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Who's Writing the Biggest R&D Checks?

Big Biotech may not spend as much on research and development as Big Pharma, but it manages to spend a pretty penny in the pursuit of new drugs and treatments, according to Fierce Biotech’s John Carroll. And when it comes to the "biggest spenders" in biotech, the US takes the cake, boasting 11 of the top 15 largest global companies in the field. The top five are all American, Carroll adds. Amgen was the top spender in 2010, with a budget of $2.72 billion. Biogen Idec takes second ($1.2 billion), Gilead third ($849 million), Genzyme is fourth ($805 million), and Celgene rounds off the top five ($745 million).

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.