By Rob Wright, Chief Editor, Life Science Leader
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At this time of year, some magazines conduct a year in review. Now, if Life Science Leader were to take such an approach, what might we be looking back on that took place this past year in biopharma? Well, we kicked things off with the annual J.P. Morgan Healthcare Conference in the first full week in January. And on the first Monday following (i.e., January 14), we saw Life Sci VC and Atlas Venture partner Bruce Booth publish “The Game Isn’t Worth The Candle: Reflections On The JPM Healthcare Conference.” Within, Booth provides a fairly scathing review of JPM, not the conference per se, but the annual conflation of healthcare industry people converging on the six-block radius around Union Square. He noted excessively high prices of food, hotels, transport, and more. He described the gold pill with gold DNA logo used for the conferences as demonstrating “the pinnacle of tone deafness” in a world where healthcare costs are raging out of control. And Booth concluded the piece noting that he would not be back next year.
February brought us the Senate hearing, Drug Pricing in America: A Prescription for Change, Part II. I imagine those who watched would likely agree with me on two things. First, the seven testifying executives represented our industry admirably and professionally. Second, the politicians taking part seemed more interested in generating soundbites than solutions. We could go on and note how many drugs were approved this year, the big mergers that did or didn’t happen, the number of biopharma IPOs, or how the industry that was once the most admired is now the exact opposite. And while we understand the importance of studying history so as to not be condemned to repeat it, we at Life Science Leader, like many of our readers, believe our time could be better spent. Because while it is important to learn from the past, dwelling on things that happened and cannot be changed is neither healthy nor productive. Rather, we prefer looking forward, because the best way to predict the future is to create it.
This year’s annual outlook issue once again features an incredible collection of industry thought leaders. And though some will be fairly familiar (e.g., Peter Diamandis, XPRIZE; Kathy Wengel, J&J; Marshall Goldsmith), others will be less so. This was deliberate, as diversity goes beyond race and gender, and inclusion, means, well, including. So, we seek diversity of race, gender, and thought, and we believe that gaining and including perspectives from executives at big and small companies alike to ultimately be better for you — our readers. Besides, sometimes the profound comes from the unexpected. Ever hear the story of a semi-trailer getting stuck under an overpass? As the tale is told, police, firemen, engineers, and city officials are looking at the situation trying to figure out the best way to get the vehicle unstuck. But it was the child who suggested, “Why don’t you just let some air out of the tires,” that made all the difference. We hope the knowledge and wisdom included in this year’s issue provides the necessary insight for you to succeed in 2020 — and beyond.