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16
Jan
2020

Understanding The Ideology Of Digital Transformation

The phrase resounding in corporations these days is “digital transformation.” What does that really mean? According to proponents, digital transformation reflects the assertion that in order to remain competitive in the modern era, organizations need to radically rethink their approach to how they collect, manage, and analyze information.  Change is clearly afoot, but the ideology informing this hasn’t been entirely...
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15
Jan
2020

Atomwise and EQRx: Two Contrasting Strategies for the R&D Inefficiency Problem

Pharma innovation expert Bernard Munos captures the inherent inefficiency of drug development with two fascinating statistics he recently shared with me.  First, for large pharmas, the average cost of developing a new drug (simply based on the total R&D costs divided by the total number of new drugs approved for sale) works out to about $5B per drug. It’s an...
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12
Jan
2020

EQRx Taps Zeitgeist, Raises $200m For Innovative Drugs at Aggressive Low Prices

Alexis Borisy is smart. As in high IQ. But there’s more to biopharma than that. “As my grandmother used to say, ‘You can be smart, smart, smart…but dumb,’” Borisy said. Some old wisdom is part of what’s driving Cambridge, Mass.-based EQRx. The company, started by the former Third Rock Ventures partner and backed by $200 million of “smart money” in...
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10
Jan
2020

Entering JPM20 With a Grounded, Yet Hopeful, View of Health Tech

Health tech seems balanced precariously between excessive optimism and excessive skepticism, between the promise that emerging technology is poised to disrupt health like it has so many other areas, and the painful recognition that many idealistic technologists misunderstood both the scientific and human dimensions of the inordinately complex problems to be solved in both health care services and the development...
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9
Jan
2020

Sanofi’s New CEO Captures Pharma’s Grounded View of Health Tech

Since taking over as Sanofi’s CEO in September, Paul Hudson has been blunt in his assessment of health technology decisions, and indecisions, made by previous management. Early in his tenure, Hudson took square aim at his company’s once-heralded $500 million collaboration with Verily on Onduo. This partnership was started in 2016 and intended to help diabetics better manage their condition. ...
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1
Jan
2020

New Job, Same Thesis: Aligning Tech & Pharma To Elicit Best Of Both

With the New Year, I’m very excited to share a professional update: as of January 1, I’m the proud founder of “Astounding HealthTech,” providing advisory services to R&D-driven biopharma organizations and health tech startups striving to engage each other more effectively. The mission of Astounding is to catalyze drug development by aligning the specific capabilities and distinct needs of individual...
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30
Dec
2019

Designer Proteins as Better Therapies: David Baker on The Long Run

Today’s guest on The Long Run is David Baker. David is a biochemistry professor at the University of Washington, a Howard Hughes Medical Institute investigator, and the director of The Institute for Protein Design at the University of Washington. Just like the name suggests, this institute works on designing proteins with special properties. Sometimes these proteins are designed on computers,...
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5
Dec
2019

Aural Pleasures, 2019 Edition

I listen to a lot of audio, spoken word content that edifies (or at least distracts) me during daily workouts and when traveling.  Traditionally in December, I like to share with readers my annual podcast recommendations. But in reflecting on my listening habits of the last year, I realized that I’ve probably spent at least as much time listening to...
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21
Nov
2019

AI Can Help with Repeatable Processes, But Don’t Expect Thunderbolts for Drug Discovery

Biopharmaceutical and healthcare executives increasingly find themselves attending conferences and presentations featuring the evangelistic selling of AI by self-assured VCs, energetic entrepreneurs, and earnest consultants.  The promise is that AI will change everything. Then the executives return to work, face the quotidian reality of their operation, and wonder whether AI will change anything. Enter Jim Manzi. Manzi, depending on your view, is a...
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