News

FDA-funded study shows limits of mining Twitter for adverse event reports

The steady flow of posts about adverse events on social media provide an interesting opportunity for the FDA to improve postmarketing safety surveillance. Yet an FDA-funded study has found that mining the data for insights is difficult, with humans still better equipped than machines to decipher chatter on Twitter.

Google patents show plans for smart contact lenses

The patents show a standard looking contact lens incorporating two antennas, one for power, one for communication.

U.K. seeks help prioritizing $3.4B of Big Data projects

The U.K. is seeking feedback on how it should allocate its science and research budget in the coming years.

Feds fret over threat of healthcare data theft

The shift to electronic health records is opening up new opportunities for biopharma research, but it also makes the information vulnerable to hackers. Now the FBI has issued a warning to healthcare providers: Your data is at the top of hackers' hit lists and your cybersecurity is lax.

Y Combinator seeking software-enabled biotechs after raising funding limit

The Y Combinator startup investment model has already edged onto the fringes of biotech, with the organization itself funding a HIV vaccine and Illumina borrowing ideas from the group for its incubator. Now, the ties are set to get deeper still, with Y Combinator upping its investments in a bid to expand beyond pure-software startups.

Wellcome Trust order helps Illumina blast past HiSeq X Ten sale forecasts

When Illumina unveiled its $1,000 genome machine, there were a few doubts about how many organizations had a big enough sequencing pipeline to justify buying the equipment. Now a purchase by the Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute has taken Illumina's order book up to 104 machines, almost double its original forecast.

NIH lays out plan to work exome data into clinical research

Having seen the cost of exome sequencing tumble in recent years, the U.S. National Institutes of Health has decided now is the time to jump-start its genomic medicine program. The upshot is more clinical research programs will soon have access to exome sequencing capabilities and NIH support with management of the resulting data.

Philippines opens IBM-powered bioinformatics facility

PGC set up the bioinformatics center to complement its existing next-generation sequencing work.

Google adds UCSF geneticist to Calico's roster

In the months since details of Google's Calico last leaked into the public domain, the creation of a new J. Craig Venter company has further increased interest in anti-aging. And while Calico has been out of the headlines, it has continued to build out its anti-aging dream team, with a UCSF geneticist the latest to join.

Pfizer, PhRMA and others pick holes in FDA social media guidance

Drugmakers received the first slice of FDA social media guidance in January, and now the FDA's mailbag is filling up with letters on First Amendment protections, "jurisdictional creep" and other topics from the likes of Pfizer and PhRMA.

Europe puts data management at the heart of $4B drug innovation drive

Europe is embarking on the second, decadelong part of its public-private partnership to improve drug development, with Parliament agreeing this week to contribute to the €3 billion ($4.1 billion) program. And the "yes" vote will mean more cash for IT.

BlackBerry plans healthcare-focused smartphone after making eClinical investment

John Chen has begun refocusing BlackBerry on healthcare and other industries with specialized requirements. And evidence of just how deep BlackBerry plans to get into healthcare emerged this week when the company outlined plans for a smartphone tailored to the industry.

U.K. and Canadian governments back bioinformatics, omics research projects

British government funding groups are looking for startups that will sustain the resurgence in the country's economy. And that means more money for bioinformatics businesses, with the Technology Strategy Board accepting applications for new funding from next month.

NCI plans database of patients who experience miraculous recoveries

Every clinical trial has its outliers. Some patients respond far better to the treatment than the rest, but the focus on efficacy across the study population means these results--and their implications--are lost in the shuffle. The National Cancer Institute is trying to change this by improving the tracking of data on these "exceptional responders."

Pharma continues to grapple with trial participants' use of social media

While it is years now since clinical trial participants started talking about their experiences online, the industry is still searching for the best way to approach the phenomenon. And with pharma needing to improve the clinical trial process, the onus is on the industry to find systems that not only manage the negative implications of social media, but tap into its power, too.

Cancer foundation aiming to build a database of 50,000 human genomes

The parents of a teenage boy who died of glioblastoma multiforme are trying to build a database of 50,000 human genomes.

Cheminformatics skills shortage threatens Indian drug discovery program

The Open Source Drug Discovery program India set up in 2008 promised to disrupt the current model and deliver new treatments for neglected diseases. Six years later, OSDD is still working towards these goals, but has run up against shortages in two age-old areas: Money and skills.

Big Pharma companies open up cancer trial comparator arm data

A lot has changed in clinical trial transparency since Project Data Sphere outlined plans to share cancer results in 2012, with the European law voted in last week then still a distant threat. Even so, Pfizer, Sanofi and the other groups behind the initiative think it still offers something different now that it has belatedly launched.

PatientsLikeMe inks 5-year deal with Genentech

Genentech has a long history of incorporating real-world data into its business, with the myocardial infarction registry it helped set up in the 1990s showing how to achieve better patient outcomes using its drug Activase. And the big biotech has now teamed with PatientsLikeMe to access patient-focused data and research tools.

Europe to create public clinical trial results database after passing law

The European campaign for greater clinical trial data transparency faced a big test this week when the region's politicians voted on legislation. More than 95% voted in favor of the regulations, paving the way for the creation of a publicly-accessible database of clinical trial results.