Life Science Leader Blogs

  1. How PhRMA Is Adapting To The Industry’s New Reality

    PhRMA held its 2016 annual meeting March 9 and 10 in Washington, D.C. This was the first annual meeting held under the new leadership regime of Stephen Ubl. Having spent more than 10 years as the president and CEO of the Advanced Medical Technology Association (AdvaMed), Ubl took the PhRMA helm just three days after former Turing Pharmaceutical CEO Martin Shkreli made national headlines with his drug-price increase antics.

  2. R&D Leadership Summit Provides Ear-Opening Experience

    Life Science Leader magazine and CNBC were the only two members of the media invited to attend the 6th Annual R&D Leadership (RDL) Summit (I will explain why this is significant in a moment). Produced by the Conference Forum with support from PRA Health Sciences, the event provides an extremely intimate opportunity for R&D executives to network and openly discuss some of the biopharmaceutical industry’s most controversial issues (e.g., drug pricing). And while you might be thinking that there are plenty of events that provide biopharmaceutical executives with a forum where they can feel free to share their most intimate feelings and opinions without fear of reprisal, what makes the RDL unique is its approach for doing so. While organizers of similar executive gatherings take “a closed-door approach” when it comes to dealing with members of the media , The Conference Forum’s executive director, Valerie Bowling, prefers a more sophisticated approach.

  3. What Will Be The End Result Of Bullying Biopharma?

    If as adults we could invisibly walk on school playgrounds during recess, we might hear the stock response recited when encountering a bully — ‘Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me.”

  4. BIO CEO 2016 Educational Sessions Provide Enlightenment

    During this year’s BIO CEO Conference (partially covered here), much of my time was spent in the educational sessions, which I would rank as some of the best I have seen at any conference — ever. For example, the CRISPR/Cas9: Excitement and Concern for First Therapies had three gene editing company CEOs (i.e., Katrine Bosley of Editas Medicine, André Choulika of Cellectis, and Sapna Srivastava, Intellia Therapeutics) as well as arguably the world’s most renowned medical ethics experts, Arthur Caplan, director of the division of medical ethics at NYU and overseer of the Compassionate-Use Advisory Committee (i.e., CompAC) aimed at preventing the use of social media or other means of influence to gain clinical trial preferential treatment. And while this panel was truly outstanding, as were others, my favorite had to be Tuesday’s Understanding the Total Value of Innovative Therapies session.

  5. Is Attending BIO CEO A Waste Of Your Time?

    Sometimes it is worthwhile to stop and consider the value of your time, not from a financial perspective, but rather how much you’ve used and how much you have left. If you did, you might be much more discriminating in where you would choose to spend it. Consider this: the average U.S. male’s life expectancy is 76. This means that in less than 14,600 hours my time fuel tank will be exactly one-third full, or depending on your disposition, two-thirds empty. Knowing that time is our most precious, limited, and nonrenewable resource, when it comes to picking which biopharmaceutical industry conferences to attend, I have always tried to be highly selective. To those who perceive the annual BIO CEO Investor Conference as a poor man’s J.P. Morgan, they most likely have not been there — at least not lately.

  6. What Does It Take To Be The World’s Top Performing CEO?

    In November 2015, the Harvard Business Review (HBR) announced the top 100 CEOs in the world. Though the list included household names like Starbucks (12), Nike (21), and Amazon (87), what is even more interesting than the fact that Novo Nordisk’s Lars Rebien Sørensen was ranked number one, was the healthcare industry as a whole had 13 CEOs in the top 100 — tying it for first with financial service (see Table 1). But if you dig even deeper, prepare for another surprise.  

  7. What Is The Solution To “High-Price” Drug Sticker Shock?

    Last November, lawmakers and the Obama administration began ratcheting up efforts targeted at pharmaceutical company’s “high-priced drugs.” Some view this as a sign that legislators are trying to bridge the political divide to tackle a key driver of rising healthcare costs. But are high-priced drugs and biopharmaceutical companies the most important driver to target? After all, research has shown that hospitals and physicians are much bigger contributors to overall U.S. healthcare spend. Further, when compared to the rest of the word, U.S. citizens are the top consumers of expensive sophisticated diagnostic imaging technologies, pay nearly twice as much as other countries for hospital and physician procedures and services, yet have the worst health outcomes compared to their international peers. In fact, if we look at the nine drivers behind high U.S. healthcare costs, there seems to be numerous opportunities for improvement — in addition to trying to reduce the price we pay for medicines. So why then is it Americans heap a disproportionate amount of the blame for staggering healthcare costs on the biopharmaceutical industry? Could it be drug-price sticker shock? Let’s explore.

  8. What Surprised Me — And Didn’t — At J.P. Morgan 2016

    Unfortunately, a minor mechanical issue involving one of my flights caused me to arrive a day late for the 34th Annual J.P. Morgan Healthcare Conference (JPM) in San Francisco (January 11-14). While missing Monday at one of biopharma’s biggest annual events (Twitter hashtag #JPM16) translates to a huge lost opportunity (i.e., not being able to attend 16 of 108 scheduled presentations/breakout sessions), when it comes to JPM, one day does not a conference make. Despite having one less day to work with, and splitting time between JPM, the 2016 Biotech Showcase (BTS), and the Redefining Early Stage Investments (RESI) conference, San Francisco + JPM in January always seems to provide for a few surprises.

  9. What Is Going To Be The Next Big Thing For Biopharma In 2016?

    There are plenty of industry insights available, such as Life Science Leader’s comprehensive December 2015 Outlook issue for 2016 or our four-part trendsetter series. And while these provide a wealth of insight, I felt compelled to put together one last blog to prevent you from being blindsided by the “Next Big Thing” in biopharma in 2016.

  10. Write Thinking — Biopharma At the Turn of the Year

    Writing is reinforced thinking. It is a stronger, more constructive way of moving through the thought world. Because I am a trade journalist covering the life science industry, all of those things tend to appear to me in industry terms. Take the drug-pricing debate, for example.