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New Models for New Drugs


When the Human Genome Project was wrapping up, it wasn't unusual to hear enthusiasts promising anyone who would listen that the genome sequence data would revolutionize the drug discovery process and completely reshape pharmas.

OK, so we all knew that was a little far-fetched. But like any good hype, there was a grain of truth to it: large-scale biology has truly changed the way basic researchers interact with companies involved in drug discovery, and pharma itself is getting more creative about its prospecting. Advances in translational research have pushed some seemingly academic institutions — the Broad, for instance — to the point where the line between academia and pharma is getting downright blurry.

Ciara Curtin checked in on some creative alternatives coming from pharma, biotech, and academia aimed at figuring out better ways to design drugs and take them through the validation process. Check out her cover story on page 39.

Also in this issue, we've got our Brute Force column updating you on cloud computing and how it's being used for bioinformatics. There are also feature articles on biobanking — a service that is facing changes in sample collection and data handling as a result of dramatically increased demand from the systems biology community — and on chromatin immunoprecipitation, which has taken advantage of arrays and sequencers to go truly high-throughput. Our lab reunion features NHGRI's Eric Green, and we're pleased to have a My Take column from Keith Robison on data integrity issues with sequence databases.

In last issue's salary survey, we accidentally omitted the median salary listings for core lab managers. My apologies to our core lab readers for the oversight. Here is the data we left out:

Median salary ranges for core lab managers, by organization type

Small pharma/biotech ( Large pharma/biotech (>5,000 employees): $85,000-$99,999
University/Academic life sciences institute: $60,000-$74,999
Government agency: $100,000-$109,999

The Scan

Panel Recommends Pfizer-BioNTech Vaccine for Kids

CNN reports that the US Food and Drug Administration advisory panel has voted in favor of authorizing the Pfizer-BioNTech SARS-CoV-2 vaccine for children between 5 and 11 years old.

Sharing How to Make It

Merck had granted a royalty-free license for its COVID-19 treatment to the Medicines Patent Pool, according to the New York Times.

Bring it Back In

Bloomberg reports that a genetic analysis has tied a cluster of melioidosis cases in the US to a now-recalled aromatherapy spray.

Nucleic Acids Research Papers on SomaMutDB, VThunter, SCovid Databases

In Nucleic Acids Research this week: database of somatic mutations in normal tissue, viral receptor-related expression signatures, and more.