Wednesday, June 02, 2004

biotech news

Alison Pierce in SF Weekly on how the biotech industry silences critics, focusing on the story of Tyrone Hayes and his atrazine research:
Shortly after starting work at Ecorisk, Hayes ran into a conflict of interest that seemed almost too obvious to be true; it involved Ronald Kendall, the environmental toxicology professor who runs the Institute of Environmental and Human Health at Texas Tech University. Kendall was, at the time, director of Ecorisk, the consulting company that had a $600,000 research contract with Syngenta to review atrazine. He was also on the boards of the two EPA groups -- its scientific advisory panel on atrazine, and its endocrine disrupter screening committee -- that would be involved in any decision on whether atrazine should be reapproved by the environmental agency. And as president of the Society for Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry, Kendall edited the Journal of Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry, in which Texas Tech professor James Carr's study on atrazine -- a study that Kendall was involved with that concluded the chemical was not toxic to frogs -- was published.
A new CSPI report details the growth of plant-based pharmaceutical trials, including 4 new applications from Prodigene. Also see the Post article.

Meanwhile, scientists at Kirin, working on pharmaceutical production in milk, have engineered cow cell lines that are theoretically immune to BSE.

more: Monsanto works on drought tolerance [St. L. P-D]; USDA announces increased transparency in anticipation of CSPI's report above [USAT]

still more: interesting article by Kristen Philipkoski in Wired news last week about a plan to biopharm underground in an Indiana quarry. And before you take all the alleged safety studies too seriously, consider how big pharma discloses its information.

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