News

Broad Institute set to swell psychiatric databases using $650M gift

The psychiatric sector received a big boost this week when the Broad Institute was given $650 million to investigate the genetic causes of mental illnesses such as schizophrenia and bipolar disorder. And the impact of the work is set to extend far beyond Cambridge, with Broad making the data available to researchers around the world.

Study: Red tape hindering use of EHRs in research

The rise of electronic health records was heralded as a step toward the merging of patient care and research, a scenario in which data from the day-to-day of healthcare is gathered to inform treatment and drug development. But a study in the United Kingdom suggests that while technology can now facilitate this vision, the path is blocked by another barrier: red tape.

Novartis and Google team up to commercialize 'smart' contact lenses

The deal gives Google a partner with healthcare experience to commercialize the glucose-recording contact lens technology it unveiled earlier this year.

Google-backed service provider gives clients direct control of robot-run lab

While virtual biotechs and the service providers that support them have been around for years, Transcriptic and rival West Coast startups think they can improve the model through automation. And having raised cash from Google's venture unit and struck deals with some elite academic centers, Transcriptic is now rolling out the next phase of its plan.

FDA adds recalls API as openFDA initiative gathers pace

The FDA is continuing to push ahead with its openFDA initiative, with this week's rollout of an application programming interface (API) for recall data coming a month after its adverse event system went live. And the regulator plans to maintain the pace throughout the rest of the summer.

Bioinformatics skills help Codexis strike $25M deal with GSK

Codexis strengthened its ties to small-molecule synthesis this week through a deal with GlaxoSmithKline. The agreement will see GSK pay $6 million upfront and more in milestones to license the platform.

Report: Development IT hit hard in Novartis cutbacks

Over the first few months of 2014, Novartis quietly began laying off workers, shedding an estimated 3,000 jobs in four months. Now BioSpace has provided details of where the ax has fallen and why, with development IT teams suffering heavy job losses.

Database provides fresh evidence of effect of diabetes drugs on Alzheimer's

This week a German team presented data from a database analysis study that found a link between a diabetes drug and a slight dip in the risk of developing Alzheimer's.

Illumina strikes sequencing deal with England's 100K Genome Project

When Illumina unveiled its HiSeq X Ten in January, the alignment between its capabilities and the needs of England's 100K Genome Project were clear. The project aims to sequence 100,000 genomes by 2017 for around $160 million, figures that only look achievable using the massive output and relatively low costs of the HiSeq X Ten. This week the tie-up became official.

Google creates new cash source for European biotech IT startups with $100M VC fund

After weeks of increasingly confident media speculation, Google has confirmed it is setting up an outpost of its venture capital wing in Europe. And with a brief to follow a similar strategy to the U.S. team that invested in Flatiron Health, DNAnexus and other biotech IT startups, the $100 million fund is a new source of capital for European life science innovators.

FDA warns Gilead over 'misleading' paid search link

The drug is approved for treating--not preventing--hepatitis B, prompting FDA to call the advert misleading.

After working to mimic the brain for 9 years, Numenta reflects on limitations of today's hardware

Although Numenta has made progress in creating apps that reproduce the brain, it thinks a fully functioning model is impossible without rethinking the underlying hardware.

PHT prioritizes Android over Apple in preparation for 'bring your own device' trials

PHT unveiled its electronic patient reported outcome app for Apple and Android devices last summer, but Google's platform has become its primary focus.

Row over IT focus of Europe's brain project prompts 280 scientists to threaten a boycott

Two hundred eighty scientists have signed an open letter threatening to boycott Europe's Human Brain Project. The scientists have fundamental concerns about exactly what Europe is trying to achieve with its €1 billion ($1.4 billion) budget.

'Painful' regulations keeping Google on the periphery of life sciences

Over the past few years, Google has expanded into life sciences, with venture capital investments, the creation of Calico and development of "smart" contact lenses giving it multiple beachheads in the industry. But the search giant's co-founders have reservations about getting deep into healthcare, saying regulations make it a "painful" sector in which to work.

FDA IT modernization push set to continue under 2014-2018 strategic plan

When the FDA laid out its strategic priorities for 2011 to 2015, the agency listed the modernization of its IT infrastructure as a primary objective. Since then, the FDA has seen another chief information officer pass through its revolving doors and faced criticism from the Government Accountability Office, but is still plugging away with the IT modernization agenda in its next strategic plan.

FDA wants an EMR database to boost oversight of drug safety

The potential to mine electronic medical records for insights into disease prevalence, drug adherence, patient safety and a host of other areas has attracted a who's who of Big Pharma, with the likes of GlaxoSmithKline, Johnson & Johnson and Pfizer all running programs. And now the FDA is pushing ahead with its plans by seeking access to a patient-level database.

The Silicon Valley startups aiming to build Amazon for biotech R&D

When Y Combinator expanded into biotech, the startup incubator was effectively betting on the idea that IT has narrowed the gap between timelines and economics in life sciences and tech. The Wall Street Journal is the latest publication to profile the scene, picking out a batch of companies with similar models and ambitions to those featured by TechCrunch and FierceBiotechIT earlier this year.

Curelauncher targeting Big Pharma co's with 'Match.com for trials' service

If the Michigan-based company--which describes itself as "Match.com for clinical trials"--achieves its goal, it will have doubled the number of top-5 companies on its books.

Faculty leaders call for Scripps chief to leave over USC merger plan

The staff opposition that greeted news that the Scripps Research Institute is looking into a merger or other type of deal to ease its money worries has escalated over the past few weeks, culminating in an email to the chair of the board of trustees. In the email, Scripps' faculty leaders reportedly call for the removal of President Michael Marletta because they have lost confidence in his leadership.