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"A biotech fund, seeded by pharmaceutical companies, could focus on investing in early-stage drugs being developed in smaller biotechs, which could, in return, fuel big pharma's need for innovative drugs," said biopharmaceutical investment professional Mark Kessel in The Scientist some weeks ago. At that time, Kessel said biotech was having trouble raising the money it needed to fund innovative research and suggested that pharmaceutical companies put together a fund to support biotech.

"It seems pharmaceutical giants GlaxoSmithKline and Johnson & Johnson agree," says The Scientist's Jef Akst. The two companies have contributed $50 million each to a fund that will finance early-stage biotech companies, Akst says. Venture-capital firm Index Ventures has also contributed $100 million. "The new fund … is aimed specifically at the riskier, early-stage companies, including those in the United States, Europe, and Israel," he adds. "To receive some of the fund's money, biotech companies must focus on a single molecule and accept on to their executive teams an Index Ventures-affiliated entrepreneur, who has veto power at any time."

The Scan

Two J&J Doses

Johnson & Johnson says two doses of its SARS-CoV-2 vaccine provides increased protection against symptomatic COVID-19, CNN reports.

Pfizer-BioNTech Vaccine Response in Kids

The Pfizer-BioNTech SARS-CoV-2 vaccine in a lower-dose format appears to generate an immune response among children, according to the Washington Post.

Chicken Changes to Prevent Disease

The Guardian writes that researchers are looking at gene editing chickens to help prevent future pandemics.

PNAS Papers on Siberian Dog Ancestry, Insect Reproduction, Hippocampal Neurogenesis

In PNAS this week: ancestry and admixture among Siberian dogs, hormone role in fruit fly reproduction, and more.