TS Picks: August 9, 2016

Gene therapy money-back guarantee; the brain benefits from bilingualism; Q&A with a science watchdog

Bob Grant
Bob Grant
Aug 9, 2016


Selections from The Scientist’s reading list:


  • UK drugmaker GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) is marketing a gene therapy, available to European patients, which—according to MIT Technology Review—will come with a money-back guarantee. And that’s a good thing: the single-use treatment, called Strimvelis, costs €594,000 ($665,000). “The drug has to deliver what you say or we don’t pay,” Luca Pani, director general of the Italian Medicines Agency, which set the price and terms during negotiations with GSK, told Tech Review. “If it does not work, they will return the money.” Strimvelis was approved by the European Commission earlier this year for the treatment of ADA-SCID, a rare immune disorder usually seen in children.
  • Retraction Watch has a Q&A with one of the unsung heroes of keeping science honest: German science writer and retraction watchdog Rolf Degen. “For the longest part, my engagement was driven by unbridled obsession and a naive, unswerving trust in that incorruptible voice of truth and wisdom, the scientific enterprise,” said Degen. “That is, until Retraction Watch and related voices disseminated the sobering recognition that, all too often, the so-called incorruptible voice has a skeleton in the closet.”