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.
 
Jul. 3, 2013 2:15 am
Recently, I bumped into Anatol Rapoport’s Rules of Engagement again[1]. Re-express your opponent’s position so clearly, vividly, and fairly that your opponent says, “Thanks, I wish I’d put it so elegantly.” List any points of agreement – especially if they are not matters of general or widespread agreement. Specifically mention anything you learned from your opponent. Only then...  Read More
Jun. 20, 2013 8:17 am
I stumbled upon some definitions of virtuous and vicious cyles with examples. A virtuous circle: An employer's investment in his employees’ ability to provide superior service to customers can be seen as a virtuous circle. Effort spent in selecting and training employees and creating a corporate culture in which they are empowered can lead to increased employee satisfaction and employee...  Read More
Jun. 4, 2013 10:26 am
Twenty years ago Daniel Kahneman and Dan Lovallo observed: Decision makers have a strong tendency to consider problems as unique. They isolate the current choice from future opportunities and neglect the statistics of the past in evaluating current plans, Kahneman D, Lovallo D 1993 Timid Choices and Bold Forecasts, Management Science, 39(10),17-32 The result? Timid,...  Read More
May 27, 2013 5:31 am
If R&D costs were treated as assets then it is likely they would lead to the overstatement of those assets, the understatement of expenses, and hence the overstatement of income. R&D costs associated with failed projects - the majority of projects - might be smuggled in as assets to reduce expenses and inflate profits. Instead, they are treated according to Generally Accepted Accounting...  Read More
May 25, 2013 4:43 am
Never attribute to malice that which is adequately explained by stupidity. Hanlon's Razor On the one hand we have a group of people who believe pharmaceutical R&D is expensive and R&D costs are rising . Many of this group believe we are in the middle of a pharmaceutical innovation crisis. This group lobby for and support tax concessions that recognize this. On the other hand we...  Read More
May 16, 2013 7:14 am
In the real world, project managers are supposed to be good at making stuff happen. But how would they manage a project - like a family of five going on holiday, f rom London to Hong Kong? The budget is tight, say, £3,000. What happens if the project runs like the average real world project with average overrun, average delays and the usual constraints? Well if this project was...  Read More
May 13, 2013 2:37 am
More than 30% of software projects are cancelled before completion. And 90% of pharmaceutical products are cancelled before FDA submission. Many project teams in these industries have experience of project termination. Yet optimism in project teams is rife. Failure is not part of the team's vocabulary. And project teams find it hard to say goodbye to a project. The result is that many...  Read More
Apr. 25, 2013 1:17 am
Early Bird View: In drug development, the marginal development costs associated with a decision to continue development may seem trivial compared to the potential losses associated with a decision to terminate a potentially marketable molecule. For this reason project teams tend to continue with development even in the face of mounting evidence that drug development should be...  Read More
Apr. 22, 2013 12:10 pm
When George Price died in 1975, his funeral in London was attended by two leading evolutionary biologists - Bill Hamilton and John Maynard Smith – and five homeless men. All seven men had come to mourn an eccentric American genius who helped solve the riddle of how altruism could exist in a world driven by survival of the fittest. The natural world is full of examples of such altruistic...  Read More
Apr. 17, 2013 8:11 am
The PhD system is essential preparation for the life of disappointment and loneliness that is scientific research. Norman Einstein, CEO Scientific Radicals I have always believed that scientific research is another domain where a form of optimism is essential to success: I have yet to meet a successful scientist who lacks the ability to exaggerate the importance of what he...  Read More
Apr. 7, 2013 1:07 pm
The big problem with pharmaceutical development is that not many molecules make it to market. Of the tiny minority of molecules that make it through preclinical testing and into man, just 10% will make it to market. And the vast majority of these will not make it through clinical testing to submission. And even when submitted there is still a good chance the molecule will be rejected. ...  Read More
Apr. 2, 2013 2:03 pm
....then torch the haystack! More quotable quotes: Development speed intitiatives allowed the industry to become really slick at delivering late-stage failures to the market place. Lendrem DW, Lendrem BC 2013 Torching the Haystack, Drug Discovery Today,18,331-336 By quickly clearing the development pipeline of failing or marginal products, fast-fail strategies...  Read More
Apr. 1, 2013 12:03 pm
Failure is the mother of success. - Chinese Proverb Failure is a dirty word in pharmaceuticals. If the drug you are working on makes it to market then your name goes down in the annals of corporate history and your future is assured. And in the euphoria that follows a market launch, all the mistakes that got it there are lost. And if the drug you are working on goes down the...  Read More
Mar. 28, 2013 11:55 am
In Why Do Scientists Usually Get The Results They Expect? we looked at the very human tendency to look for data that support our current beliefs and the common failure to test those beliefs - the phenomenon known as confirmation or myside bias . Confirmation bias is the tendency for people to favour information that confirms their preconceptions or beliefs regardless of whether the...  Read More
Mar. 24, 2013 8:21 am
Is the observation that our inability to reconstruct past beliefs will inevitably cause us to underestimate the extent to which we are surprised by events. Hindsight Bias Take 1 We construct an experiment to identify the optimal settings for a process. When the results roll in we ask the scientist whether these settings seems sensible. "Yes, that is what I expected." ...  Read More
