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Eli Lilly

Medco Research Institute announced this week that it is sponsoring a study to determine the optimal antiplatelet treatment for patients who are also using a proton pump inhibitor for the treatment of heartburn. The study will involve genetic testing to establish which patients can respond to Plavix.

The firms will use Molecular Templates' Direct Select Platform to create Engineered Toxin Bodies libraries that will be screened to identify potential drug candidates.

The study showed that alterations in the ABCB1 gene had no link to increased bleeding in patients treated with either Plavix or its competitor Effient, though patients treated with Plavix who were homozygous for a particular allele had an increased risk of cardiovascular death, heart attack, or stroke.

Through the formation of the Asian Cancer Research Group, Eli Lily, Merck, and Pfizer have also committed "to create one of the most extensive pharmacogenomic cancer databases known to date."

In the latter part of December, Clinical Data’s PGxHealth division inked a research collaboration with the German Heart Institute to “conduct one of the largest retrospective case/control studies to date to validate genetic variants associated with response” to Plavix. With this study, the partners hope to further inform the clinical utility of a pharmacogenetic test in determining best-responders to the anti-platelet agent.

At a meeting hosted by the Partners HealthCare Center for Personalized Genetic Medicine last month, the events leading up to the re-labeling for colorectal cancer drugs Vectibix and Erbitux sparked discussion among participants about what Amgen and Bristol-Myers Squibb/ImClone knew about the drugs and when.

The pharmaceutical firm will have access to GeneNews' genomic biomarker program.

Medco's study will examine whether the 70 to 75 percent of patients who are "extensive metabolizers" of Bristol-Myers Squibb's Plavix will have "comparable outcomes" to patients taking Eli Lilly's more expensive Effient.

The two companies announced plans to develop a companion diagnostic to predict whether non-squamous non-small cell lung cancer patients can benefit from combination treatment with Alimta and cisplatin based on the thymidylate synthase biomarker.

Almac and Lilly will study a predictive marker for use as a companion diagnostic for a combination therapy.

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The Economist reports that it is increasingly easier to analyze the metabolites people give off, potentially revealing personal information about them.

A controversial paper on the gender gap in science has been corrected, according to BuzzFeed News.

The Los Angeles Times reports that only a third of California students meet the state's new science standards.

In Science this week: evidence of interbreeding between the ancestors of West Africans and an unknown archaic human, and more.