India's Piramal decides to dump early-stage drug R&D

India's Piramal is getting out of early-stage drug development. The company says it wants to move up the clinical ladder, focusing on later-stage development work on molecules. The move will affect some 200 researchers at the company's Mumbai facility, though it seems unclear whether they will be laid off or reassigned to other work, according to the Business Standard. Piramal has been working in cancer and metabolics, purchasing florbetaben from Bayer, an imaging agent that may or may not help diagnose Alzheimer's. Imaging agents in use today can identify amyloid beta, but as long as the role of the toxic protein remains uncertain, it's not a particularly good tool for diagnosis. Eli Lilly ($LLY) and GE ($GE) both have imaging tests available which are largely restricted to clinical studies of new drugs. Story