NEW YORK (GenomeWeb News) – Biotech firm Odyssey Thera has raised $2.8 million and initiated a research service contract with Merck, it announced on Thursday.

The financing, consisting of new funds and debt conversion, will go toward the development and expanded commercialization of the San Ramon, Calif.-based company's technologies and products.

Participants in the round include Merck, HBM Partners, Burrill & Co., and Lonza.

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The US Food and Drug Administration has approved Kite Pharmaceuticals' CAR T-cell therapy for large B-cell lymphomas, the New York Times reports.

Kaiser Health News reports that gene therapies could cost more than a million dollars.

Worcester Polytechnic Institute researchers have received a grant to combine biology and computer science for high school students.

In Nature this week: variants associated with obsessive-compulsive disorder, review of key CRISPR enzymes, and more.