ALSO NOTED: AstraZeneca may shake up R&D with spin-off; Vertex sells stock; and much more...

> AstraZeneca is considering spinning off its GI research institute into a separate company that would go out into the market and hunt for venture capital backing, according to Swedish newspaper reports. The news reports say that the pharma company is looking at spinning off five research projects. Report

> Vertex plans to sell 6 million common shares as well as $250 million in convertible senior subordinated notes due 2013. Report

> Belgium's Innogenetics says it plans to shelve new investments at its therapeutics business Genimmune. Report

> Docs needing blood-thinning drugs may be in a fix. Allergic reactions prompted Baxter to stop making multiple-dose vials of heparin, and the FDA told physicians to stop using them except when absolutely necessary--and then, very carefully. Report

> Finally, someone asked the question we've been wanting to ask ourselves: Even if the Enhance study data remained blinded, could Merck or Schering-Plough have divined its overall sway? Sen. Charles Grassley, who's been shooting out letters to the two companies at the rate of at least two a week, made the query in another round of correspondence yesterday. Report

> Schering-Plough, Sanofi and Teva have announced their earnings. Report

> While they were reporting their earnings, Schering-Plough and Sanofi-Aventis executives both found themselves on a hot seat. Report

> A protein may hold the key to a new vaccine that could effectively target pneumonia, according to Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh of UPMC. Report

> If you can't afford $350,000 to have your genome sequenced, wait awhile. The price is dropping fast. Report

And Finally… The World Health Organization says that without urgent action a billion people will be killed by tobacco this century. Release

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