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Not So Much 'R' and Not So Much 'D'

At The New York Times Prescriptions blog, Duff Wilson says that outside business deals are keeping the pipelines of the major drug companies healthy, instead of internal research projects. According to a recent analysis from Fitch Ratings, the major drug makers are on pace to meet last year's level of 21 new drugs approved in the United States and Europe, but only thanks to acquisition and licensing deals. At the same time, 15 possible new drugs have had major problems, mostly with unfavorable results from clinical trials, Wilson says. Companies are, in fact, slashing spending on R&D, most notably Pfizer, which announced it's cutting its research budget by as much as $2.9 billion in the next two years. "In another analyst report with a broad view of the industry recently, Dr. Timothy Anderson of Bernstein Research looked at the prospects for nine major pharmaceutical companies to 2020," Wilson says. "His June 16 investor note found some companies with good long-term prospects from existing products, while others fall off the 'patent cliff' as generic competition is expected to pound their sales."

The Scan

Highly Similar

Researchers have uncovered bat viruses that are highly similar to SARS-CoV-2, according to Nature News.

Gain of Oversight

According to the Wall Street Journal, the Biden Administration is considering greater oversight of gain-of-function research.

Lasker for mRNA Vaccine Work

The Scientist reports that researchers whose work enabled the development of mRNA-based vaccines are among this year's Lasker Award winners

PLOS Papers on Causal Variant Mapping, Ancient Salmonella, ALK Fusion Test for NSCLC

In PLOS this week: MsCAVIAR approach to map causal variants, analysis of ancient Salmonella, and more.