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Biotech bailing on stem cells?

By | July 23, 2008

The announcement last week of Advanced Cell Technology's imminent closure is evidence that embryonic stem cell technology may be linkurl:too nascent;http://www.the-scientist.com/blog/display/54544/ for fruitful biotech innovation, according to some industry analysts. For the past 10 years Advanced Cell Technology (ACT) has been a spotlight company for linkurl:endeavors;http://www.the-scientist.com/news/display/24363/ in embryonic stem cell research and cloning. But in a Securities and Exchange

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Another biotech buy for Roche

By | July 22, 2008

After making a $43.7 billion offer linkurl:yesterday;http://www.the-scientist.com/blog/display/54841/ (July 21) to buy the 44% of Genentech stock it didn't already own, the Swiss pharmaceutical company announced another biotech purchase today. Roche will acquire linkurl:Mirus Bio Corporation;http://www.mirusbio.com/ for $125 million. Roche's half-year financial linkurl:results,;http://www.roche.com/home/figures/fig_halfyearrep_2008.htm released on Monday but eclipsed by the Genentech offer,

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"Pharmed" vaccine passes early test

By | July 21, 2008

A team of researchers has completed human tests of the first plant-produced vaccine for non-Hodgkin's lymphoma. The successful linkurl:results;http://www.pnas.org/cgi/doi/10.1073/pnas.0803636105 of a phase I clinical trial suggest that plants could provide a safe, inexpensive reservoir to "grow" vaccines for the common human cancer, according to a study published tomorrow (July 22) in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. The trial "builds upon all the advances in immunology t

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FDA funding future brightens

By | July 21, 2008

The Senate Appropriations Committee approved a whopping budget of more than two billion dollars for the FDA in 2009. On Thursday (July 17), the committee unanimously passed the markup, which would represent an increase of more than $324 million over the FDA's 2008 budget and the first time the agency's budget would breech the two billion dollar mark. The FDA budget boost is part of a larger bill, totaling almost $20.5 billion, that also contains provisions for global food assistance, rental ass

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Pharma gets friendly

By | July 21, 2008

The biggest drug makers are known for cut-throat competition, not collaboration. But last week Pfizer, Merck and Eli Lilly bucked that trend, announcing the creation of a joint company called Enlight BioSciences to help fund and develop enabling technologies to speed drug development. The company, formed with the help of PureTech Ventures, a venture capital firm in Boston, will seek out and fund linkurl:inventions from academic institutions;http://www.the-scientist.com/article/display/54666/ aro

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Roche shifts funding priorities

By | July 21, 2008

Pharmaceutical company Roche seems to be changing up its research focus. The company is pulling the plug on its HIV research program, and today offered more than $40 billion to buy up the 44% of biotech Genentech that it does not already own. A Roche spokesperson told linkurl:Chemical & Engineering News;http://pubs.acs.org/cen/news/86/i29/8629notw7.html that there are no drugs in the company's HIV drug pipeline that warrant further development. They had been developing antiretrovirals, all of w

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More articles, fewer citations

By | July 18, 2008

As more journal articles go online, only more recent articles tend to be cited, according to a linkurl:study published today;http://www.sciencemag.org/cgi/content/abstract/321/5887/395 in Science. In addition, only a small group of journals and articles are being cited, the study found. linkurl:James Evans,;http://sociology.uchicago.edu/people/faculty/evans.shtml a sociologist at the University of Chicago, surveyed a database of 34 million articles, their citations over the past 50 years, and t

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NIH AIDS vaccine trial nixed

By | July 17, 2008

The National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Disease (NIAID) announced today (July 17) that it will not conduct a trial of an HIV vaccine that its own Vaccine Research Center (VRC) developed. It was known as the PAVE 100 trial. "Based on the available scientific information, NIAID has decided that the VRC vaccine regimen did not warrant a trial of this size and scope and that PAVE 100 will not proceed," the NIAID said in a linkurl:press release;http://www3.niaid.nih.gov/news/newsreleases/20

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RNA in control

By | July 17, 2008

An ancient RNA molecule is the answer to a bacterial mystery, according to a study published in linkurl:Science;http://www.sciencemag.org/ tomorrow (July 18). Researchers have identified the binding molecule of a key messenger in bacteria, but to their surprise, the molecule was not a protein -- traditionally thought of as regulators of cellular processes -- but a unique RNA trigger. In the last six years, RNA triggers, called linkurl:riboswitches,;http://www.the-scientist.com/article/display/1

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Story corps for scientists

By | July 17, 2008

Nobel prize-winning geneticist linkurl:Joshua Lederberg,;http://www.the-scientist.com/blog/display/54279/ liposome pioneer and essayist linkurl:Gerald Weissmann,;http://www.med.nyu.edu/medicine/rheumatology/about/details.html?au=weissg01&info=education Lasker Prize-winning microbiologist linkurl:Carol Greider;http://www.the-scientist.com/blog/display/24797/ -- these are only a smattering of the scientists whose thoughts, reflections, and tribulations have been recorded in oral histories as part

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