Archive by category | Research

The “Electric-Biology” duo

The “Electric-Biology” duo

Two old pals, once classmates at Minami-Oei Primary School in Osaka city of Japan, never would have dreamt that they will jointly work to develop a commercially successful disinfectant six decades later. One of them, Sunao Kubota, became a physician and professor of General Surgery in St. Marianna University School of Medicine, and the second, Nobuyuki Yamaji, became an electro physicist with Kyoto University.  Read more

India’s Vision 2020 – BioPharma Strategy – R&D

India’s Vision 2020 – BioPharma Strategy – R&D

In order for India’s biopharmaceutical players to compete effectively on the global scale for biosimilars market by 2020, the private sector as well as Government of India (GOI) will have to invest a considerable amount of capital in building the manufacturing capacity and skills base to provide the necessary enabling environment. The Department of Pharmaceuticals, GOI in partnership with Association of Biotechnology Led Enterprises (ABLE) and PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) have attempted to address this opportunity and provided the key recommendations into six broad sections, which you can read about here.  Read more

Retail biology

Retail biology

The recent sad news about Steve Jobs got me thinking about the evolution of markets. In the early years of “information and communication technologies” (ICT) there was an obvious focus on the mainstays. People like Jobs and Bill Gates focused on the hardware and software that would ultimately drive the nascent industry.  Read more

Academic Serendipity to Clinical, Commercial Success

Academic Serendipity to Clinical, Commercial Success

I always say to my colleagues “Success has no formula, but failure does.” Often, biotech spin-offs yield more in experience than they do history. But I would like to share the story of a colleague of mine who went from a humble academic job in the microbiology department in a national university to a clinical success story. His lab in Tokyo is now providing cell-based immunotherapy via 6,000 transfusions a year, from all over Japan and from neighboring countries.  Read more

Virtual Professorship at Work; the SMART Initiative

Virtual Professorship at Work; the SMART Initiative

The days when the physical presence of a professional in the place of work or a meeting was mandatory are gradually becoming extinct, in the same mode that Brachiosaurus faded from planet Earth. Communication technologies have revolutionized the way meetings happen, and there isn’t the need to always physically gather at one place. If meetings can be made virtual, deals struck and businesses flourish without the need for physical presence and proximity, why can’t ideas ignite minds across the biotech world, and why can’t researchers be tracked in remote control?  Read more

Reverse brain drain and the Indian biotech “niche”

Reverse brain drain and the Indian biotech “niche”

For the past few years, we have received significantly more resumes from native Indian post-doctoral fellows from the US, searching for opportunities in India, which tickled me to explore the phenomenon of “reverse-brain-drain” in India and the biotech field. This phenomenon became popular after the dot-com bubble crisis, which forced many IT professionals from Silicon Valley to return to India.  Read more

No Genes, No Future

No Genes, No Future

The biotech industry relies strongly on genetic engineering, and on genes being characterized and properly expressed. This was clear to me more than three decades ago, after Herbert Boyer expressed in California the insulin gene in E. coli. I’m a member of the Brazilian Academy of Science, and since the ‘80s, I’ve stated that countries that do not identify genes will never build a competitive pharmaceutical industry, or agbusiness industry, or, more recently, biofuels industry.  Read more

Academic bias and biotech failures

I just met with an entrepreneur who was the founding CEO of a company created around an academic lab’s discoveries. It was fascinating new approach to drugging hot receptor targets. To protect the innocent I won’t mention the names, but Atlas Venture looked at in back in 2008 and, although intriguing, we ended up passing on the deal. Thankfully, because we missed a bullet – it recently was shut down.  Read more