It’s baseball season. Which means it’s fantasy baseball season. Which means I have to keep reminding myself that, even though it’s already been a month and a half, that’s still a pretty short time in the long rhythm of the season and every performance has to be viewed with skepticism. Ryan Zimmerman sporting a 0.293 On Base Percentage (OBP)? He’s... Read More
The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the world’s largest philanthropy, decided about five years ago that instead of just giving out grants to researchers and hoping for the best, it sometimes made more sense to invest in startups. That way, the Seattle-based foundation could put some of its $43.5 billion to work with entrepreneurs developing high-impact vaccines, diagnostics, and drugs... Read More
Cash is gushing through the pharmaceutical industry at the same time its allies in academia are scraping for every nickel. The gap between these haves and have-nots is wide and getting wider. But at least in a couple recent cases, the poor people in academia have figured out clever ways to get a piece of the biotech action, at least... Read More
People in rich countries like the U.S. eat lots of junk food and sit around. That gives rise to some of the biggest opportunities that exist for pharmaceutical companies. Obesity, diabetes, and cardiovascular disease are the ones everyone knows about. A little over a year ago, another huge opportunity became clear. It’s called Nonalcoholic Steatohepatitis, or NASH. New York-based Intercept Pharmaceuticals,... Read More
Bacteria, when confronted with the same old antibiotics, find ways to survive and sometimes kill people. Drugmakers haven’t paid much attention in recent years. But now, after repeated warnings about the rise of drug-resistant bacteria and some new profit incentives, the industry is coming around to the fight against “superbugs.” Drugmakers have long seen bigger opportunities to make money elsewhere.... Read More
Millions of people have been taking statins for years. These pills are cheap, simple to take, and effective at reducing heart attacks and strokes. They are a tough act to follow. Now here comes a new class of drugs that inhibit a molecular target called PCSK9. Elegant genetics, profound clinical trial results, and deep corporate pockets are all lined up... Read More
This is the greatest bull market ever for biotech IPOs, which everyone reading this surely knows. If Dr. Seuss were around, he’d ask something like: “How long can it go? Nobody knows.” Renaissance Capital counted 102 healthcare IPOs last year, more than one-third of all the new stock offerings in the U.S. An infusion of more than $9 billion flowed to... Read More
One of the big bugaboos in transplant medicine is immune rejection. Whether you’re talking about bone marrow, liver, or kidneys—getting a genetic match to avoid immune rejection is generally not trivial, and it’s critical to making a transplant successful. It could get easier. There are a small number of people on earth who have the right HLA (human leukocyte antigen)... Read More
The guy who helped popularize the gene chip is at it again. Stephen Fodor, whose work on DNA microarrays in the 1990s enabled the large-scale analysis of gene expression–the extent to which genes are turned on or off in a sample—is imaging new ways to take samples and extract more information out of them. Last month, Fodor, 61, stepped down... Read More
Christopher Boerner, the head of sales and marketing at the cancer drugmaker Seattle Genetics, has left for a big promotion to become president and U.S. head at Bristol-Myers Squibb, the Timmerman Report has learned.
One of the great talent migrations in pharmaceutical R&D history is going on right now. Merck, the drugmaker with a proud scientific tradition, has seen a huge wave of departures from its senior R&D ranks the past two years. The exodus has turned into a recruiting bonanza for a range of biotech startups, venture firms, consultancies, and competitors. The exits flung open... Read More
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