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R&D news in brief

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

Icos drug fails clinical trials

Icos Corporation's investigational drug for the treatment of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) has failed to meet its primary endpoint in a phase II clinical trial. The drug, IC485, did not meet its primary goal of improving lung function in patients with COPD. The trial was evaluating IC485 at three doses compared to placebo on 258 patients. Icos said it would now shift its focus to pre-clinical drugs in the same class as IC485 that are more potent.

Avian flu vaccine starts trials

The US National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) has begun testing an investigational vaccine designed to protect against avian flu. The vaccine, created by Sanofi Pasteur, will be tested on 450 healthy patients across the US to investigate the safety of the vaccine. ìThe initiation of this vaccine trial marks a key advance in our efforts to prepare to respond to an avian flu epidemic,î said NIAID director, Dr Anthony Fauci.

Sweden earmarks R&D funding

The Swedish government has outlined how it plans to allocate the extra 2.34bn SEK (Ä256m) it has earmarked for R&D in a bill to the national parliament. The bill, Research for a Better Life, highlights the government's intention to focus on three priority areas - medical research, technological research and research in support of sustainable development. A further Ä57m will be given to universities and university colleges, while Ä33m will be invested in internationally competitive centres of research excellence.

Scientists create universal RNA language

An international collaboration of researchers has created a consortium to develop a common vocabulary for ribonucleic acids (RNA) research. The RNA Ontology Consortium will aim to create a system for describing, cataloguing and comparing the findings of scientists from the UK, US, France, Canada and Australia. Neocles Leontis, head of the consortium, said that the scheme would ìallow RNA scientists worldwide to communicate with one another as well as to integrate different kinds of information they obtain about RNA moleculesî.

30th September 2008

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