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Rising Costs

It's no secret that pharmaceutical companies are having problems filling their pipelines, says Pharmalot's Ed Silverman. On top of slashing R&D budgets, many companies are now finding that the cost of clinical trials is on the rise, across all phases. "There is increasing competition for trial sites and clinical research organizations that can yield reliable, high quality data," Silverman says. According to a recent survey of pharmaceutical companies, biotech, device makers, and contract research organizations conducted by Cutting Edge Information, "32 percent of those surveyed pointed to higher costs for enrolling patients and 25 percent cited vendor fees. Expenses for recruiting trial sites was named by 14 percent, followed by 12 percent who fingered technology costs," Silverman adds.

For Phase I trials, average costs rose to $21,883 per patient in 2011 from $15,023 per patient in 2008. Phase II costs went to $36,070 from $21,009, Phase IIIa costs went to $47,523 from $25,280, and Phase IIIb costs rose to $47,695 from $25,707, he says. The increase in Phase IV expenses was a little more moderate, rising to $17,042 from $13,011. Many companies are working hard to control these costs, the survey found, and consequently, more clinical trials are being outsourced.

The Scan

Highly Similar

Researchers have uncovered bat viruses that are highly similar to SARS-CoV-2, according to Nature News.

Gain of Oversight

According to the Wall Street Journal, the Biden Administration is considering greater oversight of gain-of-function research.

Lasker for mRNA Vaccine Work

The Scientist reports that researchers whose work enabled the development of mRNA-based vaccines are among this year's Lasker Award winners

PLOS Papers on Causal Variant Mapping, Ancient Salmonella, ALK Fusion Test for NSCLC

In PLOS this week: MsCAVIAR approach to map causal variants, analysis of ancient Salmonella, and more.