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What Role (or Roles) Does Social Media Play in Your Career?  

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Dave Jensen
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August 1, 2019 3:39 pm  
Posted by: TFinn
Posted by: DX

 

I've spoken to several recruiters, but I don't think they are generally very skilled in speaking to the cross suitability of candidates from other areas of the communication world---it's likely just easier to keep people in the industries where they currently work.  

You're absolutely right about headhunters. We are not "career changers" . . .  If you've got a giant gap to close between where you are and where you want to be (a different category of job, ie. moving from Medical Affairs to Business Development) or a giant transition that wouldn't be considered on the same track, you're not going to get there via a recruiter contact. Recruiters will be working on assignments where they need you to take a job that is often a bigger, better job than the one you are in now -- but, it will be "logical" and in line with what you have done, and NOT what you want to do,

Dave

Dave Jensen, Founder and Moderator
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TFinn
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August 1, 2019 4:03 pm  
Posted by: DX

Ha ha TFinn, small world!  Yes ha ha maybe the same online  CME provider - if so you aware probably well aware of some fustrations your clients have had.   I did this about 3 years ago now so check the records to see if it’s your company.  But I’ve discussed this past  a few teams and some folks in other companies and many shared my experiences on getting metrics.  Well we question the impact of this specific provider on our impact map.  Aye aye won’t discuss further. 

On the European side where I am CME is a bit fragmented to say best certainly nowhere near where the US as one country is - different companies have different policies to how the support education via varied   CME outlets (including universities), my last company was quiet liberal where as my curent is quiet restricted - being in Global and being ex US one can find oneself explaining the merits of CME providers/channels - fear of lost of control of communication messages is one recurring issue for the misinformed teams. or those with poor KOL relationships, you do find Medical Directors in the Pharma with very poor relationship compencies amazingly enough c’est la vie. 

You can make a leap of course, your in a communications role I would say so leverage your strengths there. In the US CME can be part of a isolated/independent corporate function often linked to grants administration. Try there.  Or look for Medical Communications roles where at first Publications Management is not in scope for the job role and responsibilities as that has some technical intricate details that need to be learned if you were to progress there.  Or good old MSL route to get your customer facing box checked.  You are right recruiters in general are not very good in my experience with cross function or sector jumps. They are too focus finding a person with the exact same profile for the job.  Sooooo.....Try networking directly with those who are in the role you want.  

As you say you like where you are the n that good! Plenty of good things to be done on your side and certainly a nice spot to land for science careers.  And seriously enjoy it!  If you have no pressure to go and you’re developing - camp out for a bit.

DX

 

NB to the edit:  also for your career and you expertises , if if the biggest fails I have seen, if you come to Global or International is thinking US CME views and practices apply ex-US.  That goes for a lot of things US but don’t make that mistake - in my last company we had a new Global Med Ed function, got a US CME expert and well that person was a fail, couldn’t get thier US mindset modified.  They didn’t last long.  

 

 

 

Given the realities of where we both work, we can't really get into specifics. However, the complaints I've heard about our company are not at all in line with your experiences, so I'm not quite sure of your specific frustrations.  I will say, I've specifically dealt with supporters who are unhappy with something we've done, and we've always done our best to make it right. I'd love to know more as such information is always helpful moving forward.  Unless something is a complete disaster, I will not always hear about it.  One of things I like about my current job is that I get to specialize somewhat in the disease states in which I work---and it keeps me in the same general area as my PhD major (and sometimes even close to what my research was on).  

I'm definitely open to a few different ways in the door, though I don't want to work for an agency (my wife does this).  I'd rather stay where I am in that case.  To your point, there definitely are positions within CME departments in pharma, but I wonder if I'd be satisfied there.  I tend to think I'd get bored fairly quickly---and then you have pesky people like my colleagues and competitors looking for some of your time at meetings.  I like the content and science stuff---not many in the CME departments really know the science that well.  They're more interested in metrics, which can sometimes be pretty interesting, but most of the time (at the level I've seen then discussed) is pretty dull.  An MSL position would actually be a pretty good fit given that my current job role, among other things, requires me to develop relationships with KOLs. The objectives of my conversations and an MSL are different, but there are certainly some transferable skills.  It's really one of those things where I need one person to see what I see and be willing to give me a shot.  I've always been of the opinion that there is someone out there interesting in giving people a shot.  I just gotta find that person.   

