Skip to main content
Premium Trial:

Request an Annual Quote

Roll of the Dice?

Merck is closing down eight research and development facilities, including ones in Montreal and Cambridge, MA, reports Fierce Biotech. In addition, eight manufacturing plants will close. As part of Merck's purchase of Schering-Plough, the company said it would generate $3.5 billion in yearly savings and the Wall Street Journal's Health Blog notes that this move should save the company between $2.7 billion and $3.1 billion.

This news gets In the Pipeline's Derek Lowe thinking about how those sites where picked. "Some sites that have a long and distinguished history of drug discovery are set to be closed up as if they were so many redundant discount store locations," he writes. He argues that "research cultures vary from place to place" and that nobody knows what makes those cultures work. "It's a combination of the individual people, their managers, the projects they get to work on, the experience that they have (or get) with success ... all sorts of hard-to-deal-with variables," he says.

The Scan

Long COVID-19 Susceptibility Clues Contained in Blood Plasma Proteome

A longitudinal study in eBioMedicine found weeks-long blood plasma proteome shifts after SARS-CoV-2 infection, along with proteomic signatures that appeared to coincide with long Covid risk.

Tibetan Study Finds Adaptive Variant Influencing Skin Pigmentation

With a combination of phenotyping and genetic data, researchers document at PNAS a Tibetan-enriched enhancer variant influencing melanin synthesis and ultraviolet light response.

Domestication Linked to Nervous System Genes in Inbred Mouse Strains

Researchers highlighted more than 300 positively selected genes in domesticated mice, including genes linked to nervous system function or behavior in Genome Biology.

ALS Genetic Testing May Be Informative Across Age Ranges, Study Finds

Researchers in the journal Brain identified clinically actionable variants in a significant subset of older ALS patients, prompting them to point to the potential benefits of broader test use.