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Publisher’s note: A look at the ddn’s top five stories of 2010
Last November in this column, we previewed the year to come, introducing a redesign of our monthly print publication as well as our new editorial departments: Diagnostics, Government Watch and Contract Research Services. We also expanded our Genomics & Proteomics department, renaming it Omics & Systems Biology, and our Informatics and Automation & Instrumentation sections evolved into Instrumentation & Informatics. Our single-page information sources, Finance & Markets and Facts & Figures, were also redesigned for "news-at-a-glance" industry trends, and we partnered with Burrill & Co. and Cutting Edge Information Inc., respectively, to provide the content for these sections.
These editorial departments provide the structure for us to report news as it evolves, and this past year we provided more coverage than any single year since our introduction in 2005. Out of all of our print and online news coverage, we have picked five stories that we feel illustrate some high points and show how ddn is unique in reporting industry news.
Granny's giggle gone too soon (October 2010)
This commentary, which appeared in our October issue, struck as much a nerve with readers as Chief Editor Amy Swinderman's own experience reporting on the Alzheimer's Prevention Initiative (API). The story gave us a chance to report on the API's lofty goal of preventing Alzheimer's disease "before another generation is lost," and hit close to home as the story ran four years to the month that Amy's husband's grandmother died of the disease. Relating personal experience to current news is something that Amy has done very well, and we believe this commentary to be her best.
Stem cell debate plays out in court (November 2010)
In August, financial support for U.S. stem cell research came to a screeching halt when a divisive court decision placed a temporary injunction on new funding for the controversial research method. Less than a month later, an appellate court lifted the ban until an outcome in the case is reached—but the national debate over embryonic stem cell (eSC) research had already been reignited. In our November issue, we tackled the facts of the case and were able to interview the lawsuit's lead plaintiffs about their beliefs regarding eSC research, despite the fact that they denied interviews to many other media outlets. This defining moment shows the respect that ddn has earned as a news source. A Q&A interview with the plaintiffs appears in this issue on page 22.
ALA and SBS propose to merge as SLAS (March 2010)
On March 15, ddn was first to report that two prominent associations in the biotech and pharma industries, the Society for Biomolecular Sciences (SBS) and the Association for Laboratory Automation (ALA), were merging into a single organization—the Society for Laboratory Automation and Screening (SLAS) in an effort to broaden offerings to their members, better reach a global audience and gain greater operational and financial efficiencies. SLAS chose ddn as the news organization to "break" this news.
You ought to be in pictures (January 2010)
In our January issue, Managing Editor Jeff Bouley reported on the efforts of supercomputing giant IBM and the University of Pittsburgh's McGowan Institute for Regenerative Medicine to "borrow" techniques similar to those used in special effects in films to study chronic hepatitis, liver cancer and other diseases through in silico models. Jeff reported that by using computational techniques to simulate inflamed liver cells morphing into cancer, the researchers are seeing not only how tumors develop, but also how drugs or other interventions could affect disease progression. It wasn't the first story Jeff tackled about IBM's foray into the pharma/biotech industries—he first reported on the company in November 2009 with a story about IBM chasing a $1,000 genome—and it also wasn't his last, as we continue to report on how IBM is taking drug discovery technology to new heights.
Special Report: Outsourcing under the microscope (May-August 2010)
Being a news organization, ddn reports on the news as it happens, but certain trends in the drug discovery arena began developing this year that warranted special coverage. In May, Senior Editor David Hutton launched a multipart series on outsourcing and trends in the contract research market, tracing the evolution of the business model, examining geographic trends and defining who the major CRO players are. The series was so popular that we launched another series on trends in the cancer research market in the fall, and we have several more series on various topics planned for next year.
Those series will begin in January, when we will kick off the first of four multi-issue features with a two-part report on screening technology. In April, we will launch a series on drug delivery, followed by a three-part report on stem cell research beginning in July and a final series on cell biology beginning in November.
Being a fully integrated news service, ddn will also continue to develop our online news vehicles. This September, we introduced the ddn blog to give us the opportunity to bring you a "behind-the-scenes" look at the stories we cover and a chance to comment and interact with other readers. You can access our blog at http://ddnonline.wordpress.com/. You can also search our online news archives via our website, www.drugdiscoverynews.com, by using the keyword search box in the upper left corner of our homepage.
Our top five news stories of 2010 provide a capsule look at why ddn is unique in industry, and we will continue to bring you many more exclusive stories in the years to come. On behalf of the entire ddn team, thank you for your support these last six years.