PHARMACY

PPD acquires vaccine testing lab from Merck, hires 80

BY Alaric DeArment

WILMINGTON, N.C. A contract research organization and a large drug maker have entered a partnership to test vaccines.

PPD announced Monday that it had purchased a 130,000 square-foot vaccine testing lab in Wayne, Pa., from Merck & Co. and hired almost 80 Merck employees working there. PPD will provide Merck with assay development and immunogenicity testing services to support Merck’s vaccine portfolio for five years. Under another agreement, PPD will provide central lab and sample storage services to Merck for its clinical development work, also for five years.

PPD said its purchase of the Pennsylvania lab expands its global central lab business and adds vaccine and biologic testing, assay development and sample storage capabilities to its current laboratory business.

“We believe strategic outsourcing is key to the future of R&D and represents an innovative approach to the challenges facing our pharmaceutical and biotechnology clients,” PPD CEO Fred Eshelman said in a statement. “This collaboration with Merck represents a unique opportunity for us to acquire leading scientific talent and state-of-the-art facilities, expand an existing relationship with a long-term client and offer a new service line to other customers in the growing vaccine market.”

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Researchers test administering medication using nanotechnology, gold

BY Alaric DeArment

NEW YORK Researchers have developed a way to use tiny particles of gold to control the administration of drugs for diseases such as cancer, according to a study published in the journal ACS Nano.

The researchers, at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, created a device that shines infrared light on particles of gold coated with medicine.

The particles vary in size, causing them to melt at different rates depending on the intensity of the light.

The researchers said the device would allow medicine to target specific areas of the body at specific rates, thus minimizing damage to healthy tissue.

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N.J. tests new law requiring vaccinations for school-age children

BY Alaric DeArment

TRENTON, N.J. New Jersey will find out this week if its new law requiring flu vaccinations for schoolchildren has worked, according to published reports.

The state is the first in the country to require schoolchildren to receive flu vaccinations, between the ages of 6 months and 5 years. It required the children to receive the vaccinations by Dec. 31. Children who have not been vaccinated will not be allowed to attend school.

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