Here is a round up of recent news affecting pharma, biotech and healthcare.
US Congress investigates 'fake pharmacies' and drug shortages: US Congress is investigating a series of actions by so-termed "fake pharmacies" which are buying up and stockpiling scarce drugs, including those to treat cancer, and the selling the drugs at massively elevated prices.
Professor investigated for denying HIV - AIDS connection: A university professor in Italy is under investigation for teaching and directing studies which deny any link between the HIV virus and AIDS. This has caused public outcry and has triggered an inquiry by the University of Florence.
A new class of flu vaccine in development: Scientists are developing a new generation of flu shots which are aimed at stopping the flu virus from spreading. The vaccine aims to make the flu less virulent, so it spreads less, and to stop the flu virus from mutating.
Nasal spray could treat anxiety: A nasal spray has been developed which could treat anxiety and panic attacks. The spray allows a chemical to rapidly reach the brain and it functions by altering brain neurons, instilling a calmer behavior.
Silk fibers developed to counter bioterrorism: Scientists have developed chemically treated silk fibers which could be used by the US government as protective sheets in the event of a biological weapons attack. The fibers can also be used for humanitarian relief projects.
Sanofi site closure: A major pharmaceutical company, Sanofi, has announced plans to close one of its major sites in the UK. This has met with an angry response from the trade union representing the site's workforce.
Shrimp shell particles considered for anti-ageing cream: The antimicrobial effects of chitosan (from the exoskeleton of crustaceans) have been known for several years. Now, some research suggests that nanoparticles of chitosan could be used to create a new generation of anti-ageing creams.
Glaxo to invest in UK following tax break: The 'big pharma' giant GlaxoSmithKline has announced that it will take advantage of a UK tax break and invest heavily in the UK to the tune of $800 million. This reverses a trend of larger pharmaceutical corporations leaving the UK.
A fragrant new bio-fuel?: The search for new bio-fuels represents potential big business with the decline in available fossil fuels. A team of scientists, backed by the US government, have made significant progress in using bacteria to create a bio-diesel from glucose.
Each of these stories has been written by Tim Sandle. You can view them here (DJ) or via the pharma micro site.