Magazine Article | January 1, 2017

An Insider's View Of Life Outside The Academic Gilded Cage

Source: Life Science Leader

By Jim Cardelli, Ph.D., CEO and Founder, Segue Therapeutics LLC

There is a lyric from an old Bob Seger song in which the aging songwriter, lamenting the loss of his youthful prowess once filled with vim and vigor, wonders where the time went (“20 years now; where’d they go; 20 years; I don’t know”). For me, 30 years had gone by and I was still a faculty member at a medical school at the end of 2015; I too thought about the passage of time and pondered the future. As a molecular biologist with research experience in oncology and microbiology who had trained over 30 students, published over 130 papers, and given over 1,000 lectures and seminars, I felt I was at a crossroads in my life. I was directing a drug discovery and development program, with a number of pending patents, yet I was acutely and sadly aware that I had not impacted one patient’s life or brought one drug to market. Why was this? What stopped me and others from doing this? Upon reflection, I believe there were two main reasons for this impasse.