As more universities negotiate licensing agreements with biotech firms and big Pharma, unprecedented numbers of life scientists move between the Ivory Tower and industrial labs. Are the worlds of academia and industry colliding or meshing? How does the bottom line govern what science gets done?

Although answers will vary from company to company, say life science researchers based in private sector research, there are more similarities than some might think. Lee Rubin, senior vice president for research at Curis Inc. in Cambridge, Mass., a company based on regenerative medicine products and cell-based therapeutics, says that at least in the places where he's been, scientists and businesspeople get along and make decisions easily. "Granted it's hard for the marketing people to get a fix on a product's potential without knowing the exact protein or molecule, so there's some difficulty working in a state of incomplete knowledge. Business considerations are obviously...

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