Business briefs: Sanofi, GlaxoSmithKline, AllTrials

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Sanofi has found itself part of the Chinese government's scandal probe, reports Bloomberg. The news service says the French drug maker, which is facing bribery allegations reported in a Chinese newspaper, is taking the charges “very seriously.” The unnamed source alleges that Sanofi staff bribed more than 500 doctors to the tune of $277,800 five years ago. This is not the first time Sanofi was mentioned in connection with the sweeping corruption probe working its way through the region. The company noted earlier this month that government officials visited its regional offices. UCB and AstraZeneca have also been ensnarled, as has GlaxoSmithKline, which has said that its employees may have “acted outside our practices."

GSK launched a $50 million bioelectronic venture capital fund called Action Potential Venture Captial. According to the announcement, the focus will be on miniature devices (bioelectronics) that can read and change a body's electrical signals to treat conditions such as inflammatory bowel disease, rheumatoid arthritis and COPD, among others. SetPoint Medical is the new fund's first investment. SetPoint is working on an implantable inflammatory disease device. FierceBiotech notes that this latest move is akin to its 2012 electroceuticals competition. The VC fund will invest in five to seven companies between now and 2015.

The AllTrials transparency initiative, started by the British Medical Journal, has provided more detail around its proposal for data disclosure. The outline, which PMLive calls a "manifesto," breaks down the mission into four levels of information. The first three—a clinical trial registry, trial summary results and trial methods—AllTrials wants to be public. The fourth level consists of individual patient data, which AllTrials says should remain private. The proposal acknowledges that there are existing clinical trial databases, such as Clinicaltrials.gov, but says differences among national and regional databases limit the value of the data and also make filing information a burden for researchers. It comes two weeks after the pharma industry released its own principles, whereby researchers must request data and sign non-disclosure agreements, companies appoint panels to field those requests, and the public gets its own version of the data summary.

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