BioCommerce Week Index companies spent at least $13 billion on 13 M&A deals during the first half of 2006 (see table) — compared with at least $2 billion on 13 deals in last year's first half. But the size and expected upshot of a couple of these transactions on the broader life sciences market are expected to push others to follow suit.

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Rare gene mutations are guiding the search for drugs to manage chronic pain without opioids, according to CNBC.

The new Francis Crick Institute building can get too noisy for some researchers to concentrate, according to the Guardian.

CBS News reports that there are still many vacancies at the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy, but that it's uncertain whether they will be filled.

In Nucleic Acids Research this week: pipeline to analyze and visualize bacterial genomes, database of global set of human genomes, and more.