 


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TFinn
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August 1, 2019 4:15 pm  
Posted by: Dave Jensen

f you've got a giant gap to close between where you are and where you want to be (a different category of job, ie. moving from Medical Affairs to Business Development) or a giant transition that wouldn't be considered on the same track, you're not going to get there via a recruiter contact. Recruiters will be working on assignments where they need you to take a job that is often a bigger, better job than the one you are in now -- but, it will be "logical" and in line with what you have done, and NOT what you want to do,

Dave

Hi Dave, 

Yes, I have found that out the hard way.  Linked In can be such a weird place.  I get people reaching out for Medical Director positions in Pharma that require an MD or regulatory writing positions.  It's clear that some people see a couple of random things in my profile, but don't actually read it.  Yes, I went to a university medical school for my graduate education, but my degree is a PhD, which is in my profile!  So you get those folks. 

Sometimes people will reach out with intriguing offers from other areas.  An in-house recruiter from Merck reached out to me and recently, a recruiter at a search firm approached me about an MSL position at a new(er) company.  They all seemed like interesting positions I would consider, but they didn't go anywhere.  I have the CME recruiters reaching out to me and like you mentioned above, many have VP positions for me.  I've never really been interested in "running the show" in CME. 

To your point, it may require more work on my part to get in the door somewhere.  At this point in time however, I'm not in a position to put in the extra effort. So right now, I'm happy to talk to people.  And honestly, having someone as a sounding board is helping me craft my story.  I'll see how things shake out over the next 1-2 yrs.   


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DX
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August 1, 2019 4:29 pm  

Ha ha yes if your’re in a pure content generating role with no business development responsibility and/or billable hour work life then enjoy it !

early in my career I was on the agency side , very short time and my wife worked in management consulting - we are both in Pharma and like where we are.  Yes we both get them folk looking for our time etc etc , nature of the business.  Many DO like the agency life, there can be good career paths and experiences.  Certainly we both benefitted. 

DX

 

 

 

 


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TFinn
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August 1, 2019 6:07 pm  
Posted by: DX

Ha ha yes if your’re in a pure content generating role with no business development responsibility and/or billable hour work life then enjoy it !

early in my career I was on the agency side , very short time and my wife worked in management consulting - we are both in Pharma and like where we are.  Yes we both get them folk looking for our time etc etc , nature of the business.  Many DO like the agency life, there can be good career paths and experiences.  Certainly we both benefitted. 

DX

 

 

 

 

My role is basically like an internal consultant.  I touch revenue and content, so I see a lot of the internals working in the TA in which I am involved.  Nothing wrong with agency work at all---these companies exist for a reason.  I just feel that more interesting work goes on inside of industry versus the companies that support it.  I've seen and done a lot in the time I've been on the vendor side and I have zero regrets.  But my goal isn't merely to move up just to get the title/recognition, but to try new things, if that makes sense.  Or at least, find an area that makes me want to move up.  But I've never been in a position in my career where I've ever wanted my boss's position. 

This post was modified 4 months ago by TFinn

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DX
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August 2, 2019 1:25 pm  
Posted by: TFinn
Posted by: DX

Ha ha yes if your’re in a pure content generating role with no business development responsibility and/or billable hour work life then enjoy it !

early in my career I was on the agency side , very short time and my wife worked in management consulting - we are both in Pharma and like where we are.  Yes we both get them folk looking for our time etc etc , nature of the business.  Many DO like the agency life, there can be good career paths and experiences.  Certainly we both benefitted. 

DX

 

 

 

 

My role is basically like an internal consultant.  I touch revenue and content, so I see a lot of the internals working in the TA in which I am involved.  Nothing wrong with agency work at all---these companies exist for a reason.  I just feel that more interesting work goes on inside of industry versus the companies that support it.  I've seen and done a lot in the time I've been on the vendor side and I have zero regrets.  But my goal isn't merely to move up just to get the title/recognition, but to try new things, if that makes sense.  Or at least, find an area that makes me want to move up.  But I've never been in a position in my career where I've ever wanted my boss's position. 

