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At a conference yesterday, Merck's Merv Turner said big pharma's problems are due to researchers, reports Science Insider. "Seventy-five cents of every dollar we spend on R&D goes to fund failure," Turner said. He added that Merck is undergoing "painful" restructuring after acquiring Schering-Plough and that one area that will likely be pared down is late-stage drug development -- though "nothing's safe from cuts."

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President-elect Joe Biden has nominated Eric Lander to serve as director of the Office of Science and Technology Policy, the Associated Press says.

Nature News writes that scientists are trying to figure out how to name the new strains of SARS-CoV-2 that are emerging.

The New York Times reports that researchers are studying identical twins who had COVID-19 to understand the influence of genetics on disease severity.

In PNAS this week: epistasis affecting cystic fibrosis, Tiger rattlesnake genome gives venom insight, and more.

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