I was reading Clay Shirky's rather long yet illuminating article on the rise and fall of newspapers as a modern viable business. In it he says:
an industry. Leadership becomes faith-based, while employees who have
the temerity to suggest that what seems to be happening is in fact
happening are herded into Innovation Departments, where they can be
ignored en masse. This shunting aside of the realists in
favor of the fabulists has different effects on different industries at
In different ways, the same revolution is happening in Pharma and Biotechnology. Many saw the lack of pipelines eons ago and investigated ways of addressing it, but of course, like newspapers, the unthinkable worse case scenario happened. The drugs failed before they made it market and many were slow to catch onto innovations such as targeted therapies, focusing instead on me-too chemotherapies, for example. Now, just about every major oncology company has targeted therapies in their R&D and the market is suddenly becoming very competitive and crowded.
It does beg the big question though; which targets are absolutely critical to the tumour and will different approaches in how they might be used make a difference in long term survival to patients?
Darwin's survival of the fittest is also at play in the background here. Those that fail to adapt, adopt and modify will be left behind as dinosaurs, just like the newspapers. In times like these, it's new innovations and game changing approaches that will win out rather than following the herd and making yet more me-too copies. The next 18 months may well see a bloodbath in the industry with patent expiries, desperate corporations and a lengthy credit crunch strangling access to cash flow.
Innovate or die.