ALSO NOTED: Gates gives $280M to fight TB; Merck drug proves positive in Phase II;Merck KGaA exec eyes acquisitions;much more..

> Merck says that its mid-stage trial for the osteoporosis drug Odanacatib (formerly MK-0822) significantly boosted bone mineral density after 12 months. The trial tested four doses of the drug, with the highest dose achieving the best overall results. Report

> ReachBio has opened for business in Seattle. The company will focus on providing specialized contract assay and contract research services utilizing in vitro and in vivo stem cell and progenitor cell assays. Release

> Provectus Pharmaceuticals has announced that a Phase I trial of Provecta demonstrated minimal side effects, significant efficacy and bystander effect on metastatic melanoma tumors in stage III patients. Release

> Johnson & Johnson's restructuring has come home to roost in Belgium. Drug maker Janssen-Cilag, a J&J subsidiary, will slice 521 full-time and 167 part-time workers from its payroll of 4,723 in-country. Report

> Merck KGaA's new chairman, Karl-Ludwig Kley (photo), says he's planning a series of acquisitions over the next three years to grow the company's consumer health and life sciences businesses. Report

> Report: Pharma lobbies big-time in '07. Report

And Finally... Forget the European regulators' fight with Microsoft, Gates still has plenty of money for new research work. The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation announced today grants totaling $280 million to help fight tuberculosis. The 11 new grants will speed research and development on vaccines, diagnostic tests and treatments to help reduce the global TB burden. Report