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5 December 2013 11:26 am ,
Vol. 342 ,
Dyslexia, a learning disability that hinders reading, hasn't been associated with deficits in vision, hearing, or...
Exotic, elusive, and dangerous, snakes have fascinated humankind for millennia. They can be hard to find, yet their...
Researchers have sequenced and analyzed the first two snake genomes, which represent two evolutionary extremes. The...
Snake venoms are remarkably complex mixtures that can stun or kill prey within minutes. But more and more researchers...
At age 30, Dutch biologist Freek Vonk has built up a respectable career as a snake scientist. But in his home country,...
Since arriving on the island of Guam in the 1940s, the brown tree snake ( Boiga irregularis ) has extirpated native...
An animal rights group known as the Nonhuman Rights Project filed lawsuits in three New York courts this week in an...
Researchers have been hot on the trail of the elusive Denisovans, a type of ancient human known only by their DNA and...
- 5 December 2013 11:26 am , Vol. 342 , #6163
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Big Pharma Blames Its Troubles on Scientists
15 April 2009 6:56 am
At a big pharma conference yesterday, Merck & Co.'s chief strategy officer, Merv Turner, laid the blame for industry woes squarely at the feet of researchers. The basic problem is the low success rate in identifying new drugs: "Seventy-five cents of every dollar we spend on R&D goes to fund failure," he told an audience of execs and dealmakers at Windhover's Pharmaceutical Strategic Outlook meeting in New York City. Creativity and risk-taking remain essential, Turner said, but the scientific fruit must "come at a lower cost," though he didn't explain exactly how greater efficiency might be achieved.
But he allowed that Merck is going through a "painful" restructuring of its research divisions. The company agreed to take over Schering-Plough last month; this may add duplicative staff.
A prime target for trimming is late-stage drug development, where the most research money is spent and lost. But a slim-down in more basic discovery isn't out of the question. "Nothing's safe from cuts" these days, Turner told ScienceInsider. Merck, like other drugmakers, is turning to smaller companies for help, licensing in more drugs than ever. But Turner said "a strong internal research function" is still essential.