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  • Patents and IP

    Different Opinions About A Difference That Makes No Difference

    Since Monday’s posting was about the terrible consequences of changing one amino acid, I thought I’d stick with that theme. Today’s outcome isn’t life-and-death, fortunately for everyone involved. But it does involve the patent rights to a $500 million/year antibody, so it’s not without interest. Particularly if you th… Read More
  • Cancer

    The Wall Street Journal versus the FDA

    Here we are again. Back in February (see the Feb. 27th post), the FDA asked for more data for Imclone’s cancer therapy, Erbitux, saying the existing studies were not sufficient to approve the drug. The Wall Street Journal’s editorial page threw a memorable fit about what they saw as the FDA’s intransigence (to which piece… Read More
  • Alzheimer's Disease

    Sleeping Dragons

    One of the things that gives me the willies about biochemistry is the nonlinearity. If anyone were to ever come up with a set of equations to model all the ins and outs ofa living organism, there would be all these terms – way out in the boonies of the expression – with things to… Read More
  • Patents and IP

    More Fun With Patent Expirations

    Sometimes I think I should write some sort of script to insert that headline automatically. Not that I want the site to become “Patent Wrangling News,” but that’s where the action seems to be these days. (If you don’t have the new drugs, then fight over the old ones, I guess.) There’s one of these… Read More
  • Why Everyone Loves Us

    As Others See Us

    The “us” of that title refers to those of us in the drug industry (a reasonable percentage of my readers, but far from a majority.) Many may have noticed that Tuesday’s Wall Street Journal had two two articles side-by-side under the “Politics and Policy” heading. They made an interesting (and surely non-accidental) con… Read More
  • Chem/Bio Warfare

    Chemical Warfare, Part Five: The Real World

    The previous posts have been a quick tour around the chemical weapons landscape. I have to say, it’s a depressing place to visit, and I’ll be glad to leave it. But I can’t do that without some thoughts on what, in the end, the stuff is good for. Well, killing people, obviously. Or threatening to… Read More
  • Chem/Bio Warfare

    Chemical Warfare, Part Four: More On Nerve Agents and Their Chemistry

    A good short history of Tabun and other nerve agents, largely based on this book, can be found here. To summarize, in 1937 a report on Tabun made its way to the chemical warfare branch of the German military, and its value was recognized quickly. Gerhard Schrader’s group was moved to new laboratory space and… Read More
  • Chem/Bio Warfare

    Chemical Warfare, Part Three: How Nerve Agents Work

    Descending past mere irritants and past disfiguring killers, we arrive at the bottom of the pit. These are compounds that are to humans what a spray-can of insecticide is to flies. I mean that literally. Back in the 1930s, a group at IG Farben in Germany was searching for new classes of compounds to kill… Read More
  • Chem/Bio Warfare

    Chemical Warfare, Part Two: Lethal Agents (Other Than Nerve Gas)

    We’ll cover three World War I compounds, saving the latter-day nerve agents for a separate posting. 1915 was a terrible year, one among many, because it saw the advent of militarized chlorine, followed shortly by phosgene. Those two (though technically obsolete) are still in play, because their manufacture is so low-tech. Mustard gas (bis(chl… Read More
  • Chem/Bio Warfare

    Chemical Warfare, Part One: Introduction

    I don’t often deal with politics and world events on this site (much less than I thought I might when I started it.) There are usually plenty of other worthy writers out there who are saying just what I would, so I’ve settled on science (and the business of science) as my ecological niche in… Read More