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R&D news in brief

Our weekly round-up of drug discovery and development stories.

Phase II increases marketing budgets

Pharmaceutical marketing budgets rise sharply in phase II clinical development, a recent report has found. The report, Pharmaceutical Product Commercialization: Pre-Clinical to Phase III Resource Allocation, by Cutting Edge Information revealed that although it is difficult to determine from pre-clinical and phase I commercial spending and staffing allocations which pharma products will reach blockbuster status, the distinction is evident by phase II when product marketing budgets rise sharply for brands expected to reach blockbuster status but only climb slightly for drugs with lower sales expectations. This increase, the report argues, is because brand teams become more confident in their drug's clinical performance, overall commercial prospects and peak sales projection.

Female scientists need encouragement

More than 50 per cent of women scientists do not receive encouragement to go for promotion or seek responsibility, a survey has revealed. The survey, conducted by the University of East Anglia and involving more than 6,500 scientists, found that women scientists feel undervalued by colleagues and discouraged from making progress in their careers. Nearly half of women surveyed feel that they are disadvantaged in terms of promotion, although only 14 per cent of males scientists thought this was true, the survey said.

Genetic variation map released

A US company has released the first comprehensive map of human genetic variation across racial groups. The map, published through a public-private partnership lead by California-based biotech company Perlegen Sciences, maps 1.6m variations in single 'letters' of the genetic code across 71 Americans of European African and Asian ancestry. It is hoped the map will speed up the search for disease-causing DNA variations and lead to more individualised treatments.

HIV/AIDS vaccine trial begins

The European Vaccine Effort against HIV/AIDS has launched a second wave of clinical trials. The trials, which will be conducted in Switzerland and the UK, will evaluate the safety and efficacy of the investigative vaccines DNA-HIV-C and NYVAC-HIV-C for the prevention of HIV infection. The two vaccines are based on HIV subtype C, a virus prevalent in China, India and sub-Saharan Africa which represents more than 50 per cent of new HIV infections worldwide.

30th September 2008

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