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Good night and good luck
12-11-2007
by Randall C Willis  |  Email the author
SHARING OPTIONS:

As we reach the penultimate issue of the year, I also find myself approach the end of my tenure as Executive Editor of Drug Discovery News and DDN Online. The publications will continue hale and hearty into the new year, but it is time for me to let someone else take this bully pulpit and raise new ideas and questions about the pharmaceutical and biotech industries.
 
Over the three years that Chris Anderson and I have led the editorial development of the publications, I have had the great fortune of meeting and speaking with a fascinating array of individuals involved in the myriad facets of pharmaceutical discovery and development.
 
From CEOs to bench scientists; from social activists to government regulators. From Brazil to Nigeria; India to Indiana; London, England to London, Ontario. As I look back, I am amazed at the access I have been given to people and subjects at all levels. And based on your notes and messages, the mind boggles at the ability of my editorials to incite conversation if not outright violence. (Don't worry…I'm not going to turn this into a Sally Field moment.)
 
A lot has happened in the last three years. In this very compressed window, the pharmaceutical and biotechnology industries have undergone significant change, both good and bad. The industry continues to struggle through financial and social challenges that are beginning to make the dip of the late 1990s look like the glory years. More than ever before, the industry is having to balance its responsibilities to shareholders with its newfound responsibilities to the global community, and not surprisingly, it has struggled and made a few missteps.
 
At the same time, however, the industry is facing an incredible future and is on the cusp of some amazing discoveries and opportunities for growth. The technological advances of the last two decades are just now starting to show their real potential in all facets of healthcare. Likewise, the rise of public-private partnerships and nonprofit corporations working hand-in-hand with Big Pharma is already opening therapeutic doors to people who would once have stood on the outside with little hope. And the developing world is starting to show those of us in the developed world that we don't necessarily have all the answers and could still learn a thing or two.
 
In those same three years, DDN and DDN Online have gone from glimmers in the eyes of road-weary but aspiration-rich ad salesmen to internationally recognized and respected publications. And with all due respect and deference to our advertisers, the lofty position in which DDN and DDN Online find themselves is due to one group: our readers.
 
 So I would like to send out my personal thanks to our readers; to the people who made an effort to talk with me at conferences or by email to let me know when I'd struck a nerve—positive or negative—or when they thought I was full of [deleted]. All of your feedback and input has helped DDN and DDN Online be better publications and kept me better informed.
 
My thanks also go out to my editorial colleagues, Chris Anderson and Jeffrey Bouley. Chris made sure that I didn't totally geek out and always remembered that DDN and DDN Online were business publications first and foremost. Jeff brought a unique perspective and his own personal humor to our subjects. Our readers remain in very good hands.
 
I also want to thank our sales and support team, whose efforts are too numerous and varied to be confined within a single note.
 
And finally, I would like to thank the founders of our feast (egad, I'm channeling Dickens). To Bruce Poorman, Charlie von Brecht, and Larry Doyle, I extend my gratitude for their tireless support of the editorial effort and more importantly, for their friendship.
 
While I leave the editorial desk of DDN and DDN Online, I have been invited to become a member of the organization's editorial advisory board. Furthermore, as I move to new opportunities, I remain within the pharmaceutical industry, so I am sure to see many of you at future conferences and tradeshows. Please be sure to stop and say hello.
 
Peace, happiness, and success to you all.

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