For me it’s been a combination of both.  Doing things find interesting and certainly moving up in title/responsibility.  I knew as an MSL that I had some interest in being on a Medical Director track, I was close, and still am, close to my first US Medical Director for the Therapeutic Area I was in.  Other forces put me Overseas and in “Global” -  in my careers track I had interest on the commercial side from a hands on perspective  and well got to do that as well / I am still very commercial and that works well to be a successful Med Aff person.

As for being internal yes agree I choose Pharma with an overarching goal of Learning and being part of the drug development process - and as that’s firmly a commercially driven process, being in a Pharma made sense.  I think I can check the box on that goal pretty well, sitting and leading a cross-functional brand team and being a part of development teams all working cross-functional - that cant be had on on agency side.  And yes I’m biased but being in Medical and Marketing gives that view nicely.  I thought about being in Pricing and Market Access as I do work hand in hand with that function but I’m happy supporting the from Medical ..all linked to the Brand plan and franchise direction right? 

I don’t want to go higher my boss is GMA Franchise Head, VP level, thank you but no thank you - I already sat on a Leadership Team where the CEO would show up, I’ll pass. I already deal with a lot of polictics ... yuck. I’m good where I am.  No further I will I go. Sit for 7 to 8 years - no harm. Start my own business in that time.  Nothing Pharma related. 

Dx


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MA
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August 3, 2019 7:56 pm  

I am an academic (associate professor) and I use Twitter extensively to promote the work of my lab, network, and learn about most recent work in my broad area of interest (Twitter + email alerts from journals and preprint servers are my two main sources of info, and Twitter is usually better). I also tend to try to spread the word (and compliment) work of others that looks interesting or exciting, and I have heard positive things about this approach from other scientists. In my experience, being positive and friendly on social media helps in attracting new connections, including potential collaborators.

I use LinkedIn to keep track of former students and colleagues but have heard from many academics that they don't find LinkedIn useful at all.

While IP does not feature as prominently in my work as in industry, I do try to be mindful of not disclosing any unpublished data (both my own and that presented or discussed by other scientists). I always think twice before posting something on Twitter to be sure it will not reflect negatively on me or my employer.

This post was modified 4 months ago by MA

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Dick Woodward
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August 3, 2019 8:12 pm  

MA -

Being positive and friendly on anything (not just social media) helps in attracting new connections and collaborators! That said, I find your use of Twitter quite interesting, and apparently it is paying off for you.

Have you (and your graduate students and postdocs, if you have any) had training from the institution as to what you can and cannot post on social media relative to intellectual property (inventions, unpublished ideas, results)? Obviously, anything published is OK, but has there been training on how to handle unpublished data? Coming from industry where IP is critical, and having brought several companies out of academic institutions, I have noticed that academia has a somewhat more cavalier attitude about IP. I am curious how your institution deals with that.

Dick


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Dave Jensen
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August 4, 2019 1:31 am  
Posted by: MA

I use LinkedIn to keep track of former students and colleagues but have heard from many academics that they don't find LinkedIn useful at all.

 

I mention in another thread how important LinkedIn is to professional recruitment companies. And yes -- headhunters are indeed retained by Universities to find senior staff, sometimes full professors but primarily leadership positions. There's reason enough to have a LinkedIn profile. You don't need to be updating it every month or do anything other than making sure you are visible there with your area of specialty. People will find you and you'll occasionally hear about something that could be of interest to you, a position that wasn't broadcast through your network but which is bubbling up due to retained search by a search firm,

Dave

Dave Jensen, Founder and Moderator
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MA
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September 2, 2019 6:43 pm  

Dick Woodward - sorry did not see your reply until today! That's a great question - I had some training in IP when I was a postdoc at an insitution that had close ties with industry and was quite "IP-oriented" but nothing at my current institution. I would say that personally I always think twice, if not thrice, before sharing something on social media. For example, I ask students if they are OK with me sharing their photos online, I remove any specific details from my postings that could be used to "scoop" someone etc.

