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Fish-on-Friday: Drug-Making, No-Stop Toll Booths, China Flights & More

A Friday sampler of innovation and business news from beyond the normal biznews channels. MIT Wants to Modernize Drug Making

A Friday sampler of innovation and business news from beyond the normal biznews channels.

MIT Wants to Modernize Drug Making
Medicine these days is made much the way Merlin would have — with ingredients and steps batched in a start-and-stop process. Effective, not efficient. Novartis has given MIT $65 million to develop a new way to make medicine — assembly-line style, the way everything from M&Ms to Priuses is made. “This is going to be an industry transforming project,” says the MIT professor in charge of the new research center. (Boston Globe)

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Florida’s rental car customers whisk through toll express lanes
Florida officials who run the state’s toll highways have worked out a deal allowing rental cars to zoom through the automated express lanes. A boon not just for individual drivers, but for Floridians who share the road with so many tourists. (Orlando Sentinel)

More Non-stop Flights to China Coming (Just Not from San Jose)
All kinds of new non-stop airline flights are coming between the U.S. and China, including Atlanta to Shanghai and San Francisco to Guangzhou. Overall, the number of daily non-stops to China from the U.S. will increase from 10 per day now to 23 per day by 2012 — including flights from Philadelphia and Detroit. (San Jose Mercury News)

Computerizing schools: A digital final frontier
Driven in part by the data requirements of “No Child Left Behind,” public schools around the country are finally putting their data and operations onto computers and online using a company called Infinite Campus. Infinite Campus gives parents, along with administrators and teachers, online access to everything from performance testing data to homework assignments, at a cost of about $6 per student per year. (Minneapolis Star-Tribune)

Medical Customer Service 101: Don’t Leave the Patients in the Scanner and Go Home (Bonus)
A bone cancer patient in Tucson was left inside a CAT scanner by clinic staff who forgot about her, closed the clinic and went home for the day. The woman had to call 911 to get out. A doctor at the facility said it’s happened before. (Arizona Daily Star)

Read interesting business news that isn’t on the ticker? a management insight you want to share? a burst of innovation from an unexpected source? Send Fish-on-Friday a link.

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About the author

Charles Fishman, a long-time Fast Company staffer and contributor, is the author of "The Wal-Mart Effect: How the World's Most Powerful Company Really Works--and How It's Transforming the American Economy," the definitive look at Walmart, as well as "The Big Thirst, The Secret Life and Turbulent Future of Water."

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