Magazine Article | May 1, 2009

Editor's Note: May 2009

Source: Life Science Leader
Dan Schell author page headshot

By Dan Schell

I read with great interest a recent article about the experimental, two-person Segway, which looks like a technologically advanced, self-propelled rickshaw.

Dubbed Project P.U.M.A. (Personal Urban Mobility & Accessibility), the prototype is a joint collaboration between GM and Segway. What does this have to do with the pharma or biopharm industries? Nothing, directly. Indirectly, however, there can be parallels drawn between this news and what is happening in the pharma industry. Namely, the paradigm is changing. No, I’m not saying this new Segway announcement validates the hype spread years ago that the Segway was revolutionary and would change transportation as we know it. But with its ability to reach 35 mph and travel 25 to 35 miles on a single charge, this new P.U.M.A. prototype definitely has the potential to change how city-dwellers get around.

In the pharma world, the decline of the blockbuster drug and the potential of personalized medicine have life science companies reevaluating every process and system currently in place — a change in paradigms. Some of those types of changes are covered in this issue of LSL. For instance, there are articles about why pharma companies are applying Lean principles to histology (p. 26), why India’s outsourcing business is growing (p. 43), and why, according to Juan Enriquez of Excel Medical Ventures, “biology is likely to become the greatest single driver of the global economy” (p. 18). Furthermore, the actual makeup of the pharma and biopharm industries is undergoing significant change due to some of the high-profile pharma mergers (see “Examining The Next Megamerger” on p. 32) and small biotech acquisitions.

Unlike the impact the new Segway may have on inner-city transportation, there is no one catalyst for all this change in the pharma and bio industries. Hopefully, some of the articles in LSL will give you some guidance on how to navigate in this new era.