Identity Verified Thinker in Business / Industries / Pharmaceuticals
Dennis Lendrem
Dennis Lendrem
MSc in Medical Statistics, PhD from Oxford. Background in Pharmaceutical R&D. Contributor to popular magazines and trade magazines including Scrip Magazine, New Scientist and the Economist. Formerly Editor of the journal Pharmaceutical Statistics.
May 31, 2014 3:57 pm
Frequently surgeons, oncologists, transplantation specialists, clinicians get to change the lives of their patients forever. And, understandably, patients are often very grateful. But we sometimes forget that it is a two-way process. We forget that the patient can change the clinician's life. Thirty years ago, Professor John Isaacs met Nicola Wetz - the patient who was to change his life....  Read More
May 21, 2014 7:02 am
Imagine what would happen. You arrive at work one day to find a black obelisk sitting in the middle of the parking lot. You ask Reception what it is doing there? No idea. You call Security. They don't know how it got there. You check with the boss. She comes to check it out too. You call Head Office. It's not theirs. You call the police. They investigate. They don't know how it got there...  Read More
May 20, 2014 5:17 am
Google has become the internationally recognized, gold standard meaning instant access to relevant information. How do I know? From time to time, on rare occasions, I'm asked a question to which I know the answer. It's only Tuesday and twice this week I've been asked such a question. (It's been a good week. It can only go downhill from here.) On both occasions I was told that I'm...  Read More
May 17, 2014 1:23 pm
Martin Owen is one of the most interesting scientists I've worked with. One of the first lessons I learned from Martin is that it is amazing what you can do if you don't know that it is impossible. We first met when Martin was working as a medicinal chemist in strategic technologies. The previous week I'd been working in another company who told me that I had some "very interesting" ideas...  Read More
May 16, 2014 6:27 am
The institute where I now work is an internationally recognized centre of excellence and home to researchers from all around the world. But as a member of the minority British contingent I’m very aware that we Brits are considered almost pathologically polite. Sometimes that can get in the way. What we say, what we mean and what others hear can be really quite different things. Pinned...  Read More
May 15, 2014 2:46 am
Dr Sally Old, is one of those rare creatures - a woman who made the transition from Laboratory Bench to Board Room. Somehow, she even manages to squeeze in a family. We got talking about Decision Making. I've spent my life studying decision making, optimality and the art of making the right decision. Sally had a different take. She told me that the most important thing she had learned was...  Read More
Apr. 27, 2014 5:58 am
It was the last summer before I went up to Oxford. I had an interview for a vacation job at the local safari park. I met the previous interviewee as she stormed from the elephant house where I would be working. She was in tears. This was somewhat alarming. Dougie, the elephant keeper, took me to meet my prospective charges: two young Indian elephants each weighing in at around 1500 lbs. Dougie...  Read More
Apr. 19, 2014 5:34 am
A funny thing happened to me at the start of my career. I was assigned to Head Office outside London for six months. At the time I wasn’t very keen – it meant being separated from my young family from Monday-Friday – but I didn’t have much choice. During those six months I stayed in the Company House – a swanky little bijou number in the heart of town, without a garden, but generously...  Read More
Apr. 15, 2014 2:06 pm
The first meeting of the research and development groups from the UK, US and France took place in Paris. The first day ended well and everyone met for one of those stilted corporate dinners. Socially skilled, we pretended to be enjoying a social evening and made small talk in time honoured fashion. Seated opposite, the President of the new R&D organization, Jean, showed polite interest asking me...  Read More
Apr. 12, 2014 1:29 pm
Harmonization: the adjustment of differences and inconsistencies among different measurements, methods, procedures, schedules, specifications, or systems to make them uniform or mutually compatible. Few people in the corporate world would question the importance of harmonization. Harmonization is critical to any company with global ambitions. But how far do you go? In 1989 our new US...  Read More
Apr. 6, 2014 5:46 am
Take risks and do something different if it looks interesting. Success often involves a great deal of luck. Some people don't like to hear that because it means there are things that are out of their control. But that's the way it is. Janet D Rowley (1925-2013) For more about Janet Rowley .  Read More
Mar. 26, 2014 10:31 am
The first pill costs $1.4 billion. Thereafter every pill costs $0.10 to manufacture.  Read More
Mar. 24, 2014 4:07 am
Repetition is a powerful communication tool. Especially when combined with humour. I was reminded of this when reading The Little Book of Whittling by Chris Lubkemann. Here are his Ten Extremely Important Rules when choosing a knife. Make sure your knife is sharp. Your knife must be really sharp. Don't try carving with a knife that isn't sharp. Before starting to carve, ...  Read More
Mar. 22, 2014 6:14 am
What is the secret of successful companies? Back in 1982 Tom Peters and Robert Waterman Jr sought the answer to this question by the obvious and commonsense approach of identifying successful companies and finding out what made them great. The result was the 1982 book In Search of Excellence: Lessons from America's Best-Known Companies . It was an instant success and went on to sell millions....  Read More
Mar. 13, 2014 2:54 pm
Japanese macaques love sweet potatoes. So when a group of primatologists visiting an island colony on Koshima Islet began to throw away leftover potatoes from the camp's evening meal, the macaques were quick to spot an opportunity. Trouble is the discarded potatoes were covered in sand. And Japanese macaques hate sand. It's gritty. Then one day, an immature female hit on the idea of...  Read More
