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Well, That Sounds Easy Enough

Over at In the Pipeline, Derek Lowe's reaction to a new McKinsey report on pharma's return on investment elicits this succinct response: "Yikes." According to the report, ROI from small-molecule drug research has dropped from 12 percent in the late '90s to about 7.5 percent this decade. "Another alarming bit of news is their analysis of Phase III failures," Lowe writes of McKinsey's finding that 45 percent of Phase III failures "were due to insufficient efficacy versus placebo - which, in theory, is the sort of thing you're supposed to be rather more sure about by that point, what with having run Phase II trials for efficacy and all." Lowe also weighs in on McKinsey's recommendations for how to improve the situtation -- cut costs, work faster, and make better decisions.

The Scan

Pig Organ Transplants Considered

The Wall Street Journal reports that the US Food and Drug Administration may soon allow clinical trials that involve transplanting pig organs into humans.

'Poo-Bank' Proposal

Harvard Medical School researchers suggest people should bank stool samples when they are young to transplant when they later develop age-related diseases.

Spurred to Develop Again

New Scientist reports that researchers may have uncovered why about 60 percent of in vitro fertilization embryos stop developing.

Science Papers Examine Breast Milk Cell Populations, Cerebral Cortex Cellular Diversity, Micronesia Population History

In Science this week: unique cell populations found within breast milk, 100 transcriptionally distinct cell populations uncovered in the cerebral cortex, and more.