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a "short course" for drug discovery

PostPosted: Wed Jan 05, 2005 8:06 pm
by Drew Parrish
I'm pretty new to the world of biotech and feel like I need a primer to catch up. There's the jargon and acronyms, but it's also just a different way of thinking about science. Are there any conferences or workshops geared towards industry scientists that would be useful to a new kid on the block?

For instance, there's this Keystone conference that seems good -
- though I just saw it today and it's next week. Are there others like it that I should think about attending?

Along the same lines, are there any good books that you can recommend on biotech or big pharma? I find what I'm looking for difficult to define, but I suppose I want information on historical trends in priorities, drug modalities, or even examples of how specific drugs have made their way through the pipeline.


a "short course" for drug discovery

PostPosted: Wed Jan 05, 2005 8:26 pm
by Bill L.
Hi Drew,

From Alchemy to IPO: The Business of Biotechnology is pretty good for a quick crash course. It's by Cynthia Robbins-Roth.

Take care,

Bill L. & Naledi S.

a "short course" for drug discovery

PostPosted: Thu Jan 06, 2005 1:18 am
by AL
Making PCR: the story of biotechnology

by Paul Rabinow

It's not exactly current, but it does give some interesting historical and sociological perspectives on how this important discovery came about. It includes many interesting interviews with key players and paints a fascinating picture of what the biotech industry was like in its early days. Also, it describes how one person's (guess whose!) obsession with programming and "for loops" led to a Nobel-worthy insight.

a "short course" for drug discovery

PostPosted: Thu Jan 06, 2005 7:16 am
by Kevin Foley
I'm a little leery of recommending this book, since it might actually scare you out of biotech! But everyone has read it, so you should too, and it is very interesting in a "kiss and tell" sort of way about life in a start-up biotech:

"The Billion Dollar Molecule: One Company's Quest for the Perfect Drug" by Barry Werth

It's essentially the industry analog of Natalie Angier's kiss & tell about academic research, "Natural Obsessions : Striving to Unlock the Deepest Secrets of the Cancer Cell" (incidently, a book every grad student and postdoc should read), and it relates the story of the early days of Vertex, a successful biotech in Boston.

There's a very negative, but amusing review on Amazon called "A Fictionalized Tale of Venality and Banality".

To quote: "The characters are sketched almost uniformly as embodying the worst traits in human nature: narcissistic, self-aggrandizing, petty, conniving, ruthless schemers, and academic back stabbers. The character of one Dr. Schreiber, a distinguished researcher and scientist, is pummeled into submission, portrayed as utterly base, calculating and disingenuous. Schreiber is Mr. Werth's straight man, a punching bag for the author's preoccupation with uncovering the ugliness that mysteriously lurks within the rarefied air of scientific enterprise. This book offers up a Machiavellian smorgasbord of character flaws, a feast of delights for those who enjoy a good food fight along with their meal."

I guess not everyone likes it.