I am not sure that people who serve in marketing and communications for universities are very knowledgeable about these issues either - there's probably some lack of communication (no pun intended) between Tech Transfer and PR departments. I definitely think our graduate students could use some training - I find that many IP considerations that I mention to them seem quite novel and eye-opening. That said, my students are very cautious in what they post on Twitter, they definitely keep very professional and low-key profiles.

There have also been some very interesting arguments about using SoMe (primarily Twitter) to discuss conference presentations (incl. unpublished data). Some conferences explicitly prohibit live-tweeting or taking photos while others encourage it. I do a lot of live-tweeting at conferences but try to be very cognizant of both written and unwritten (courtesy) rules. Again, I've had people comment (usually positively) on my live-tweeting so I hope it is not seen as obnoxious.

Just gave a talk at another university, and when the person who invited me was asked how we met, she said "online". Very true - and we have also served on some committees together, including those that involve communications and social media.

Dave Jensen - that's good to know about LinkedIn. So far I have made a point to connect to every trainee from my institution who asks for a connection, and to most industry invites (unless they look like a marketing ploy). I figure any connection I can help our trainees make via the platform is good.

This post was modified 3 months ago 2 times by MA

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Dick Woodward
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September 2, 2019 10:36 pm  

MA:

The reason that I am interested in the whole issue of social media and IP is that universities generally do a poor job of educating the faculty and students about disclosure issues and the like, and the abundance of social media platforms can only make it worse.

One of my first consulting clients was a start-up where all of the employees except the CEO and the VP of development had come straight out of academia. The CEO asked me to provide an orientation on the differences between industry and academics. When I got to the discussion of IP, I was met with a sea of blank faces - they were not even aware that a lab notebook, properly maintained, is a legal document.

At a university client, I was met with a professor who told me, in front of two IP attorneys, that it did not matter that he had presented a poster about his discovery prior to the patent filing since he "had given the product a code name." When I explained to him how a client might hire me (or someone like me) to invalidate his patent, he began to blanche. Turning to the attorneys for support, he saw them nodding their heads. End of discussion - and of project...

It seems to me that you are doing a good job educating the people in your lab as to IP issues - kudos to you for that. Might I suggest that you hold an annual discussion on the subject to educate the new arrivals and to remind the veteran students and post-docs of their responsibilities vis-a-vis IP? Ideally, it would be good if this was a department-wide thing.

I don't think that your live-tweeting from conferences is generally an issue. At big conferences (ACS, FASEB, ASBMB, etc.), anyone can attend, so once the data is presented, that would constitute public disclosure. At smaller, invitation-only events such as the Gordon Conferences, the discussions are supposed to be private, so this does not constitute public disclosure. (Disclaimer - I am not an IP attorney, nor do I play one on TV, so don't consider this to be legal advice.) Just be careful of what you are tweeting and exactly when it is tweeted.

Please note that most university seminars are not really private - pretty much anyone can wander in, sit down and listen - certainly that was the case where I got my PhD. Thus, it could be argued that anything said there would constitute public disclosure. I know this from personal experience - when my first employer was sued for patent infringement, I was dispatched to the plaintiff university to rummage through the stacks to hunt for evidence that the invention had been the subject of a public seminar prior to the patent filing (it wasn't, and we lost - so it goes).

A lot of academics feel that this is much ado about nothing (I think that would make a great play title) and most of the time they are probably correct. Most academic research, especially in the life sciences, does not lead to patentable inventions. However, the ones that do can be very profitable.

I will leave you with one last anecdote. My co-founder at one of my companies was a very eminent pediatric cardiologist (they don't give out endowed chairs at prestigious children's hospitals for attendance or spelling). He told me that one of the most common IP discussions that he had with students went like this:

Student: If I discover the cure for cancer (or whatever) I would not patent it.

MD: Why not?

Student: I would want the world to have it.

MD: Do you realize that if you do not patent it, it will cure no one?

Student: Huh? (look of bewilderment)

MD: If you cannot make money on it, no one will invest the billions of dollars that it will take to make it into a drug on a shelf in a pharmacy.

Student: I'm late for class....

 

 

MA - keep up the good work!

