Uh-oh! On an airplane flight today I had the chance to read a recently published article entitled “The Changing Structure of the Pharmaceutical Industry” by Lain Cockburn. It’s got a different perspective on the recent changes that have happened in the pharmaceutical vs biotech industry in the past couple of decades. It also has some history that I think is relevant to the whole discussion of how the life science industry—especially pharma and biotech—came to be and what influenced it. It goes clear back to “the good old days” when I first went to work for ACS three decades ago and explains why things are different now. A good summary quote is:
Perhaps most important, relationships between nonprofit and for-profit sectors have changed dramatically, with an entirely new industry segment—the biotechnology “tool” companies—emerging at the interface between academic and commercial research.
So I’m going to have to go back and rethink some of what I wrote in the Big Pharma and Biotech sections of The Report. But I think the details are important to understanding what’s happening in the real world today.