Magazine Article | April 12, 2012

Serenity Now

Source: Life Science Leader
Rob Wright author page

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

The past month was a very busy one for all of us here at Life Science Leader. For me personally, in addition to writing two articles for this month’s magazine, I had the opportunity to attend five different meetings around the country. The first event I attended, Partnerships In Clinical Trials, was held in Orlando, FL, March 4 to 7. Prior to the show, I had the opportunity to interview one of the conference cochairpersons, Deirdre BeVard, VP development operations with Endo Pharmaceuticals. Creating an innovative culture — something most pharma and biotech companies are claiming they have done — is no hoax at Endo. Watch for my article in next month’s issue for how Endo accomplished this feat and some tips you can use at your company. One of my favorite talks was given by Dr. Ram Charan, author of The Game Changer. His talk was on innovation and used just three hand-drawn slides placed on an old-school overhead projector. As you might guess, the first question asked by a member of the audience sought an explanation for how someone could speak on innovation using such dated technology. Charan responded by explaining that to be innovative does not mean you have to use the latest gadget. One of the first keys to innovation is developing a laser focus. According to Charan, this is difficult to do when you have a 50-slide PowerPoint presentation. He advocates a less-is-more mentality and suggests most presentations can be conducted in seven slides or fewer.

The second show I attended was held in San Francisco, March 11 to 15, where the Society of Toxicology (SOT) held its Annual Meeting and ToxExpo. Across the United States in New York City, DCAT (Drug, Chemical & Associated Technologies Association) Week was taking place at the same time. So as soon as I wrapped up at SOT, I caught a flight to NYC so I could attend the 86th DCAT annual dinner, featuring the 43rd President of the United States, George W. Bush, as the keynote speaker. Then I was off to the invite-only R&D Leadership Summit in Aventura, FL. This C-level event took place March 19 to 20 and was put on by The Conference Forum. From there I went directly to the Women In Bio (WIB) 2012 Annual Gala Dinner in Washington, D.C. Here I had the opportunity to meet a number of executives including keynote Laura Shawver, Ph.D., who is the CEO of Cleave Biosciences. Shawver’s success story at Cleave was detailed in an article in our February 2012 issue called “From Concept To Biotech Start-Up.” After reading about how her company’s bank account went from $0 to $44 million overnight, I had to meet her. I wanted to know more about how she survived her company’s meteoric rise financially.

In the coming months, I look forward to sharing some of the stories uncovered during my travels, but until then I seek, as Frank Costanza once uttered on Seinfeld, “serenity now.”