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  • Infectious Diseases

    The Invisible Fight for Iron

    One of the things that I have always liked about the sciences is that you get a behind-the-scenes look at what’s really going on in the world (which is something I emphasized in various entries in The Chemistry Book). If you’re not a biologist or chemist, one of those little-known but crucial things is how much… Read More
  • Drug Development

    Cutting (And Re-Cutting) the Research Pie

    Here’s something that goes on inside almost every biopharma research organization, but always happens behind the scenes if you’re not right there at the meetings: resource allocation for projects. That “almost” is in there because the smallest companies don’t have this problem in the same way, since they tend to have o… Read More
  • Drug Assays

    Software Eats the World, But Biology Eats It

    I can strongly recommend this Bruce Booth post at LifeSciVC on computational models in drug discovery. He’s referencing Marc Andreessen’s famous “Why Software Is Eating the World” essay when he titles his “Four Decades of Hacking Biotech and Yet Biology Still Consumes Everything”. To tell you about where Bruce i… Read More
  • Cardiovascular Disease

    A Clinical Trial Torpedoed By Fraud and Incompetence

    Via @AndyBiotech on Twitter, here’s a story on some very troubling developments in offshore clinical trials. That Cardiobrief article is referring to this letter in NEJM, and the subject is the NIH’s trial of spironolactone in heart failure patients. The TOPCAT trial enrolled 3445 participants  in 6 countries (1151 in the US, 326 i… Read More
  • Biological News

    Silently Affecting the Immune System?

    Here’s a new paper in Nature Chemical Biology that might be lifting the lid on a poorly-understood set of side effects. A multi-institution team (centered in Vienna) has taken peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMCs, basically the leukocytes and monocytes) from a single patient and looked for immunomodulatory effects of known drugs. (The si… Read More
  • Business and Markets

    Marathon Pharmaceuticals Cashes Out

    You may recall Marathon Pharmaceuticals, the small company that announced plans to sell a long-used steroid treatment (Emflaza, deflazacort) in the US to Duchenne muscular dystrophy patients. The price was set to go up steeply, since the company was awarded years of market exclusivity by the FDA (under their program to reward orphan-drug indication… Read More
  • Drug Assays

    Free Compounds, Chosen By Software

    Here’s how the press release starts, and I’ll say this for it, it does get the reader’s attention: “Atomwise Inc. seeks proposals from innovative university scientists to receive 72 potential medicines, generated specifically for their research by artificial intelligence.” As you’d imagine, this is the sort of th… Read More
  • Current Events

    The March For Science

    I’ve had a number of questions about the March For Science that’s taking place tomorrow, so I thought I’d explain my position, for what that’s worth. Overall, I find myself in agreement with this editorial at STAT. I am relentlessly pro-science, but this march leaves me a bit nonplussed, for several reasons. First, I’m… Read More
  • The Scientific Literature

    A Publication Dilemma

    Here’s a tricky situation that a reader of the blog has run into. To their dismay, a paper has just appeared in an open-access journal that seems to duplicate much of his group’s research. He says that they had a good deal of material available via presentations on their own web site, and worries that… Read More
  • Blog Housekeeping

    An AMA

    Some behind-the-scenes trouble with WordPress left me unable to log in to the site until now, but I wanted to mention that at this very moment, I’m doing an “Ask Me Anything” on Reddit’s Science section. Drop by and see how quickly I can keep up the typing! Read More
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