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R&D news in brief

Our weekly round up of drug discovery and development stories.

GSK results expected

GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) plans to announce phase II results for 15 products in clinical trials later this year, chief executive Jean-Pierre Garnier has said. Garnier revealed that GSK currently has 45 products in phase II trials and data scheduled for publication in the second half of the year would reveal whether 15 of the products were ready to progress to phase III trials. Meanwhile, GSK has said that it will make the results of all of its clinical trials from 2000 freely available on the internet. The group will also establish an independent body to review the data and ensure it is published to a professional standard.

Migraine-PFO link examined

A group of UK researchers have been given the go-ahead to investigate a possible link between severe migraine and the heart defect, patent foramen ovale (PFO). Through the Migraine Intervention with STARFlex Technology (MIST) trial, scientists will investigate whether PFO closure - which is currently used to treat stroke and decompression sickness - is effective in patients with aura(3) migraines. ìIf the trial supports our theories about a migraine-PFO link, it could be the most significant development in treatment for over a decade,î said Dr Andrew Dowson, co-primary investigator of the MIST trial.

Icagen extends Abbott deal

US biopharmaceutical company, Icagen, has extended its R&D agreement with Abbott Laboratories to discover and develop treatments for neuropathic and inflammatory pain. Under the terms of agreement, Abbott will support the clinical development of small molecule drugs that target a specific ion channel in the critical pain pathway, while Icagen will receive royalties from the sale of any products generated in the collaboration. The agreement commenced in 2001 and will now run until the end of 2005.

European Research Council promising

The European Commission (EC) is confident that a European Research Council will be formed, EC member Anastasia Andrikopoulou has said. At a recent EC session on the future of basic research, Andrikopoulou revealed that the EC was aware that a funding mechanism at European level was needed to reinforce excellence in research. ìThe scientific voice is getting louder and the Commission hopes it can convince the Council and member states to give the necessary means to accomplish this,î she said.

Austria encourages women

The Austrian government has launched a scheme to encourage more women to work in science-based jobs and attend university. The programme, professorinnen x2, will include a special incentive system through which women in research and science will receive vocational awards of Ä50,000. The Austrian Council for Research and Technological Development will provide the programme with Ä1m in funding this year.

30th September 2008

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