Europe is nearing the end of its summer holiday season, and investors and biotech companies are idling, reviewing events from the past year and fine-tuning plans for the coming months.

The first half of 2001 saw some interesting deals. There was Bayer’s $1.5 billion alliance with Curagen to discover new metabolic targets, and Merck’s acquisition of the bioinformatics company Rosetta, which cost $600 million at a 100 percent premium that reflected the enormous strategic value of bio  IT.

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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.