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Senior scientist Zhou Han at Stoke Therapeutics, which is looking for a cure for epilepsy. Photo: Pat Greenhouse/The Boston Globe via Getty Images

Researchers are turning to smaller, more narrowly targeted clinical trials to test the next generation of medicines, The Wall Street Journal reports. Experts are divided over the shift: smaller trials make sense for more personalized treatments, but incremental benefits often are only discovered with a lot of data.

By the numbers: The number of clinical trials funded by the National Institutes of Health fell by 41% from 2005 to 2015, according to the WSJ, largely because trials have gotten more expensive.

What they’re saying:

  • New therapies “are trying to match drugs to individual patients’ features, so the sorts of trials we need will look much different than the large clinical trials,” Nicholas Schork, a professor at the Translational Genomics Research Institute, told the Journal.
  • “I think that we are throwing away a lot of good drugs and a lot of good diagnostics because our trials are too small,” sad Larry Norton, a breast-cancer specialist at Memorial Sloan Kettering.

Go deeper

Updated 19 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Inauguration Day dashboard

U.S. Capitol and stage are lit at sunrise ahead of the inauguration of Joe Biden. Photo: Patrick Semansky - Pool/Getty Images

President Biden has delivered his inaugural address at the Capitol, calling for an end to the politics as total war but warning that "we have far to go" to heal the country.

What's next: Biden has arrived at the White House and he will sign executive orders and other presidential actions.

47 mins ago - Podcasts

Podcast: After the Biden inaugural

Joe Biden was sworn in today as America's 46th president in an inauguration unlike any other in modern history.

Axios Re:Cap goes deeper into the speech, the atmosphere and what it all tells us about the incoming administration, with Axios political reporters Hans Nichols and Alexi McCammond.

Biden embarks on a consequential presidency

Photo illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios. Photo: Joe Raedle/Getty Images

Donald Trump tried everything to delegitimize the rival who vanquished him. In reality, he's set Joe Biden on course to be a far more consequential U.S. president than he might otherwise have become.

The big picture: President Biden now confronts not just a pandemic, but massive political divisions and an assault on truth — and the aftermath of the assault on the Capitol two weeks ago that threatened democracy itself.