Magazine Article | October 15, 2010

What's With All The Weed?

Source: Life Science Leader

By Dan Schell, Editorial Director, Life Science Leader

Never has a cover image generated so much buzz in our office than this month’s feature on GW Pharma.

The photo of Dr. Geoffrey Guy amidst a forest of marijuana plants is eye-catching, to say the least. But, I didn’t want to choose this article for our cover simply because the photo looked straight out of High Times. As usual, I wanted the main article to discuss an industry trend or some type of business best practice that could benefit life sciences executives. Thus, I was leaning toward using the story on page 8 about how orphan drugs may be the next big revenue generators. While this article didn’t feature one particular pharma or biotech company, it did have multiple quotes from John Crowley, a successful biotech entrepreneur and the president and CEO of Amicus Therapeutics. Crowley and his wife’s quest to save their children’s lives from Pompe disease was the basis for the January 2010 movie Extraordinary Measures featuring Harrison Ford and Brendan Fraser. I had a photo of Crowley, and I really liked the revenue opportunity angle of the orphan drug article.

But then I reread the GW Pharma story, and I realized something. Despite this company being small, the story of how it has struggled to launch its new drug would resonate with the majority of our readers. In other words, the intriguing part (and the most valuable to our readers) of this company’s story was more than just the fact that its products are derived from the cannabis plant.

So, as is commonly the case here at Life Science Leader, I was faced with two original, intriguing, and informative articles that I had to choose from for the cover. One featured a young CEO in a suit and tie who had just been portrayed in a major motion picture, while the other image was of a serious-looking top pharma executive in a lab coat surrounded by an illegal drug.

Let me know if you think I made the right decision.