Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Brave New Biopharm Blogging

Although a few articles on this site are older, I really only began blogging in earnest about 15 months ago. However, I suppose that's long enough that I can count myself as at least somewhat established, and take a moment to welcome and encourage some interesting newcomers to the scene.
Bloggers in dank basements their natural habitat.
There are 3 relative newcomers that I've found really interesting, all with very different perspectives on drug development and clinical research:

The Big Pharma insider.
With the exception of John LaMattina (the former Pfizer exec who regularly provides seriously thought provoking ideas over on Forbes), I don’t know of anyone from the ranks of Big Pharma who writes both consistently and well. Which is a shame, given how many major past, current, and future therapies pass through those halls.

Enter Frank David, the Director of Strategy at AstraZeneca's Oncology Innovative Medicines unit. Frank started his Pharmagellan blog this April, and has been putting out a couple thoughtful perspective pieces a month since then.

Frank also gets my vote for most under-followed Twitter account in the industry, as he’s putting out a steady stream of interesting material.

Getting trials done.
Clinical operations – the actual execution of the clinical trials we all talk about – is seriously underrepresented in the blogosphere. There are a number of industry blogs, but none that aren’t trying first and foremost to sell you something.

I met Nadia Bracken on my last trip out to the San Francisco bay area. To say Nadia is driven is to make a rather silly understatement. Nadia is driven. She thinks fast and she talks fast. ClinOps Toolkit is a blog (or resource? or community?) that is still very much in development, but I think it holds a tremendous amount of potential. People working in ClinOps should be embracing her, and those of us who depend on operations teams getting the job done should keep a close eye on the website.

Watching the money.
I am not a stock trader. I am a data person, and data says trust big sample sizes. And, honestly, I just don't have the time.

But that doesn't stop me from realizing that a lot of great insight about drug development – especially when it concerns small biotechs – is coming from the investment community. So I tend to follow a number of financial writers, as I've found that they do a much better job of digging through the hype than can ever be expected of the mainstream media.

One stock writer who I've been following for a while is Andrew Goodwin, who maintains the Biotech Due Diligence website and blog. Andrew clearly has a great grasp on a number of topics, so when he described a new blog as a “must-have addition” to one's reading list, I had to take a look.

And the brand-new-this-month blog, by David Sable at Special Situations Fund, does seem like a great read. David looks both at the corporate dynamics and scientific stories of biotechs with a firmly skeptical view. I know most blogs this new will not be around 6 months from now (and David admits as much in his opening post), but I’m hoping this one lasts.

. . . . .

So, I encourage you to take a look at the above 3 blogs. I'm happy to see more and diverse perspectives on the drug development process starting to emerge, and hope that all 3 of these authors stick around for quite a while – we need their ideas.

[Bloggerhole photo courtesy of Flikr user second_mouse.]

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