Life Science Leader Blogs

  1. Despite Delays, JPM 2017 Still Pays Off For Me

    For the second year in a row my travel plans to the biopharmaceutical industry’s yearly kickoff event — the 35th Annual J. P. Morgan Healthcare Conference in San Francisco —was disrupted by weather. And though I once again arrived a day late, there was still plenty to keep me busy during JPM. For example, I still had the opportunity to sit in breakout Q&A sessions involving Alkermes, BMS, Chimerix, GSK, Mylan NV, and Shire. I witnessed company presentations that included AbbVie, CSL Limited, and IDEXX (just to name a few). I attended keynotes involving the Vice President of the United States, Joe Biden, who provided an update on the Cancer Moonshot initiative. I heard political consultants Karl Rove and James Carville debate the pros and cons of repealing and replacing the Affordable Care Act. I even had the opportunity to hear Juan Enriquez, co-author of Evolving Ourselves, share his insights on the next species of human. And while this may seem like a lot, it really only scratches the surface as to the amount of activity that takes place during JPM in January.

  2. Night Of Light: California Life Science Association (CLSA)

    Because I live only a day-trip away from San Francisco, it is convenient for me to travel there for industry events — a trek always accompanied by reflective reveries for the hometown of my film-student days. So, for the third time since June, and with another week scheduled for early January, I am once again city-bound, leaving home mid-day and getting into my hotel in plenty of time to make the 5:30 PM reception for the annual Pantheon Awards dinner, held by the California Life Science Association (CLSA).

  3. Why “Partnering For Cures” Is A Highly Differentiated Experience

    Two weeks ago I went to the Partnering For Cures (Nov. 13 – 15) conference at the Grand Hyatt in New York. After the experience, it is almost painful to admit that this was my first time attending. Developed by Faster Cures and the Milken Institute, the conference (now in existence for over eight years) brings together nearly 1,000 leaders from across the research ecosystem. The event’s goal is to forge partnerships dedicated to reducing death and suffering. And while I have attended other conferences that preach partnering, this conference, for some reason, felt distinctly different.

  4. Trump Wins: What Can Pharma Hope For In The Next 4 Years?

    On November 14, 2016, Carolyn Johnson posted “Trump just dropped a big hint to the pharmaceutical industry” in a wonkblog for The Washington Post. I shared the article on LinkedIn (receiving over 415 views) noting, “It is very early days, so let’s not get too excited or too concerned. But let’s be aware and strive to be part of the solution for helping patients.” This seemed like a natural fit to share considering a large percentage of my network have close ties to biopharma, and the industry seems to have always been pretty closely linked to politics. This fact was never more apparent than at the industry conference I recently attended.

  5. BIO Shines In San Francisco

    This year, the BIO Investor Forum (#BIF16) in San Francisco enjoyed its largest turnout ever, basked in the light and warmth of a dynamic industry that may not solve all of the world’s problems, but shines upon us, a salubrious star. Will the industry’s star shine upon everyone, or leave most of humanity in the shadows?

  6. 6 Lessons Learned From Posting A Picture That Went Viral On LinkedIn

    A little over a week ago, I posted a picture to my LinkedIn profile, which has since received over 60,000 views. And while there are mathematical calculations to officially determine when a post has gone viral, the fact that it has been viewed (and commented on) more widely than anything I have ever previously published is very humbling, especially considering the nature of the photo (i.e., a fallen U.S. service member) is far outside of what I typically write about (i.e., the biopharmaceutical industry). For though as a chief editor for Life Science Leader magazine and having come to learn a few things about social media, I never expected a post made through tears while still sitting in my car at the Buffalo airport, to have had such a profound impact on so many. Thousands have taken the time to comment, and in return, I have tried to respectfully reply to nearly all. So what have I learned from this experience. Plenty.

  7. How The Biopharmaceutical Industry Provides A Sparkle Of Hope

    Author Steven Covey’s famous phrase, “To Live, To Love, To Learn, To Leave a Legacy” is what popped into my head while attending the Community of Hope’s Annual Dinner Auction as the invited guest of pharmaceutical industry icon, Fred Hassan. Twenty years ago Hassan founded this annual charity event that brings together two communities (i.e., social services and the biopharmaceutical industry) to do good in their own backyard (i.e., New Jersey and Pennsylvania). In his evening remarks to this year’s nearly 1,000 attendees, he explained that he created the event as a way of “supercharging” the Community of Hope’s fundraising efforts to help area homeless (including veterans).

  8. Will Cuba Be The World’s Next Leading Biotech Hub?

    Life Science Leader magazine was recently invited to attend The Economist’s War On Cancer healthcare forum in Boston, Sept. 28, 2016. Though all of the day’s sessions were intriguing, the one that got me up out of my chair to track down a speaker before his exit occurred at 4 p.m. Entitled, “Going Global – Examples Of Cancer Advances From Around The World,” the first person to speak was Kelvin Lee, M.D., immunology chairman from the Roswell Park Cancer Institute. Dr. Lee says that his experience in working with Cuba began quite by accident in 2011.

  9. What I Found Enlightening About ISPE’s Annual Meeting

    Have you ever attended a meeting and gotten the sense of being enlightened during someone’s presentation? I recently had such an experience at the International Society for Pharmaceutical Engineering (ISPE) annual meeting and expo in Atlanta, GA. But it was neither where I expected it, nor whom I expected it from (e.g.,, keynote speakers). Don’t get me wrong, Joseph Jimenez, Dr. Stephan Grupp, M.D., Ph.D., Nicole Pierson, and Fleming Dahl all gave fine and insightful keynotes. But my experience of enlightenment at ISPE occurred on the last day of this year’s meeting, in a rather lightly (disappointingly so) attended session.

  10. Beyond IPOs: Alternative Funding Options For Biotech Startups

    “While it is great when Morgan Stanley, JP Morgan, and Goldman are fighting to take your company public, sometimes, given the investment environment, you have to play in a ‘less elegant’ part of the finance swimming pool (e.g., Form 10s and reverse mergers).” This statement by Aftab Kherani, M.D., a partner at Aisling Capital, was made in response to the question, “What are some of the more innovative ways companies are using to raise money,” in a Q&A published in Life Science Leader magazine. It seems that not every company is going to garner the glitz and glam usually associated with taking a company public via a traditional IPO (i.e., Alibaba bringing in $26 billion). That being said, it seems important for entrepreneurs to keep in mind their end goal — getting their biopharmaceutical startup actually started up. And though the pros and cons of funding opportunities like Form 10s and reverse mergers might be “old hat” for a financial expert like Kherani, we thought, given the recent slowdown in the IPO market, it might be a good opportunity to explore why Form 10s and reverse mergers merit deeper exploration.