Magazine Article | January 12, 2012

More Conferences, Old Acquaintances

Source: Life Science Leader
Rob Wright author page

By Rob Wright, Chief Editor, Life Science Leader
Follow Me On Twitter @RfwrightLSL

After a short hiatus from traveling during the end of 2011, I got “back in the saddle” in January, attending two different conferences. The theme of both events revolved around getting drugs to market quicker — a consistent theme this past year and one that is sure to continue through 2012. The first conference focused on finding the fastest path to funding and regulatory approval, while the second elaborated on new drug delivery technologies, formulation strategies, and partnerships. One of the nice things about attending these shows is hearing a variety of perspectives on how to solve this longstanding problem.

Another thing I enjoy about attending these shows is the networking opportunities they provide for both new and old acquaintances. Speaking of old acquaintances, two of the folks featured in this month’s issue I had met at past shows. When I first met Coreen Oei, Ph.D, she was working for GSK. Now she is serving as the SVP of clinical operation and project management with BeiGene, a China-based biotech start-up. I had the chance to sit down with her and Peter Ho, M.D., Ph.D, BeiGene’s founder and president. I was curious to find out why Ho and Oei, both U.S. citizens and former Big Pharma execs, decided to step outside of their comfort zone to start a new company located halfway around the world in Beijing. Starting a new company is tough enough, but add to that the prospect of moving to a new country, where you aren’t fluent in the language, and it makes for a very interesting and inspiring story (p. 24).

The other old acquaintance is G. Steven Burrill, whom Wayne Koberstein wrote about on page 16. Burrill has been with us since our early years, having graced the cover of Life Science Leader’s June 2009 issue. When we asked if he would be willing to serve on our editorial advisory board, he graciously accepted. I recall having a discussion with someone at a show recently who doubtfully asked, “How really involved are your editorial advisory board members in providing industry insight?” In response, I opened the issue I had in my hand and pointed to “Ask the Board” — which has since become one of our most popular monthly features (p. 8). Throughout the year we receive a variety of industry questions from readers. I don’t consider myself to be an expert in these matters, so rather than try to come up with a response, we decided to sort through them, pick out the best, and send them to the most appropriate board member for a response. We then publish the question and answer. In this month’s issue we have responses from Burrill as well as Sequella’s CEO Carol Nacy and former rocker now converted scientist, Jerry Martin, chairman, Bio-Process Systems Alliance (BPSA). Personally, I have found the section to be very informative, and I believe the board members would agree. But, I couldn’t do it without you — our readers. So keep sending your questions to and remember — the only stupid question is that which is not asked.