Magazine Article | February 27, 2013

NCAA Madness And Drug Discovery Occupy March Calendars

Source: Life Science Leader
Rob Wright author page

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

Last year, during the month of March, I placed a call to a member of Life Science Leader’s editorial advisory board. I was quickly informed that I was interrupting church. “Call me back at halftime,” I was politely informed. In case you have been living under a rock, March, and the madness it creates, is the result of the annual occurrence of the NCAA Division I Men’s Basketball Championship Tournament, where people fill out a tournament bracket and secretly cheer for a #16 seed to finally upset a #1 seed, even though on their bracket they most likely have three of the four #1 seeds in the final four. What I have found interesting is the number of researchers who have told me that the process of drug discovery is “the ultimate team sport.” The process requires a collaborative effort across teams — from discovery all the way through to the folks on the commercialization side of the business. If you want to read an example of this, check out the article on page 20.

Another interesting similarity between drug discovery and the NCAA tournament is the focus on lost productivity. It is estimated that people filling out their brackets and using their computers to watch games and check scores average about one and a half hours a day. More than 40% of IT professionals said that the spike in Internet use affects office computer operations and in some cases, causes systems to crash. The resulting lost business productivity ranges between $175 million and $1+ billion, which on the high side, is close to the cost of developing a new drug all the way to successful commercialization.

I had my own form of March Madness last year, jetting between Orlando (twice), New York, San Francisco, and Washington, D.C. in an effort to attend a number of important events, such as DCAT Week, Partnerships in Clinical Trials, SOT, the R&D Leadership Summit, and the WIB Annual Gala Dinner. This year however, I am taking a different approach, with only one show on my calendar for the month of March — DCAT Week ’13 at the Waldorf-Astoria and Intercontinental Hotels in NYC, March 11 to 14. Now I know what you are thinking, “But Rob, in January you mentioned DIA Europe as being one of your top 10 shows. It’s in March.” This is true. DIA Europe is an important show, and if I felt I could effectively achieve work-life balance by attending it and DCAT Week ’13 back-to-back, then I would. However, I believe that if you spread yourself too thin by trying to be everything to everyone, you end up being nothing to anyone. Showing up at DCAT exhausted or late is not an option. Especially when I plan on taking a deeper dive into the event, probably even attending a few sessions sponsored by Life Science Leader, such as “Beyond the Vial: Drug Delivery of the Future” and “Facilities of the Future: Single Use Technologies” which take place on Wednesday, March 13.

In addition, while I am in New York City, I have some other plans as well. On the evening of Wednesday, March 13, Life Science Leader will be hosting the CMO Leadership Awards reception and ceremony, starting at 8 p.m. at the W New York on Lexington Avenue. As master of ceremonies, I am looking forward to formally recognizing the 2012 CMO Leadership Award Winners. You can learn more about the CMO Leadership Awards by checking out cmoleadershipawards. com. Hope to see you in New York in March. Perhaps we can even see who is doing better with their NCAA bracket?