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Speed and time are of the essence
Welcome to the first monthly issue of Drug Discovery News, a trade publication like no other in the drug discovery field. Over the past four months, it has been a pleasure immersing myself in the industry, all while attempting not to drown in the deluge of information. From the floors of Lab Automation 2005 in San Jose, to Pitttcon in Orlando and back to my office in Portland, Maine, my conversations with you have yielded a new vocabulary which only yield blank looks from my family at the end of the day when I start waxing poetic about RNAi, GPCRs, HPLC or MALDI MS.
Yet while I am still getting up to speed on my alphabet soup and the associated technologies of potential therapeutics behind them, one thing I am up to speed on – and one learns first thing when covering drug discovery – is that time and speed are critical factors to the success or failure of the research into breakthrough compounds or small molecules, a tiny trickling of which will eventually go on to become approved and marketable drugs.
Your patents have a shelf life, so the sooner you get that treatment to market, the more profitable it will be. Well, at Drug Discovery News, we also need to pay attention to speed and time. Our challenge is to provide you with timely news that is well-researched and gets right to the point. That means tight deadlines, intense research and a thorough understanding of what makes news important and how that information ultimately helps you, the reader.
Sound at least a little bit familiar?
It is my opinion (and this is the one space where I get to have an opinion) that our business news based publication comes along at the right time in this market. The information age and advancing computing power is providing a glut of information that requires researchers to work smarter and be more focused and more efficient with the time they spend either in the lab or analyzing results. Couple this with company executives who now need and want all this data, all this potential IP, routed throughout the enterprise. In theory, it will allow them to make better (they hope) decisions about the future of the company based on information flowing from the lab. Considering the sheer volume of this information, it is easy to see how occasionally things get lost in the translation.
One story in this month's issue perhaps pinpoints this ongoing struggle between how to better manage the lab in conjunction with a better-managed company. It's the story of the recent partnership between Applied Biosystems and Deloitte Consulting LLC. Some might say "ho-hum it's just another in a long line of alliances in the industry." On the surface, they'd be right. But only on the surface.
What this deal exemplifies and what will continue to be a major focus of many companies is how to marry the enterprise information architecture with the highly technical data emanating from the lab.
ABI and Deloitte have heard what their customers are saying in this regard: it is vital to find a viable method to do this. Both companies realized that, like the companies they served, their expertise often ended at the lab door. ABI was strong with informatics packages for the tools scientists were using and manipulating the data they generated. But trying to get that information to senior management in a usable format was beyond the scope of ABI's expertise. Likewise, Deloitte has a long and successful history of serving the pharmaceutical and life sciences industry with enterprise-wide ERP systems and change management consulting to refocus the company on this top level information. But Deloitte, too, had very little expertise inside the lab. A perfect marriage, if it works, and one that should provide information that flows from the lab to thhe executive suites.
So how does that make us in the right place at the right time?
Well, to begin with, a business newspaper like ours can do things feature-based publications can't—like covering the news as it happens instead of being tied to an editorial calendar created more than a year in advance. In addition, our stories probably weigh in at a quarter of the length – or shorter – of most stories you'll see in competing trades. That means we can cover more news stories and provide the information in them to our time-strapped readers in a format that is an easy and quick read.
But that is only part of the equation. You see, my experience of covering top-level business news stories ties in very well with the experience of Executive Editor Randall C Willis, who has both experience covering research and technology for Modern Drug Discovery, as well as his own experiences working within life science labs.