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R&D news in brief

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

Finland increases R&D spending

Finland's public expenditure of research and development is set to increase by one per cent this year, the Finnish government has announced. R&D spending will rise by €56m to €1.6bn this year, with the overall share of total government spending earmarked for R&D set at 4.5 per cent. The 'general advancement of knowledge' is set to benefit most from the increase, followed by the 'funding of industrial production and technology'.

Knowledge leads to support

The more a person knows about science, the more they support scientific activity, a UK analysis has found. The analysis, carried out by researchers at the University of Surrey, examined the public perception of science in 40 countries. It found that the more knowledgeable a person was of science, the more favourably they viewed it, regardless of their age, nationality or level of education. However, the researchers also argued that other factors such as moral values, religious belief and political leanings may be far more important when gauging a person's perception of science.

Netherlands plan biotech centre

The Dutch government is planning to open a biotech centre for start-up biotech companies who need fast access to research facilities. The centre, which will be called the BioConnection initiative, will allow small and medium-sized companies to use the centre for small-scale clinical and large-scale commercial productions. “Hundreds of, frequently young, companies in Europe work on the development of new pharmaceutical products,” said pharma company Organon. “As they get closer to the market they need the production capacity increases. The new centre satisfies this need.”

Botulism vaccine planned

UK company, Cambridge Biostability, has been awarded a £1.85m ($3.5m) grant from the US government to create a single vaccine to protect against botulism. Botulism toxin is the most poisonous substance known and the US government fears that it could be made into a bioterrorism weapon. They have therefore tasked Cambridge Biostability with creating a vaccine that turns the poison into a non-toxic version but still trigger an immune response in the body. Vaccines to protect against botulism do exist but are not effective against all the different types of the poison.

30th September 2008

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