The health care technology group, Nycomed Amersham, has agreed to sell a 70 percent stake in its pharmaceuticals business for £275m to a new company backed by Nordic Capital, a venture capital group based in Norway. Nycomed aims to concentrate on more profitable hi-tech operations such as X-ray imaging agents and gene-hunting equipment. Nycomed is injecting £21m and will retain a 30 percent stake in the pharmaceutical offshoot which makes branded and generic prescription drugs.
Controversy is still raging at the University of California in Berkeley (UCB) where students are deeply concerned about a $25m contract with the life-science company Novartis. Their concern for the contract's impact on the integrity of academic research has pushed them to ask the state legislature to address the issue. Much of the Novartis funded research is expected to involve genetically modified plants and related fields. In return, faculty and students are to get access to Novartis' genomic databases.
African governments have set up an agency that will encourage the region's states to develop biotechnology to meet future food needs and to create wealth from commercialising research. The agency hopes to coordinate research, harmonise bioethics regulations and intellectual property rights.