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  • Drug Industry History

    Reality’s Revenge

    Molecular modeling is a technology with a past. Specifically, it’s a past of overoptimistic predictions (often made, to be fair, by people who didn’t understand what they were talking about.) Back in the late 1980s, when I started in the drug industry, modeling was going to take over the world and pretty darn soon, too. Read More
  • Biological News

    It’s a Bacterial Planet, You Know

    You’ve probably heard of the hypothesis that a reasonable amount of dirt is good for you, especially in childhood. (My kids are certainly taking no chances.) The idea is that the immune system needs a certain amount of challenge to develop properly, so trying to live too antiseptic a life is a mistake. I think… Read More
  • Chem/Bio Warfare

    Osmium Tetroxide, Of All Things

    This morning brings the news, via ABC, that the recently discovered bomb plot in London involved a quantity of osmium tetroxide. That’s a surprise. I know the reagent well, but it’s not what anyone would call a common chemical, despite the news story above that calls it “easily obtained.” It’s quite odd that someone co… Read More
  • Patents and IP

    Oblivious to One Skilled in the Art

    I’ve noticed that discussions of patent law really wilt my traffic something fierce, so I thought I’d go ahead and get another one out of my system now. Perhaps the effect isn’t additive. (It’ll serve me right if turns out to be nonlinear the other way). One of the things that hits you when you… Read More
  • Life in the Drug Labs

    Obvious to One Skilled in the Art

    Not much time to post tonight. Things have been fairly busy in the research world, with the added burden of some patent filings and some evaluations of other filings from the competition. These only confirm to me that there is no way that I could possibly keep bread on my table as a patent lawyer. Read More
  • Academia (vs. Industry)

    Differences Between Academia and Industry, Pt. 2

    One of the main things I noticed when I joined the pharmaceutical industry (other than the way my black robe itched and the way the rooster blood stained my shoes, of course) was how quickly one moved from project to project. That’s in contrast to most chemistry grad-school experiences, where you end up on your… Read More
  • The Dark Side

    No Better Than the Rest of Them

    I noticed this post over at A Scientist’s Life on some recent instances of retracted papers and scientific fraud. Those two phenomena aren’t linked in every case, but they’re often seen in each other’s company. People do tend to think they’re a couple. The papers were from Science and Cell, two of the really top-shelf… Read More
  • Business and Markets

    Play It Again

    I’ve had some e-mail from a colleague who says that GlaxoSmithKline is running an ad somewhat similar to the one that I sketched out last week. It ends, he tells me, with the phrase “”Who pays for medicinal research? Pharmaceutical companies do.” Sounds like they’ve taken the results of that opinion survey to heart. Pe… Read More
  • Things I Won't Work With

    Thing I Won’t Work WIth (2): Nickel Carbonyl

    Synthetic organic chemists rely a lot on inorganic chemistry. We let metals do a lot of work for us, particularly when it’s time to do the real arc-welding of carbon-carbon bond formation. I have a pretty typical synthetic background, and over the years I’ve used palladium, platinum, sodium, iron, copper, rhodium, aluminum, mercury, sil… Read More
  • General Scientific News

    A Birthday Worth Noting

    No time for a real update today, but (thanks to Instapundit) I wanted to recognize Nobel winner Norman Borlaug, whose birthday is today. He should be much better known than he is, since (as the man behind the “Green Revolution”) he has beyond a doubt kept hundreds of millions of people from starving to death. Read More