An Interesting Investment Observation

A recent article in the NYT describes the benefits of value investing. 

Mr. Cullen said that his firm’s research showed that $1 million invested in the Standard & Poor’s 500-stock index in 1968 would have been worth $79 million by the end of 2013. But $1 million invested in the 20 percent of the S.&P. 500 with the lowest price-to-earnings ratios would have been worth $578 million.

Academia and Industry Join Forces in Sweden

AstraZeneca and the Karolinska Institutet, Sweden's leading medical institute have joined forces to create the Karolinska Institutet/AstraZeneca Integrated Cardio Metabolic Center. The center will be funded by a $100M USD five-year contract, with the entire financial contribution coming from AstraZeneca. While Karolinska and AstraZeneca have collaborated before, this joint center will bring researchers from academia and industry side by side to speed the development of therapies for cardio-metabolic diseases. It will be interesting to see how this collaboration goes and what new therapies are developed with the two groups working together so closely. I believe that this is an excellent model and hopefully more collaborations like this can develop in the future. 

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Publishing: Academia vs. Industry

I recently attended a talk that compared and contrasted various aspects of academia to industry. While the talk dispelled a lot of the myths surrounding scientific research in industry, I thought the speaker's comments on publishing were most intriguing and worth sharing. Many people believe that in industry you do not, will not, or cannot publish. This is not the case. You do, will, and can publish BUT, unlike academia, your career does not depend on it. This means you only publish when you have something interesting to say that is worth sharing (and when the legal team says it is ok to do so) not because you need to to get tenure, grants, etc. While papers have been and probably will continue to be the currency of academic research for some time, I think academia could learn from the industry model. It seems as if every day a new case of scientific fraud is being uncovered and the pressure to publish and publish often is a contributing factor. I am not sure how to break the tight link between publishing and success in academia, but as research becomes more translational and labs become more business-like, hopefully the publishing habits can become more industry-like as well.

Google Enters Healthcare

A few weeks ago the New York Times published an interesting article about Calico, a Google backed biotech company. Arthur D. Levinson, former Genentech CEO, will assume that position for Calico as well. Calico is focused on slowing aging but is approaching the problem from a basic science perspective. The goal is to identify novel therapeutic targets overtime that the company will eventually develop compounds around. Calico has this luxury of time due to the financial backing from Google and others. I think it is an interesting way to approach drug development, and while similar approaches have been used before it will be exciting to see how Google fares.