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Investment in China

Merck isn't the first pharmaceutical company to invest in research in China, but it sure is spending a lot more, says ScienceInsider's Hao Xin. The company says it plans to spend about $1.5 billion on R&D in China over the next five years, starting with a staff of 260 in Beijing. Merck already has a commercial headquarters in Shanghai and has built manufacturing facilities in other parts of China, Xin says. The first phase of the Beijing facility is slated to be completed in 2014, and will ultimately house 600 employees doing R&D, translational research, and working on getting regulatory approval for drugs in China and establishing collaborations with other researchers.

The Scan

White-Tailed Deer Harbor SARS-CoV-2 Variants No Longer Infecting Humans, Study Finds

A new study in PNAS has found that white-tailed deer could act as a reservoir of SARS-CoV-2 variants no longer found among humans.

Study Points to Benefits of Local Consolidative Therapy, Targeted Treatments in Cancer Care

In JCO Precision Oncology, researchers report that local consolidative therapy combined with molecularly targeted treatments could improve survival for some lung cancer patients.

Genetic Variants That Lower LDL Cholesterol Linked to Reduced Heart Disease Risk

Rare variants in two genes that lower LDL cholesterol are also associated with a decreased risk of coronary heart disease, according to a new JAMA Cardiology study.

Study Links Evolution of Longevity, Social Organization in Mammals

With the help of comparative phylogenetics and transcriptomics, researchers in Nature Communications see ties between lifespan and social organization in mammals.