Dick

 

This post was modified 3 months ago by Dick Woodward

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Colleague 45751
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November 24, 2019 7:52 am  

There is a 12 month grace period before a publication becomes prior art and can be used against your pending patent application. Normally, it takes about 2-3 years to prosecute a patent application and takes about 1.5 years before you hear back from the USPTO or a PCT application. Thus, it always a sage idea to wait before publishing until you hear back from the your patent applications at the USPTO or other foreign patent offices. From a VC's perspective, we discourage (and don't fund ventures where the PI has published first) from publishing first when we are working on their patent applications. So, disclosing it on social media would be a big problem and a violation of most CDAs or NDAs. This only incites legal actions. 


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Colleague 45751
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November 24, 2019 8:06 am  
Posted by: Dick Woodward

MA:

The reason that I am interested in the whole issue of social media and IP is that universities generally do a poor job of educating the faculty and students about disclosure issues and the like, and the abundance of social media platforms can only make it worse.

One of my first consulting clients was a start-up where all of the employees except the CEO and the VP of development had come straight out of academia. The CEO asked me to provide an orientation on the differences between industry and academics. When I got to the discussion of IP, I was met with a sea of blank faces - they were not even aware that a lab notebook, properly maintained, is a legal document.

At a university client, I was met with a professor who told me, in front of two IP attorneys, that it did not matter that he had presented a poster about his discovery prior to the patent filing since he "had given the product a code name." When I explained to him how a client might hire me (or someone like me) to invalidate his patent, he began to blanche. Turning to the attorneys for support, he saw them nodding their heads. End of discussion - and of project...

It seems to me that you are doing a good job educating the people in your lab as to IP issues - kudos to you for that. Might I suggest that you hold an annual discussion on the subject to educate the new arrivals and to remind the veteran students and post-docs of their responsibilities vis-a-vis IP? Ideally, it would be good if this was a department-wide thing.

I don't think that your live-tweeting from conferences is generally an issue. At big conferences (ACS, FASEB, ASBMB, etc.), anyone can attend, so once the data is presented, that would constitute public disclosure. At smaller, invitation-only events such as the Gordon Conferences, the discussions are supposed to be private, so this does not constitute public disclosure. (Disclaimer - I am not an IP attorney, nor do I play one on TV, so don't consider this to be legal advice.) Just be careful of what you are tweeting and exactly when it is tweeted.

Please note that most university seminars are not really private - pretty much anyone can wander in, sit down and listen - certainly that was the case where I got my PhD. Thus, it could be argued that anything said there would constitute public disclosure. I know this from personal experience - when my first employer was sued for patent infringement, I was dispatched to the plaintiff university to rummage through the stacks to hunt for evidence that the invention had been the subject of a public seminar prior to the patent filing (it wasn't, and we lost - so it goes).

A lot of academics feel that this is much ado about nothing (I think that would make a great play title) and most of the time they are probably correct. Most academic research, especially in the life sciences, does not lead to patentable inventions. However, the ones that do can be very profitable.

I will leave you with one last anecdote. My co-founder at one of my companies was a very eminent pediatric cardiologist (they don't give out endowed chairs at prestigious children's hospitals for attendance or spelling). He told me that one of the most common IP discussions that he had with students went like this:

Student: If I discover the cure for cancer (or whatever) I would not patent it.

MD: Why not?

Student: I would want the world to have it.

MD: Do you realize that if you do not patent it, it will cure no one?

Student: Huh? (look of bewilderment)

MD: If you cannot make money on it, no one will invest the billions of dollars that it will take to make it into a drug on a shelf in a pharmacy.

Student: I'm late for class....

 

 

MA - keep up the good work!

Dick

 

Because of the stupid thinking of the medical student and future academic professor is why we don't have many jobs for PhD and new therapeutics. Why would a VC drop 1-10M in a technology created by this naïve fool? Glad he understands how the US economy works, idiot! Giving it away for free ( kumbaya crap) does NOT help anyone even the patients; get off your ivory perch, doctor! 

When I have a chance I will share a few stories about this obtuse and naïve thinking  by academics and business professionals trying to take advantage of the system.  


