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5
Jun
2020

Tech Integration Into Pharma: A Report From The Front Line

Most biopharma companies can talk at some length about embracing data science, and sometimes it’s hard to get beneath the surface of what they’re doing, at least publicly. But it was my privilege recently to frame and moderate a very insightful recent conversation – recorded for on-demand viewing at this year’s virtual BIO 2020 conference. This provided an unusual opportunity...
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4
Jun
2020

Anger, Pain, and Hope

The emotions this week were especially intense. Anger. Fear. Despair. But there was also hope. That gets me up in the morning. In this slice of America, the biotech industry, many people are mission-driven. People in this industry work every day to improve the human condition by making better medicines. Not everyone feels the full weight, but many in this...
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2
Jun
2020

Puretech Focuses on the Long-Term Lung Complications in COVID-19 Survivors

All eyes are on the healthcare industry as biotech and pharmaceutical companies race like never before to develop antiviral treatments and vaccines to curtail the immediate and most severe effects of contracting the virus. However, as new cases and unforeseen symptoms emerge, some scientists are shifting their focus to the extended repercussions of patients who survived their brush with COVID-19....
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28
May
2020

The Infodemic Summer

The US death toll from COVID-19 exceeded 100,000 this week. Another 40 million people are unemployed.  We’ve been on this terrible trajectory for what seems like forever, with 20,000 new cases a day and 1,500 or so deaths every day. The New York Times lists 18 states where new cases are increasing and 19 states where cases are decreasing. Memorial...
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26
May
2020

Finding a Path in Biotech Venture Capital: Nina Kjellson on The Long Run

Today’s guest on The Long Run is Nina Kjellson. Nina is a general partner with Canaan Partners on the West Coast. Her investing style leans toward high science, which you can see in portfolio companies like PACT Pharma, a company developing neoantigen targeted T cell therapies for cancer, Tizona Therapeutics, a targeted antibody developer for cancer, and Vineti, a software...
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26
May
2020

Miscommunications, Misapplied Policy & Misunderstood Liberty: Why the US Pandemic Response is in Trouble

On April 17 — seemingly a long time ago — I wrote about what steps would have to be taken in order to (cautiously) “reopen” US states from their various lock-downs and stay-at-home advisories. The piece tried to focus on the “how”, versus the “when”. By the early days of May, most states had begun re-opening, and now all 50...
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21
May
2020

A Glimmer of Hope, and a Premature Celebration

We all woke up Monday morning and saw an encouraging headline. Then things started to go downhill. To recap, Moderna, the Cambridge, Mass.-based messenger RNA therapeutics and vaccines company, provided a snapshot of preliminary data from its Phase I trial of a SARS-CoV-2 vaccine candidate, being tested in collaboration with Tony Fauci’s crew at the National Institute of Allergy and...
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20
May
2020

Pharma’s Digital Champions Should Focus On Solving One Problem Well

Come for the tech, stay for the culture.  That seems to be the hope of most digital champions inside large pharma companies. These executives hope to instill in their organizations not only important new capabilities, but also a “Silicon Valley” mindset, an innovative spirit characteristically associated with tech entrepreneurs. The reality, of course, is more complicated; pharma executives – and...
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19
May
2020

Getting the COVID-19 Numbers Wrong

When I was in college, everyone wanted to major in psychology. I signed up, but switched out after only a few weeks. Why? Well, the more I read, the less I seemed to know. Psychology, after all, is an inexact science. I sought refuge in the exact worlds of computer science and mathematics. Those courses led me to build a...
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19
May
2020

COVID Doctors Navigate Tension Between Individual Autonomy and Systematized Care

I was recently speaking with a friend of mine, a pulmonologist at a large academic medical center in the Midwest, about his COVID-19 experience. I was especially interested, in the context of iterative experimentation, to learn how his hospital was working on improving the care of COVID-19 patients, especially those in the ICU, which he oversees.  It’s real problem, he...
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19
May
2020

Stepping Up One’s Game, Pandemic Style

Luke Timmerman calls me his humor columnist. That’s become a laugh line of its own in our house. My adult daughter, staying with us during the pandemic, said this to me just last week: “If you’re going to need frequent comedic validation, you’re going to have to step up your game.”  Giggles have been hard to come by these past...
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