Is Google a competitor or partner to Big Pharma? Roche's CEO doesn't know, yet

The advance of Google and other tech firms into life sciences has given drug developers a new source of partners with complementary skills, but also raised an awkward question: Long term, are these companies allies or rivals? For Roche CEO Severin Schwan, the answer is still unclear.


Allergan taps NuMedii's digital discovery platform for psoriasis R&D

NuMedii has landed a deal that could validate its data-driven approach to drug discovery. Allergan is the company to give a shot to NuMedii, signing up to source a flow of potential treatments for psoriasis from the Stanford University spinout.

PacBio soars on news of cheaper, smaller, higher-throughput sequencer

Pacific Biosciences has stepped up the fight for the sequencing market with the introduction of an instrument that is smaller, cheaper and higher throughput than the model it replaces.

Mount Sinai, Yale roll out updates to Apple ResearchKit programs

The set of studies running on Apple's ResearchKit is continuing to expand and improve. Yale School of Medicine and The Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai are the latest to step up their use of the platform, rolling out a new heart condition study and refining an asthma app, respectively.

Illumina readies paid-for BaseSpace tiers for large organizations

Illumina has detailed how it intends to start generating income from its cloud app platform BaseSpace. The plan includes the creation of two paid-for packages that bundle together assorted features, some of which are targeted specifically at larger organizations.

Cloud Pharmaceuticals, Therametrics hook up for CNS drug discovery drive

Cloud Pharmaceuticals and Therametrics have hooked up to apply their computing and software capabilities to a central nervous system (CNS) R&D program. The plan is to use Cloud's computing platform to design drugs to inhibit targets identified by Therametrics' software.

Berg to apply AI drug discovery model to U.K.'s genome data repository

Genomics England has enlisted Berg Health to support its 100,000 Genomes Project. The agreement gives Berg a seat alongside GlaxoSmithKline, Roche and other notable drugmakers on the GENE Consortium, an initiative set up to investigate how data from the project can facilitate drug discovery.

Bayer pairs Genedata Profiler and iRODS to manage omics data analysis

Bayer has set up a system to manage its omics data analysis workflow. The system is the result of Bayer's collaboration with Genedata, which has provided its data management and analysis software to a platform that also draws on the capabilities of the open-source iRODS.

BioClinica buys pharmacovigilance outfit to continue evolution

BioClinica is continuing the rapid evolution that began 18 months ago when its new owners merged it with CCBR-SYNARC. The latest step in the process is the buyout of Synowledge, a provider of pharmacovigilance and regulatory affairs services and accompanying IT support.

Bristol picks ZS to handle commercial analytics in vendor consolidation move

The deal makes ZS Bristol's primary vendor in the sector, allowing the Big Pharma to trim the list of vendors with which it works to analyze commercial data.

Feds prioritize researcher access to health data in IT action plan

Federal officials are to prioritize making high-quality electronic health data more readily available to researchers over the next 5 years. Objectives include increased use of trial data in patient-focused outcomes studies, the application of health IT to improve clinical research and greater openness.

AstraZeneca opens data vault for cancer combo efficacy prediction challenge

AstraZeneca has opened up a wealth of preclinical cancer data and challenged people to dig into it to predict the effectiveness of different drug combinations. The data dump covers 11,500 combinations of 118 drugs across 85 cancer cell lines that AstraZeneca tested for cell viability.

Venter's HLI strikes low-cost exome sequencing deal to swell data repository

J. Craig Venter's Human Longevity Inc. has struck a deal to provide exome sequencing services to the customers of a South Africa-based insurance firm. HLI is charging a meager $250 per exome, but in addition to the cash will get one of the other things it wants: data.

Roche's Bina wins competition for cancer-detecting algorithms

Bina's algorithm for the detection of small insertions and deletions placed first in its class in the DREAM Mutation Calling Challenge, while its somatic single nucleotide variant tool took second in its subcategory.

Microsoft lands cloud genomics infrastructure deal with UC Santa Cruz

Microsoft has captured a little corner of the market for cloud genomics infrastructure. The deal sees the IT giant make its Azure cloud computing platform available to UC Santa Cruz Genomics, which plans to use the system to support its work on the Human Genome Variation Map and other initiatives.

Harvard connection helps WuXi NextCODE land Chinese hospital contract

WuXi NextCODE has added the Children's Hospital of Fudan University to its client list. The deal sees WuXi NextCODE deploy its full suite of sequencing and informatics tools to support a push by CHFU to apply genomics to the care of some of the 2.3 million patients that pass through its doors each year.

Google lures NIH mental health chief to life sciences team

Dr. Tom Insel has stepped down as director of the National Institute of Mental Health to join the life sciences team at Google. The coup formalizes the expansion of Google's focus into the detection, management and prevention of mental health disorders and gives it access to expertise Insel accrued while spearheading NIH programs such as the BRAIN Initiative.

Traders pay SEC $30M to settle newswire hacking case

The Securities and Exchange Commission has snagged the first settlement in its large-scale case against traders suspected of profiting from the hacking of newswires. Ukraine-based Jaspen Capital Partners and its CEO, Andriy Supranonok, have agreed to pay $30 million to the SEC to settle.

Number of clinical trials to use wearables nears 300

In recent years, the use of wearables in clinical trials has gone from being an attractive but untested idea to an emerging part of the research toolkit. Now, Bloomberg has tallied up just how many trials are building the devices into their protocols: 299.

IBM inks deals to give Watson a role in R&D at Icon and Teva

The march of IBM's Watson into biopharma R&D is continuing apace. Icon and Teva are the latest companies to ink deals to access the computer system, giving them new ways to match patients to clinical trials and create disease models.