Mar. 3, 2014 5:43 am
By the late 1960’s the pharmaceutical industry found itself on the brink of the first pharmaceutical innovation crisis. Running out of ideas, this deepened further during the 1970’s; and by 1980, the industry was in the grip of its first full-blown innovation crisis. Increased regulatory scrutiny and spiralling R&D costs brought innovation to a crawl. With R&D typically eating up 12 or more...  Read More
Feb. 7, 2014 10:43 am
Amazon, Apple, Dell, Facebook, Google and Microsoft often appear in the Top 10 corporate Mission Statements. But what about the worst? Who is in the Bottom 10? And, in this highly competitive field, how do you break in to the Bottom 10? Here is the key: At no point mention what it is you do - see Albertsons. Promise to solve World Hunger while manufacturing sticky labels - see Avery...  Read More
Jan. 30, 2014 12:38 am
Robert's Rules are a set of guidelines and documentation standards for running a meeting. In particular they set standards for keeping minutes that are still in use today. Anyone familiar with committee work will have encountered Robert's Rules . First published in 1876, Robert's Rules of Order were written by Brigadier General Henry Martyn Robert. He wrote the manual in response to his...  Read More
Jan. 18, 2014 7:16 am
A very good essay from Cathy O'Neil: On Being A Data Skeptic addressing many of the key topics in data science, such as hard to measure metrics, choosing proxies, equating numbers with behaviours, perverse incentives, unintended consequences, modelling, gaming and the importance of framing questions. Framing the question well is...the hardest part about being a good data scientist. ...  Read More
Jan. 6, 2014 11:11 am
An interesting analysis of development candidate proposals at AstraZeneca. This looks at smart loading of the development cycle in order to reduce late-stage attrition. By front loading the development life cycle with 14-day repeated dose toxicity studies and supplementary cardiovascular studies we can expect to see a halving of subsequent attrition rates on safety grounds. Front loading...  Read More
Dec. 30, 2013 7:03 am
Thanks to Scientific Radicals for this perspective on Uri Bram 's chapter on Selection Bias in his excellent book Thinking Statistically . The Feedback Effect: Data based on feedback systems subject to selection bias are usually wrong. Selection Bias: Data where the method of collecting the data is the dominant feature of the data. Bosses often have ideas about their organization...  Read More
Dec. 18, 2013 12:11 pm
A flawed, but interesting, analysis of the survival time of chocolates in a UK hospital published recently in the British Medical Journal. Findings From our observational study, chocolate survival in a hospital ward was relatively short, and was modelled well by an exponential decay model. Roses chocolates were preferentially consumed to Quality Street chocolates in a ward setting....  Read More
Dec. 16, 2013 10:59 am
This week marks the 20th anniversary of the passing of Dr W. Edwards Deming on 20 th December 1993. Obituary New York Times Obituary The Independent ASQ Obituary In 1986 I read his book “Out of the Crisis” from cover to cover. I was an instant convert. All work is a process . All processes are subject to variability. Understanding that variability is the key. I...  Read More
Dec. 8, 2013 2:32 pm
Early Bird View: In pharmaceutical development, the termination of a potential drug candidate, with expected returns of, say, US$ 1bn per annum represents a significant loss to the organization. As a result, R&D teams and R&D management are often reluctant to terminate scientific projects. This gives rise to a bias in favour of continued development – the progression-seeking bias....  Read More
Dec. 2, 2013 10:17 am
The M25 Effect is the observation that reducing R&D development speed can give rise to an increase in R&D throughput. It is named after London's famous orbital motorway - the M25 - where reducing speed limits led to an increase in traffic throughput. The M25 Effect is a corollary of the Development Speed Paradox.  Read More
Nov. 26, 2013 9:45 am
I know some of you have seen this before but for those who missed it this is your opportunity to benchmark your organization against the world's most dysfunctional corporation - Scientific Radicals A member of your staff comes to you with a fully functional, working prototype of an Invisibility Cloak. What would be the response of people in your department? Marketing Pointed out that...  Read More
Nov. 20, 2013 9:19 am
Did unthinking attempts to minimize cycle time in R&D in the 1990s precipitate the current pharmaceutical R&D productivity crisis? The Development Speed Paradox: Pharmaceutical R&D Productivity from Dennis Lendrem For those on a tight schedule, the answer is "Yes". Minimizing the cycle time of successful molecules sub-optimized the R&D process, increasing R&D...  Read More
Nov. 18, 2013 10:31 am
An interesting angle on publication bias - the tendency for statistically significant results to be over-represented in the literature. Publication Bias Has this subject been done to death? I don't think so.  Read More
Nov. 5, 2013 12:02 pm
Confirmation bias describes the tendency for people to favor information that confirms their beliefs. I've spent more than 30 years working with scientists. During that time I've been given full and unrestricted access to their data - warts and all. And at times I've been taken aback at the breathtaking audacity of scientists in ignoring data that do not confirm their beliefs. On one...  Read More
Oct. 1, 2013 10:18 am
Although the finding that most forecasts are poor is not surprising...the magnitude and extent of the error in forecasting is troubling. Cha M, Rifai B, Sarraf P. 2013 Interesting Factoids: 65% of forecasts overestimate sales. 20% overestimate sales by >160% The size of the overestimate decreases post-launch: but they are still overestimated by around 40%. Reference:...  Read More
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