Stories by Malorye Branca

Rosetta takes Merck IT reins

The balance of IT power has shifted at Merck & Co, and Rosetta Inpharmatics is now officially in charge of both bioinformatics and information technology.

Matter makes move to Singapore

FRAMINGHAM (10/21/2003) - Alex Matter, who led the development of Novartis AG's breakthrough cancer drug Gleevec, has been named director of the pharmaceutical giant's new Institute for Tropical Diseases (NITD) in Singapore. Matter recently retired as worldwide head of the company's oncology research and the Novartis Institute for Biomedical Research, formerly based in Basel, Switzerland, and now in Cambridge, Mass.

The odd couple

FRAMINGHAM (09/24/2003) - While almost everyone in the drug industry is looking for ways to speed new drugs to market, CombinatoRx Inc. has taken a particularly pragmatic approach: Rather than looking for new drugs, it is searching for novel combinations of existing drugs with synergistic effects.

'Once more unto the breach ...'

FRAMINGHAM (09/24/2003) - With public celebrations in 2000, 2001, and earlier this year, one could be forgiven for believing that the human genome has been sequenced in its entirety. But much uncharted territory remains in the genome. Although the International Human Genome Sequencing Consortium sequenced 99 percent of the gene-containing regions, fully 400 significant gaps remain in the sequence. Now, a group of Australian mathematicians are proposing a novel solution to that problem, and startup Combinomics Pty. Ltd. has been formed to plug the gaps.

Small-molecule research proposal attracts NHGRI

FRAMINGHAM (09/24/2003) - The naysayers who warned it would take 100 years to complete the Human Genome Project (HGP) will have plenty to fret over about the latest proposal percolating at the National Human Genome Research Institute (NHGRI). Its chemical libraries plan has all the breadth and potential of the HGP and raises similar questions about focus and feasibility. But the plan is part of a larger scheme that moves the National Institutes of Health (NIH) into territory that has traditionally been restricted to industry -- high-throughput screening and small-molecule development. Indeed, some biotechs are voicing concern that it might seriously limit their own prospects for success.