Evangelists of 3-D printing tip the technology to reshape organ transplants, orthopedics and multiple other areas of medicines, with Johnson & Johnson among the companies trying to turn hype into reality. And now the National Institutes of Health has joined the sector, adding a 3-D model creation service to help drug researchers who lack computing skills.
While the debate over how to implement clinical trial data transparency laws rages in Europe, Big Pharma firms continue to roll out their own offerings, with Bristol-Myers Squibb the latest to show its hand. And the U.S. drugmaker has gone further than some of its peers by handing over decision-making powers to a third party and promising to publish full clinical study reports.
The Human Brain Project faces huge technical challenges in its mission to build a full simulation of the brain, with the computers the European team needs not expected to even exist until 2019. Before the technology arrives, the project is dealing with a more mundane, but equally important, task: getting researchers to share their data.
Having had a week to mull over the FDA's latest batch of social media guidance, some observers have concluded the agency is making a blunt statement to brand managers: Don't use Twitter.
A survey by Veeva Systems found biopharma companies still use paper or simple electronic systems to manage trial master files.
While M&A rumors continually buzz around biopharma companies, the academic institutes that play an important role in drug discovery are generally excluded from such wheeling and dealing. Yet with reliance on National Institutes of Health funding looking like a risky strategy, the Scripps Research Institute is considering hooking up with the University of Southern California.
Critics of siloed Big Pharma R&D often point to the untapped potential of leading firms' compound libraries as evidence of the need for greater openness. Giving a wider pool of researchers with IT and high-throughput screening skills, access to the libraries could uncover new drugs, an idea AstraZeneca is putting to the test by sharing compounds with certain researchers.
The FDA continued to build its patchwork quilt of social media guidance this week with the publication of two new draft documents, one of which is the long-awaited discussion on how to use Twitter. And while the guidance places significant constraints on how biopharma can use the platform, some think the clarity it brings will prompt companies to become more active tweeters.
While PhRMA, EFPIA and other trade groups have established positions on trial data transparency, Big Pharma consortium TransCelerate BioPharma has been on the periphery of the public debate. Behind the scenes though it has been looking into the best way to redact information--and has shared its thoughts on the topic with the European Medicines Agency (EMA).
With the clinical trial community gathering over the past week in San Diego for DIA 2014, eClinical technology providers posted a flurry of press releases detailing new and updated offerings. Parexel, PatientsLikeMe and BBK Worldwide were among the companies to show off their wares at the meeting.
The Potomac Institute for Policy Studies warned that President Obama's BRAIN Initiative is destined to fail unless funding commitments increase dramatically.
The controversy surrounding the European Medicines Agency's trial data transparency draft terms put this week's management board meeting in the spotlight, with campaigners hoping the regulator would rethink its policy. And to an extent, the EMA did, but the compromise it proposed is unlikely to fully satisfy either side of the debate.
While Apple, Google and Samsung are all trying to persuade people to use their mobile technology to create personal health hubs, Illumina plans to take the concept further still. The genomic giant is working to turn smartphones into "molecular stethoscopes" that could change how patients interact with the healthcare and research ecosystems.
X-Chem has notched up some notable achievements in its first few years, including investment by CRO PPD, deals with AstraZeneca and Roche and the growth of its compound library to 100 billion small molecules. Now it has added another to the list by striking a drug discovery deal with Pfizer.
In the months since Google unveiled its cloud-based genomics platform, the only public sign of the project's evolution has been the frequent updates to its underlying code on GitHub. That changed this week when Google Genomics signed up a customer: Autism Speaks.
The emergence of electronic health records has made it possible to build a more complete picture of the health of populations. To realize this vision for diabetes patients, AstraZeneca has signed up to sponsor a registry that gathers data from primary care physicians and specialists in other fields.
The importance of computing power to the BRAIN Initiative has been clear since President Obama unveiled the plan last year. Each update since then has reiterated the role of technology, with the latest document from the BRAIN working group giving a more detailed picture of how computer modeling could enable the project.
The U.S. National Institutes of Health has committed $25 million to better understanding infectious diseases, awarding the cash to the J. Craig Venter Institute, which will apply its sequencing and bioinformatics skills to tackling the field.