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. 3, 2013 5:44 am
It has yet to be proven that intelligence has any long term survival value. - Arthur C Clarke I had a vision. I was transported sixteen million years into the future. Our brief moment in time has gone. Homo sapiens has been consigned to the fossil record. And some other unassuming candidate has risen through the ranks to become the dominant species on Earth. Claims that God...  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. 21, 2013 1:32 pm
New Scientist have published a neat, interactive graphic allowing you to map changes in the Earth's surface temperature where you live.  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. 12, 2013 9:01 am
Pardoxically, obese individuals with chronic health conditions often have better life-expectancies than individuals with a "healthier" weight. This is known as the BMI Paradox or the Obesity Paradox One reason for this is that those with high BMI may be able to compensate for deteriorating health status through increased healthcare spending. And BMI is a good predictor of healthcare...  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. 30, 2012 2:16 pm
Wisdom begins in wonder. Socrates Some stunning images of 2012 from the scientific journal Nature . He who can no longer pause to wonder and stand rapt in awe, is as good as dead; his eyes are closed. Albert Einstein  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
Dec. 21, 2012 12:22 pm
“I have not failed. I've just found 10,000 ways that won't work.” Thomas A Edison Fast-Fail is a strategy that seeks to clear the development pipeline of failing products as quickly as possible in order that resources be directed at more successful products. Implementation expert Iain Grant once asked me why I had to call it Fast-Fail . Good question. Of course, Fast-Fail...  Read More
Dec. 15, 2012 2:14 pm
Looking for a needle in a haystack? Torch the haystack. Richard Peck, Eli Lilly By quickly clearing the development pipeline of failing or marginal products, fast-fail strategies release resources to focus on more promising molecules. This week the first in a series of papers on the Quick-Kill model of drug development was published [1] . This model demonstrates that...  Read More
Dec. 13, 2012 3:19 pm
The Cochrane Library today published their latest review of the evidence . Bottom line? Industry sponsored studies are more likely to show results favouring the sponsor's product. Reference Industry sponsorship and research outcome Andreas Lundh, Sergio Sismondo, Joel Lexchin, Octavian A Busuioc, Lisa Bero Editorial Group: Cochrane Methodology Review Group Published Online: 12 DEC...  Read More
Dec. 11, 2012 3:48 pm
How do we capture the cycle time of a product development process when there is massive attrition at each stage? Attrition which means that most products never make it to market? One option is the funnel diagram. The funnel diagram is is a two dimensional graphic with time on the one axis and the number of molecules tested on the other axis. In this figure we see that as time progresses,...  Read More
Dec. 7, 2012 7:08 am
Parallelism is the process by which research and development activities are placed in parallel with each other in order to minimize the expected time to market for successful products. And when every month saved represents another month of patent-protected sales, the savings that arise from placing tasks in parallel are an alluring prospect. Unfortunately, for high risk processes - such as...  Read More
Nov. 27, 2012 3:52 pm
Goldacre, B. 2012 Bad Pharma Fourth Estate, London Everyone in the pharmaceutical industry should read this book. (If for no better reason than that everyone outside of the industry is reading this book.) The take home message for those outside the industry is that “drugs are tested by the people who manufacture them, in poorly designed trials, on hopelessly small numbers of weird,...  Read More
Nov. 21, 2012 1:33 pm
There are people who, instead of listening to what is being said to them, are already listening to what they are going to say themselves. Albert Guinon The opposite of talking isn't listening. The opposite of talking is waiting. Fran Lebowitz Bore, n.: A person who talks when you wish him to listen. Ambrose Bierce The title is an...  Read More
Nov. 9, 2012 12:55 pm
Accuracy is wildly over-rated: I don't care if it's inaccurate as long as it works. Norman Einstein, CEO Scientific Radicals In The Accuracy Paradox we learned that accuracy is not always helpful. And we learned that models can be very accurate without being especially useful. Similarly, screening tests can be very accurate without being especially useful. Here's an example. ...  Read More
Latest Ebooks