Merck & Co. sales representative is suing the drugmaker for at least $100 million, saying it does not give women equal opportunities for advancement and punishes employees for maternity leave. Kelli Smith, who has worked at Merck since 2004, says in the lawsuit that the company's sales plans create incentives to discriminate against women, that women are discouraged from advancing their careers and are told they have to choose between being mothers and taking bigger roles at the company, and that men get more opportunities to meet senior managers and develop important contacts.
BUSINESS
May 3, 2013 | By David Sell, Inquirer Staff Writer
The 2,000 or so union employees and management at the Merck & Co. plant in West Point, Montgomery County, agreed to continue working and negotiating after the union contract expired Tuesday night. Weeks of negotiations and news of weak first-quarter financial results make the prospects for a new agreement and more job cuts - union or otherwise - unclear. On Wednesday, Merck said revenue and profits were down for the first quarter, and it lowered the profit expectations for the rest of 2013.
BUSINESS
April 7, 2013 | By David Sell, Inquirer Staff Writer
PRINCETON - Merck & Co.'s chief executive officer, Ken Frazier, says the drugmaker's facility in West Point, Montgomery County, is in no danger of being closed now. Merck is among the many pharmaceutical companies that have announced in recent months plans to close or consolidate facilities in hopes of squeezing more efficiency out of their operations. Some of those decisions involved laying off employees. Is West Point safe? "Yes," Frazier said Thursday evening after speaking about Merck's worldwide vaccine programs at Princeton University's Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs.
BUSINESS
March 26, 2013 | By Mike Armstrong, INQUIRER STAFF WRITER
Novira Therapeutics Inc., of Doylestown, has completed its initial $25 million venture financing, after attracting $7.5 million from Versant Ventures. Founded by two former Merck & Co. Inc. executives, Novira is developing antiviral drugs to treat hepatitis B infections. The addition of Versant, with offices in Basel, Switzerland, and San Francisco, increased the amount of the financing from $23 million, announced last August and led by 5AM Ventures and Canaan Partners.   Contact Mike Armstrong at 215-854-2980 or marmstrong@phillynews.com , or @PhillyInc on Twitter.
BUSINESS
March 17, 2013 | By David Sell, Inquirer Staff Writer
Merck & Co. said Friday that a drug designed to help patients coming out of anesthesia after surgery will require three more months of review by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. Sugammadex sodium is an injectable drug that reverses the muscle-relaxing effects of anesthesia. If approved, the drug would be the first in a new class of medicine in this country. Merck is based in Whitehouse Station, N.J., but has a big operation in West Point, Montgomery County. The European Medicines Agency approved the drug in 2008 and it is sold in Europe under the name Bridion.
BUSINESS
March 3, 2013 | By Linda A. Johnson, Associated Press
Merck & Co. chief executive officer Kenneth C. Frazier is convinced that nearly everyone, from patients to long-term investors, wants the world's third-largest drugmaker to take big risks. So Merck is plunging ahead in one of medicine's toughest challenges - looking for a drug to slow Alzheimer's disease - despite repeated failures that have led most drugmakers to halt or scale back research on the No. 6 killer in the United States. "When people question me, 'Aren't you putting a lot of money at risk for something that's hard?
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