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Feel the Pain

By | January 13, 2006

With the conference winding down, you can clearly feel the change in emotion throughout the halls, lobby and conference rooms of the St. Frances. What was once a vibrant and high energy crowd is now a dwindling group of tired and emotionally drained individuals. To navigate through the H&Q conference successfully, one needs stamina, good shoes and a strong posture. Call it coincidence, but the majority of companies I met with on Thursday were in the CNS field. My conclusion: The majority of

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They Don't Call it Peerless Review

By | January 13, 2006

I received an Email advertising the new journal __Autophagy__ today. In a list of features about the journal, the Email adds: ?We also point out that we have an expedited review process if your paper was rejected from a ?flashy? journal; we all know that even solid papers do not always get accepted into the top general audience journals.? The policy is expanded on a bit in their linkurl:submission guidelines here;http://www.landesbioscience.com/journals/autophagy/guidelines.php?PHPSESSID=85d

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International Deals

By | January 12, 2006

My time has been spent in ?Europe.? In the last two days, I have been to Italy four times, London and France each twice and made brief stops in Germany and Switzerland. The series of meetings that I have had with European companies has caused me to come to the conclusion that companies in that region are undervalued, undermanaged, underappreciated and unhappy with the lack of availabe capital. The companies are therefore looking to gain additional investor support from US venture capitalists. At

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CSI: My Cat

By | January 11, 2006

Some acts of scientific creativity deserve recognition. After finding her dead cat, a Virginia woman named Marylin Christian had a number one suspect: her neighbor?s dog, a German Shepard mix named Lucky. According to the linkurl:Washington Post;http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2006/01/08/AR2006010801330_pf.html, the woman, armed with memories of TV crime shows, asked Lucky?s owners for samples of saliva and fur. They obliged. Her county vet concluded that Lucky?s fur matc

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Crystallography's Grail found in PNAS?

By | January 10, 2006

Researchers have, since 1988, been searching for a so-called "universal nucleant," that is, a material that will nucleate crystal formation, much as a grain of sand nucleates the formation of a pearl. Buried in the biophysics section of PNAS's January 6 Early Edition is linkurl:a somewhat esoteric paper;http://www.pnas.org/cgi/content/abstract/0504860102v1 that may just end this search -- and open one of structural biology's most persistent bottlenecks, generating high-quality crysta

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Early Days

By | January 10, 2006

A beautiful day in San Francisco and although many of the meetings at this year's H&Q conference seemed to spill into the streets surrounding the St. Francis Hotel, with men in suits or casual attire mingling in groups of two and three on the sidewalks, the lobby and hallways of the Hotel are still packed full of industry executives looking to make things happen. That's right, my first impression of this year's conference, and perhaps indicative of what's to come in 2006: people want to do deal

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Nature got lucky, and so did I

By | January 10, 2006

I found out today that I got lucky. Human cloning has always received the lion's share of headlines, but I've always been more fascinated by the cloning of the lions ? animal cloning, in particular the quirky but earnest gang that would like to clone your pet for royal sums. So I might have felt vindicated by today's news ? which I reported on linkurl:here;https://www.the-scientist.com/news/display/22933/ ? that while Woo-Suk Hwang's claims on human cloning were based on fraud, his cloning of lin

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Shooting for the stars here on Earth

By | January 10, 2006

I was grateful for the linkurl:invitation;http://www.amnh.org/rose/specials/?src=p_h to witness the return to Earth of NASA?s Stardust mission broadcast live from the American Museum of Natural History this Sunday. While the notion of roaming the halls of a favorite childhood retreat at 5am is appealing, I?m even more enthralled by the possibilities of Stardust, an unmanned spacecraft which captured particles from the comet Wild 2 offering the possibility of a glimpse into the very birth of the

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Preparing for the H&Q

By | January 6, 2006

Every January, the movers and shakers of biotech come to the Westin St. Francis in San Francisco to see and be seen, exchange information and move money by funding companies and forming partnerships and other alliances. Thousands of bankers, analysts and company executives mix and mingle at JP Morgan's Annual Healthcare Conference (often still called the H&Q), setting the tone for the year in biotech. Those attending the invitation-only conference go to the company presentations and meet in hall

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An entirely appropriate stew of scientific vexation and mortification has accompanied revelations that the incredible Korean achievements in human embryonic cloning and stem cell research are exactly that: incredible. But midst the hand-wringing over failures of peer review--and justified alarm over the future of human embryo clones and stem cell research--an intriguing fact has been obscured. Woo Suk Hwang would still be a rock-star equivalent, and frustrated researchers would still be trying

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