Morning Read: Sean Parker pumps $250M into new immunotherapy institute

Also, an app to reduce child mortality in developing countries, and Merck KGaA loses FDA approval for fertility drug.



Internet billionaire Sean Parker is investing $250 million to create an institute to speed up the development and testing of immunotherapies, a hot area of cancer research. — MIT Technology Review, Reuters


Atrial fibrillation treatment specialist AtriCure got a greenlight from the FDA for its cryoFORM Cryoablation Probe. — AtriCure

Merck KGaA loses FDA approval for fertility drug after abandoning postmarketing studies. — FiercePharmaMarketing

Predictive Technology Group said it closed its deal to buy ReNovo Biotech and tapped former ReNovo Biotech CEO Eric Olson as Predictive’s new president. — Mass Device


Pikeville Medical Center, a hospital in the Mayo Clinic Network, has come under fire from the FDA over the management of its Institutional Review Board and the protection of research participants. — Law 360, FDA

Researchers from national physician search firm Merritt Hawkins asked hospital CFOs to quantify the amount of revenue physicians in 18 medical specialties generated for their affiliate hospital in the previous year. Turns out primary care physicians take the cake. — Becker’s Hospital CFO


In a bid to reduce the mortality rate for children under 5 in developing countries after a hospital discharge, a group of researchers developed a predictive risk assessment app. It identifies children who need enhanced care after they leave the hospital. — iMedicalApps


U.S. Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas) is in talks with leaders of the Senate Committee on Health Education Labor and Pensions health committee to combine his mental health bill with one that the committee passed last month. But Democrats object to certain sections of Cornyn’s bill that they say would make it easier for mentally ill people to acquire guns, and the controversial provisions could shatter Democratic support for the bill. — The Hill


Breakthrough Starshot, will attempt to launch a small spacecraft to our nearest stellar neighbor, Alpha Centauri, and return images and data to Earth within the next 20 years. Billionaire Yuri Milner and Professor Stephen Hawking revealed the project with a group of other scientists and experts. The $100 million research project will seek to prove a proposed concept for interstellar travel. — IFLScience