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28
Sep
2020

Small Molecules Against RNA Targets: Jennifer Petter on The Long Run

Today’s guest on The Long Run is Jennifer Petter. She is the founder and chief scientific officer of Waltham, Massachusetts-based Arrakis Therapeutics. Jennifer is a medicinal chemist who has spent her career thinking about how to make small molecules with all the classic Lipinski “Rule of 5” characteristics against protein targets. Five years ago, when she was looking for a...
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23
Sep
2020

How Lunch with Bill Gates, Sr. Changed My Life

“I’m gonna have the halibut and chips. And a medium vanilla milkshake. What about you, Thong?” I looked up at my towering companion as he peered down at me with a gentle smile. I’m about 5-foot-8, and he was about 6-foot-7. I quickly scanned the menu board, then made my choice. “You know, Mr. Gates, I think I’m going to...
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21
Sep
2020

What We Know About COVID-19, and What We Don’t

He or she will have had fever and chills for the past few days, severe fatigue, muscle aches, and cough. They have no interest in food. They will have felt short of breath when doing the mildest of tasks, such as walking upstairs in their house. They might have had some lightheadedness and may say that they feel chest pain...
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10
Sep
2020

Industry and Academia Take a Stand for Science

Science is under attack. The FDA and the CDC have seen their credibility tarnished, largely because of the relentless pressure, and lies, of certain political leaders. The pharmaceutical industry, built on a bedrock of science, knows darn well that the whole business will come crumbling down if the world continues indulging in this bottomless cynicism and nihilism that says everything...
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8
Sep
2020

Becoming a Biotech VC: Otello Stampacchia on The Long Run

Today’s guest on The Long Run is Otello Stampacchia. He’s the founder and managing director of Omega Funds. Otello started Omega in 2004, and it’s now on Fund VI. Based in Boston, Omega has $1 billion under management, and invests in a wide variety of biotech companies – early stage, later stage, American, European, oncology, immunology, rare disease. There’s a...
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2
Sep
2020

Tech Impact Requires Deep Engagement With Biopharma Lead Users

In today’s Wall Street Journal, I review The Innovation Delusion, a new book arguing that innovation is overrated and maintenance is underrated; moreover, the authors assert, we have magical thinking around innovation, and often view it as fairy dust that can be imported from Silicon Valley then sprinkled on ossifying organizations to revive and rejuvenate them. (Steve Blank discussed the...
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31
Aug
2020

The Data Are Telling Us to Prepare for a Difficult Fall

I could not resist using the above, peerless comic strip from Stephan Pastis. Indeed, the two “plagues” are not just co-existing, but they are mutually reinforcing each other and making things worse. We should take the “great wise ass on the hill” seriously and invest in science and (investigative, high quality) journalism. About two months ago, I wrote here about...
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28
Aug
2020

A Swing and a Miss from the CDC

Please help me understand the value of OUR Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in 2020. It’s baseball season — sort of. We have been waiting and waiting for the CDC to step up to home plate. The bases have been loaded for 7 months, and their fans have been waiting. The CDC is supposed to be our national cleanup...
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27
Aug
2020

Convalescent Plasma: Look Before You Leap

In the last few days I have been wondering how Michael Joyner and Arturo Casadevall have been feeling. Joyner and Casadevall are the first and senior authors, respectively, of the report, “Effect of Convalescent Plasma on Mortality among Hospitalized Patients with COVID-19: Initial Three Month Experience,” posted on Medrxiv on August 12. The preprint server allows researchers to make their...
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26
Aug
2020

An Underappreciated Aspect of Power: Listening

As the summer draws to a close, I thought TR readers might enjoy a final August distraction. I’ve always been an avid reader, and lately, I’ve found myself increasingly drawn to the history and science of American politics.  On the history front, and inspired by Stanford professor Jeffrey Pfeffer (an expert on power and leadership), I’ve started Robert Caro’s famously...
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