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DX
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Joined: 11 months ago
Posts: 598
November 25, 2019 2:10 pm  
Posted by: Dick Woodward

MA:

The reason that I am interested in the whole issue of social media and IP is that universities generally do a poor job of educating the faculty and students about disclosure issues and the like, and the abundance of social media platforms can only make it worse.

One of my first consulting clients was a start-up where all of the employees except the CEO and the VP of development had come straight out of academia. The CEO asked me to provide an orientation on the differences between industry and academics. When I got to the discussion of IP, I was met with a sea of blank faces - they were not even aware that a lab notebook, properly maintained, is a legal document.

At a university client, I was met with a professor who told me, in front of two IP attorneys, that it did not matter that he had presented a poster about his discovery prior to the patent filing since he "had given the product a code name." When I explained to him how a client might hire me (or someone like me) to invalidate his patent, he began to blanche. Turning to the attorneys for support, he saw them nodding their heads. End of discussion - and of project...

It seems to me that you are doing a good job educating the people in your lab as to IP issues - kudos to you for that. Might I suggest that you hold an annual discussion on the subject to educate the new arrivals and to remind the veteran students and post-docs of their responsibilities vis-a-vis IP? Ideally, it would be good if this was a department-wide thing.

I don't think that your live-tweeting from conferences is generally an issue. At big conferences (ACS, FASEB, ASBMB, etc.), anyone can attend, so once the data is presented, that would constitute public disclosure. At smaller, invitation-only events such as the Gordon Conferences, the discussions are supposed to be private, so this does not constitute public disclosure. (Disclaimer - I am not an IP attorney, nor do I play one on TV, so don't consider this to be legal advice.) Just be careful of what you are tweeting and exactly when it is tweeted.

Please note that most university seminars are not really private - pretty much anyone can wander in, sit down and listen - certainly that was the case where I got my PhD. Thus, it could be argued that anything said there would constitute public disclosure. I know this from personal experience - when my first employer was sued for patent infringement, I was dispatched to the plaintiff university to rummage through the stacks to hunt for evidence that the invention had been the subject of a public seminar prior to the patent filing (it wasn't, and we lost - so it goes).

A lot of academics feel that this is much ado about nothing (I think that would make a great play title) and most of the time they are probably correct. Most academic research, especially in the life sciences, does not lead to patentable inventions. However, the ones that do can be very profitable.

I will leave you with one last anecdote. My co-founder at one of my companies was a very eminent pediatric cardiologist (they don't give out endowed chairs at prestigious children's hospitals for attendance or spelling). He told me that one of the most common IP discussions that he had with students went like this:

Student: If I discover the cure for cancer (or whatever) I would not patent it.

MD: Why not?

Student: I would want the world to have it.

MD: Do you realize that if you do not patent it, it will cure no one?

Student: Huh? (look of bewilderment)

MD: If you cannot make money on it, no one will invest the billions of dollars that it will take to make it into a drug on a shelf in a pharmacy.

Student: I'm late for class....

 

 

MA - keep up the good work!

Dick

 

From a Pharmaceutical Company perspective, we do have a IP Lawyer who reviews all of our public disclosures of data to include scientific publications as well as corporate press-releases that do go over social media (i.e. new clinical data from a trial, or new pre-clinical data etc.).

For example he's part of the final draft approval team before submission to a journal . And so on.  He doesn't go into technical mumbo jumbo and rarely if all comments but he's doing his job to monitor. In other words he's not there to hinder but greases us along.   If one thing I've learned, (I'm no IP expert), anything and everything is nearly patentable in drug development, even down to a  drug administration protocol or non-pharmacologic therapy approach.    Sure, some of these actions are in the interest of market defense and growth,  and other instances, patent it anyways, even if value is not immediate, deal with it later.  

We did that with one item for example, patented it, didn't really see value commercially, but still patented it. And, well, pretty much disclosed to the public as we thought it could be of benefit to HCPs and patients (it's available on social media channels actually).    At least we took that decision, still hold the patent, but we had freedom do whatever, thereafter.  Better to be in that spot. 

So my learning, when in doubt, call the IP Lawyer, a lot beyond a molecule can be patented. And be attentive to discloses of data as others has noted.   We in Pharma do it, so probably at good thing for budding entrepreneurs to do as well.

DX

 

 


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