Search This Blog

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

The Reinventors

The evolution of a fact is a human journey to scientifically understand our world. Individuals will fully grasp a fact before the general population. It is up individuals to articulate the fact. Gravity is a force that exists on our planet. It is accepted as a fact. Isaac Newton and others articulated what this force is, how it operates in our world and gave it a value, 9.81 m/s squared

Along the way to establishing the human understanding of gravity we had to deal with the facts that were wrong. The earth being flat, for example, was a misconception that hindered getting to the fact of gravity. The earth being the center of the universe hindered us from understanding gravity. What does the shape of the earth and its relationship to the rest of its solar system have to do with gravity? One person describes the shape of the earth. One person describes energy. The next guy points out the force that can be generated by spinning a top and so on. Through the evolution of ideas we come to closer to the big picture. The bigger the idea, the bigger the scientist.

What happens then when there is not enough evolution? What happens when you want to get to a fact such as gravity yet you insist on believing that the world is flat? You get Cargo Cult Airports. In general, you want something so bad you are willing to accept answers that are too simple. You build a non-functioning airport and hope someone else will come along and make it work. The obstacles standing in the way of our understanding of the truth are often the little things. Evolution is a slow process that involves the interactions of billions and billions of little things.

It is with this world view that I watch the same old business people re-inventing biotechnology. It is assumed that the reason we have failed is due to our business models. No one suspects the activities in the lab have anything to do with biotechnology success or failure. It is the business model. The Flat World Society of Biotechnology is re-inventing itself.

Reinventing a cargo cult airport is, of course, an act in futility. If we could go back and randomly look at a biotech company that failed, would we discover that the problem was the business model? What are the odds that the company failed after a drug trial indicated their drug was not efficacious? What seems to be happening with "The Reinventors" is that they are no longer extracting money from the investment community. That is why they are reinventing themselves. The Reinventors must find new ways of convincing the investment community that they can mitigate the fallout of a failed drug trial. They must find ways of assuring the investment community that the lack of cargo won't get in the way of profit. The business model will change.

It is a fact that biotechnology has been a failure for the investment community. There is no need to reinvent ourselves in 2012. That time has passed. Those who will be reinventing our industry are the same ones who invented the old ways. Spend, hold meetings, spend, fire the lab staff, hire newer weaker lab staff... We are now an industry of old fools and young sheep. We replaced the Allied Forces, who ran our airports and ensured the safe and efficient delivery of cargo, with the natives. The evolution of biotechnology has weeded out people who were not good enough to make it and people not foolish enough to keep trying. Along with good and bad people, we've weeded out investment capital. It's not clear what kind of reinvention is going to make a company succeed when their drugs do not. We still haven't figured out how to mitigate the utter neglect of the scientific method.

No comments: