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A few follow on thoughts to “How To Build a Biotech Cluster That Isn’t Boston or SF”

November 21, 2012

I wanted to share some thoughts on “How To Build a Biotech Cluster That Isn’t Boston or SF,” many of them stemming from the #AtlasLSR tweets of November 9.  I was reading them going, “yes!”

This tweet from Bruce kicked it off; “Having your R&D rooted in a ‘science hub’ increases odds of Phase 2-3 success by 2-fold.

Next, this via Katrine Bosley; “quality of scientific publications is one” correlate with R&D success.

To tie that back, Recruit Rock Star Scientists; theoretically, the PIs that have been recruited to UofL via Bucks for Brains are publishing in quality journals.  I say theoretically because I haven’t tested that quantitatively.  And, I have to say, there are PIs who have been at Louisville since before Bucks for Brains that publish in high impact factor journals, too (e.g. Jon Klein @JonBKlein).

Regarding drug development success rates and what does or does not correlate with success, I asked Katrine, “Do the people?

The answer is, “yes.”  So having access to people–with experience–is a good thing.  Related, on the academic side, a good read is “Stranger in a strange land?” by Bassil Dahiyat in Nature Biotechnology.  In it he notes, “if you are in academia and aspire to start a company, it really helps if you are at an institution where you are surrounded by peers and professors already experienced with the biotech industry.”

Michael Gilman helped kick off a discussion of “hub,” captured, in part, here via Appeering.

Of note, back to the point that being in a science hub correlates with success.

Why so few hubs overall?”  Clearly I think it has a lot to do with people, and hopefully this helps support that theory, but certainly there are other factors.  And while I have some experience, I don’t have all the answers.

That’s why I try to listen (even if it’s via Twitter!) and learn from others with experience.  And that may be the take home point of all of this. In many ways building a biotech cluster is like building any other startup; you have to do your due diligence and test your assumptions.

* Thanks again to Luke and Xconomy for the opportunity.

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