Industry & Academia, part 1

The biotech, pharmaceutical and life sciences industry poses an interesting conundrum. How do we industrialize a profession of problem solving? From experience, I can say some have done it well, while others have treated the life sciences like a traditional industry. Much of the novel molecules which lead to profitable drugs often have their beginnings in academic research. Here a molecule or procedure showing promise is quickly gobbled up by an industrial giant, with very fair compensations of course. In academic research labs problem solving can bee seen to take a two-pronged approach. The first is collecting and presenting data which will ensure future and continued monetary funding. The second and more important aspect, is everyone in the lab understanding their individual projects from the bottom-up; to understand the basic concepts of nature which are guiding the protocols of an experiment. And it is at this where industry shows it’s largest short-coming. Departmentalizing work within a single project causes individuals to differ responsibility of the overall project success. This creates a lack of vigilance, people let flaws in experimental design slip by, those whose experience can best help troubleshoot aren’t even asked. The biotech industry isn’t young and fledgling anymore and allowing it to be run through the lens of a traditional business will do little to assure future success.

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