Mar. 18, 2013 10:28 am
The Quick-Kill model assumes drug discovery is a stochastic process. Stochastic models assume that for any given molecule there is a probability, p, that it is potentially marketable – safe, effective, meets an unmet clinical need, generating a commercial return on investment. The objective of pharmaceutical development is to advance such molecules as quickly as possible. The remaining...  Read More
Mar. 9, 2013 6:31 am
There is something fascinating about science. One gets such wholesale returns of conjecture out of such a trifling investment of fact. Mark Twain In " Why Do Scientists Usually Get The Answers They Expect ?" we learned of the dangers of Confirmation Bias . And in More Answers To "Why Do Scientists Usually Get The Results They Expect?" we discovered how scientists can be...  Read More
Mar. 5, 2013 9:52 am
In the Ikea Delusion we learned more about the Planning Fallacy: The tendency for people and organizations to underestimate how long they will take to complete a task even when they have experience of similar tasks overrunning. The Planning Effect: Kahneman D, Tversky A 2003 The building of the new Scottish Parliament is now considered a case study demonstration of the...  Read More
Feb. 24, 2013 3:28 am
The tendency for people and organizations to underestimate how long they will take to complete a task even when they have experience of similar tasks overrunning.`` The Planning Effect: Kahneman D, Tversky A 2003 The effect has been observed in a range of tasks including flat-pack furniture assembly. Hence The Ikea Delusion.  Read More
Feb. 17, 2013 1:05 pm
Q. How many personal injury lawyers does it take to change a light bulb? The web is a wonderful place. Where else would you find Einstein's Riddles rubbing shoulders with Lawyer Jokes ? A. How many can you afford?  Read More
Feb. 14, 2013 5:05 am
Increasing development speed to improve R&D throughput is a bit like increasing manufacturing output to solve quality problems in production. It's expensive and we end up making a helluva lot of crap. - Norman Einstein, CEO Scientific Radicals Sneak Preview These results demonstrate that placing development tasks in parallel to minimize the cycle time of successful molecules and...  Read More
Feb. 6, 2013 9:43 am
There are three basic rules to good science writing. Unfortunately, no one knows what they are. - W. Somerset Maugham The Max Perutz Science Writing Award encourages young scientists to make their research accessible to a wider audience. The competition is about promoting good science writing. And in exchange for 800 words the winner receives the prestigious Max Perutz Prize...  Read More
Feb. 5, 2013 9:53 am
So, here's the thing. You run a small service department with a large number of potential clients. You have limited resources. How do you go about building a credible support strategy? One model that seems to work well is the ‘slash and burn’ model of support development. It's a jungle out there. - Randy Newman According to this model the user community is likened to...  Read More
Feb. 2, 2013 5:55 am
“An ounce of action is worth a ton of theory.” – Friedrich Engels I used to run a workshop on "Kickstarting Faltering Projects". It was always very popular. It seems everyone has a project that isn't going to plan. A project team that seems lost. Or a project that simply hasn't got off the ground. And I was reminded that sometimes to get a project off the ground you have to...  Read More
Jan. 29, 2013 9:18 am
One way of increasing development speed is to shift R&D development tasks into parallel. This allows us to minimize cycle time. However, in Parallelism in R&D we observed that shifting tasks into parallel increases R&D costs and paradoxically reduces R&D productivity. Once we shift tasks into parallel we lose the option value - the value of retaining the option to terminate development and...  Read More
Jan. 27, 2013 2:59 am
Nothing fails like success. Gerald Nachman Selling change to "successful" organizations can be hard work. To bring about change people usually need to accept that there is a need for change. And that can be a hard sell when the organization appears to be doing well. The Wimbledon Effect describes a successful organization that resists the need to change until it is too late...  Read More
Jan. 18, 2013 11:29 am
One of my all-time favourite Norman Einstein quotes is his corollary to Cipolla's First Law of Stupidity . This states: 1. Always and inevitably everyone underestimates the number of stupid individuals in circulation. In the War on Stupidity, the stupid have a massively unfair numerical advantage. Norman Einstein, CEO Scientific Radicals Some have misinterpreted...  Read More
Jan. 16, 2013 10:15 am
The trouble with smart people is they overestimate the importance of intelligence and underestimate the power of stupidity. Norman Einstein, CEO Scientific Radicals I was reminded of this again when I stumbled on Carlo Cipolla 's Five Fundamental Laws of Stupidity . Always and inevitably everyone underestimates the number of stupid individuals in circulation. The...  Read More
Jan. 6, 2013 5:22 am
Festina lente. Make haste, slowly. In the late 80's and early 90's most pharmaceutical companies embraced the idea of "development speed". The idea was quite appealing. By minimizing time to market we were able to extend the patent-protected lifespan of a product generating significant additional revenues. The industry took a close look at their existing processes and found...  Read More
Dec. 25, 2012 9:01 am
Eighteen years old, enrolled at my first university, I decided it was about time that I knew my intelligence quotient (IQ). I borrowed a book from the sixth form library called Know Your Own IQ and completed the first test. I had an IQ of 86. Now, I'll be honest, I was slightly disappointed by this result. While I might not be a genius, 86 seemed a bit on the low side. I decided to test...  Read More
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