Merck(MRK) is the biggest U.S. spender in the pharma and biotech sector.
The company is undergoing a major restructuring that will reduce its global workforce by about 20%, with the aim of saving $2.5 billion annually by 2015. Some research jobs will go, but CEO Kenneth Frazier has committed the drug maker to "innovative R&D." Merck is focusing on vaccines and treatments for cancer and diabetes.
The patent on one of Merck's more lucrative drugs, the asthma treatment Singulair, expired last year, eroding sales as the product is exposed to generic competition.