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.
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.
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.
Over the first 6 months of 2014, the FBI, cybersecurity monitors and others have criticized pharma's data defense practices. Yet now drugmakers--along with their peers in other industries--are being taken to task for focusing heavily on preventing information breaches instead of trying to tap databases to boost their businesses.
In the months since the United Kingdom slammed the breaks on its controversial patient data sharing scheme, officials have tried to hit upon a model that a now wary public will accept. And this looks set to result in a scaling back of the project's initial ambitions, with doctors calling for it to become an opt-in system and the group providing the technology admitting the program will start small.
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.
A survey by Veeva Systems found biopharma companies still use paper or simple electronic systems to manage trial master files.
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 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.
With days to go until the European Medicines Agency meets to finalize its clinical trial data policy, the region's ombudsman has confirmed she is probing a possible link between a settlement with AbbVie and a shift in the transparency plans.