Once again, the Scientific American WorldView project continues to measure global biotechnology innovation.
I had the pleasure of serving as lead editorial consultant of this project, and my mission was to cut through the marketing messages and develop a coherent measure of biotechnology innovation on a country-by-country basis.
The 2010 version of Scientific American’s Worldview is launching at BIO. I’ve updated last year’s rankings, and also included some new measures. The data section is also significantly expanded, with numerous tables and charts comparing biotechnology activities and supportive elements from around the world.
While readers not at BIO2010 will have to wait until the official launch for the worldview website to be updated, those at the conference can pick up a hard copy of this year’s magazine on the literature distribution racks all around the convention center.
I was recently queried by the Israeli Life Science Industry on my thoughts regarding trends in the global biotechnology industry as well as elements of specific interest to Israel. You can see my full interview at ILSI’s website.
Here is a recent keynote I gave for the Delaware Valley Innovation Network. The group is working on coordinating the activities of community colleges — and other parties — between the adjacent Delaware, Philadelphia, and New Jersey regions. My objective was to use case studies to show that drawing circles around regions to count combined assets (as is too frequently done) is not enough; it is also necessary to find ways to drive collaboration.
After months of preparation, the Scientific American worldVIEW project has launched.
I had the pleasure of serving as lead editorial consultant of this project, and my mission was to cut through the marketing messages and develop a coherent measure of biotechnology innovation on a country-by-country basis. You can hear me talk about the project and some of the findings here, and you visit the worldVIEW site here, and you can see the innovation scorecard here. My perspective on why, and how, biotechnology blossomed in the United States is here.
Update: You can see Jeremy Abbate, director of global media at Scientific American, and I discussing the project here.
In 2005 India mostly strengthened their patent laws to meet international norms, with the distinct requirement that new drug products must “differ significantly in properties with regard to efficacy.” This requirement for a significant improvement in efficacy only applies to drugs — not to other patentable inventions like pens, car engines, etc., and is of concern for drug companies seeking to protect their inventions in India.
In 2007, Novartis received a first-hand demonstration of the limitations of patents under these new rules. They failed to receive patent protection for Glivec (sold as Gleevec in the U.S.). In response, Novartis opted to redirect hundreds of millions of dollars of R&D to other countries — essentially voting with their feet.
A recent partnership between Merck and India’s Nicholas Piramal (NPIL), potentially worth more than $300mm, suggests that Merck is unfazed. In this partnership, NPIL is responsible for essentially the entire drug discovery chain, from candidate identification through pre-clinical and early-stage clinical trials.So, one may ask the question: Have Novartis’ experiences affected other companies, and is Novartis actually redirecting their investments?
Novartis, on the other hand, is keeping their word. Whie they did recently announce plans to dramatically increase the headcount at their India Development Centre, the company reiterated that these were not R&D jobs: “This is not a high-end work and the nature of job is similar to business process outsourcing. We will think of doing high-end R&D work in India only when the patent laws are made totally compatible with WTO norms”
So it appears that Novartis isn’t influencing the activities of others. The question remains: who will bend first? Novartis or the Indian Government?
The Scientific American WorldView project, where I’ve been serving as lead editorial consultant, is ramping up for its May 20th launch at BIO 2009. One of the objectives for the project was to put marketing-speak aside and objectively measure biotechnology innovation progress around the world. Going beyond gross regional measures, we compare individual countries to distill best practices, opportunities for growth, and uncover hidden gems.