Archive for January, 2011



DNA Sequencing – Now It’s Getting (Even More) Personal!

January 31st, 2011
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“We said that once we had finished sequencing the genome we would make it available to the scientific community for free. …And we will be doing that on Monday morning at 10am.” – J. Craig Venter, February, 2001
 
It’s been ten years since the famous unveiling of the first human genome sequence. Since then, we’ve developed the ability to sequence large numbers of individual human genomes thanks to rapidly changing technology that translates into ever lower costs per genome and higher throughput sequencing capabilities. The $10,000 genome has arrived – even sooner than anticipated – and now the challenge is to figure out what to do with all of the information that is starting to accumulate.
 
The past year has seen a number of key developments and there are no signs that things will slow down over the coming months:
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Why Should the Life Science Industry Care About Davos?

January 27th, 2011
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CNN’s Dr. Sanjay Gupta went on air yesterday to explain why he, as a physician, is attending the World Economic Forum 2011 Annual Meeting taking place right now in Davos, Switzerland.
 
To paraphrase Dr. Gupta, health – and its impact on world economic development – is a big topic at the Davos meeting. He noted, “In terms of health care delivery, there is growing recognition by the forum that existing models simply aren’t sustainable in developed countries, and there simply isn’t enough access in the developing world. Some of that is old news, but the topics at Davos were chosen to address solutions in these areas. For example, I will be moderating panel discussions on topics ranging from personalized medicine to combating chronic disease.”
 
Because of the overarching health-related themes being discussed at Davos, the life science industry – particularly companies seeking to develop diagnostics and devices to address human illness – should focus on what’s taking place at Davos, as well. Following are a few of the critical themes being discussed that draw my attention:
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Takeaways from My Interview with ATA’s President

January 24th, 2011
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I had the very fortunate opportunity to meet with Dale Alverson, M.D., Medical Director of the Center for Telehealth and Cybermedicine Research at the University of New Mexico and current President of the American Telemedicine Association (ATA).   Dr. Alverson has been instrumental in bringing telemedicine to New Mexico for the last several years, and is now actively engaged in bringing telemedicine to the rest of the world.
 
Telemedicine, defined by the ATA, is the use of medical information exchanged from one site to another via electronic communications to improve patients’ health status. Closely associated with telemedicine is the term “telehealth,” which is often used to encompass a broader definition of remote healthcare that does not always involve clinical services. Videoconferencing, transmission of still images, e-health (including patient portals), remote monitoring of vital signs, continuing medical education and nursing call centers are all considered part of telemedicine and telehealth.
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Reflecting on J.P. Morgan 29th Annual Healthcare Conference

January 17th, 2011
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As one of the nearly 8,500 attendees at this year’s J.P. Morgan Healthcare Conference, I’m not alone in recording my observations. However, while the crowds and the climate are still fresh in my mind, I didn’t want to miss the opportunity to share some of my key takeaways. If you were there, please feel free to add your thoughts to the comments section. If you weren’t, let me know if you have any questions about a point I’ve made or curiosity you had about the conference that I haven’t covered.
 
Also, whether you attended or not, you may want to check out the ruminations of TheStreet.com’s Adam Feuerstein who blogged “live” from the conference as well as In Vivo’s Blog on the subject and the prose of the IR Report’s Dominic Jones.
 
My observations:
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Cutting a Path Toward Product Development

January 9th, 2011
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A recent issue of The New Yorker included an interesting article by Jonah Lehrer entitled,  The Truth Wears Off—Is there something wrong with the scientific method? The article focuses on the “decline effect,” which has been observed and debated in various studies in disciplines ranging from psychology to pharmacology to biomedical research.  One of the observations is: As more trials were conducted with a given agent, the less efficacious that agent appeared.  In many cases, the agent was no better than its predecessor, even though the initial study results were significant.
 
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Health Care: Thoughts on Burrill’s 2011 “Converging Technology” Prognostication

January 4th, 2011
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When it comes to the life science industry, many have made 2011 predictions, including renowned biotech specialist, venture capitalist, and frequent public speaker Steve Burrill. It’s not all that surprising that he envisions much of what will happen in the year ahead will be based upon an environment that favors risk-mitigated companies, emerging biotechnology markets (e.g., Brazil and China), and challenges due to U.S. healthcare reform.
 
While I encourage you to take a look at his full list of predictions, I’m most interested in those that tie to some of the topics we’ve been discussing since we launched this blog in November, especially with regard to converging technologies.
 
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