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Posts tagged with "Who Discovers and Why"

  • Biological News

    Reductionism Pays My Mortgage

    Reductionism has been a powerful tool for a long time now, and it’s not going away any time soon. There, that should be enough of a 50,000-foot opening! The idea that you can understand a system by taking it apart and looking at the pieces doesn’t always work out, but it still seems to be… Read More
  • Business and Markets

    Chris Viehbacher’s Two Billion Dollars

    Chris Viehbacher, ex-Sanofi, has reappeared at a $2 billion dollar biotech fund. Viehbacher is clear, though, that Gurnet will be founding companies as well as looking outside the red-hot fields like oncology. To find value these days, you have to look outside of the trendiest fields, he says. And you’re also not going to find… Read More
  • Biological News

    Artificial Intelligence For Biology?

    A new paper in PLoS Computational Biology is getting a lot of attention (which event, while not trying to be snarky about it, is not something that happens every day). Here’s the press release, which I can guarantee that most of the articles written about this work will be based on. That’s because the paper… Read More
  • Drug Development

    The Sunk Cost Fallacy

    Mentioning target validation yesterday led me to think about an even larger problem: the sunk cost fallacy. That’s a general human tendency, but (like several other human tendencies) it can lead to some wasted scientific effort. A “sunk cost”, in economic terms, is an unrecoverable one – it’s gone, it’s spent, an… Read More
  • Who Discovers and Why

    The Curse of Expertise

    David Sackett, epidemiologist and evidence-based medicine proponent, has died this week. I’d heard of him, but I hadn’t seen his editorial about being an expert in one’s field. Not all experts have had the thoughts that he had about their situation, and even fewer of those have acted on them the way he did: . Read More
  • Who Discovers and Why

    Another Conservation Law

    As long as there’s been organized scientific research – that is, more than one person working on a problem – there have been timeline disconnects. Something takes longer than expected, throwing everything off, usually. That’s the basic disconnect, and there are ways to deal with it, but there’s a larger one that I don… Read More
  • Who Discovers and Why

    Peter Thiel’s Book

    Wavefunction has a good look at Peter Thiel’s Zero to One. As he puts it, “Thiel has said some odd things about chemistry and biotech before, so I was bracing myself for encountering some naiveté in his book.” I don’t blame him; I’d be the same way. But it wasn’t quite as bad as he… Read More
  • Drug Development

    What Are the Odds of Finding a Drug (And How Do You Stand Them?)

    Lisa Jarvis of C&E News asked a question on Twitter that’s worth some back-of-the-envelope calculation: what are the odds of a medicinal chemist discovering a drug during his or her career? And (I checked) she means “personally synthesizing the compound that makes it to market”. My own hand-waving guesstimate of an upper boun… Read More
  • Academia (vs. Industry)

    The State of US Medical Research

    Here’s a look at the state of medical research in the US versus other developed countries (open-access article at JAMA). Some things to note from that chart: (1) research funding has been pretty flat the last few years, with the only exception being the stimulus-package burst of cash. (2) The share of the total put… Read More
  • Business and Markets

    Peter Thiel’s Uncomplimentary Views of Big Pharma

    See what you think of Peter Thiel’s characterization of the drug industry in this piece for Technology Review. Thiel’s a very intelligent guy, and his larger points about technology stalling out make uncomfortable reading, in the best sense. (The famous quote is “We wanted flying cars; instead we got 140 characters”). But ta… Read More
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