Lessons from Intel Boss

Newsweek published an interview with the former CEO of Intel Corp Andrew S Grove. This interview was done before his speech in annual meeting of Scociety of Neurosciences. There he challenged big pharma companies, many of which haven't had an important new compound approved in ages, and academic researchers who are content with getting NIH grants and publishing research papers with little regard to whether their work leads to something that can alleviate disease, and asked them to change their ways.

In this publication-driven-research practice age, there are lot of missing links which retard the growth. Mr Grove observes the fact that, in the same time span when there were amazing discoveries in his area of semiconductors, the treatment of Parkinson’s (Grove suffers from Parkinson’s) moved from L-Dopa to L-dopa.

Grove questions, why the successful experiments in animal models hardly translate to human treatments.

Very insightful interview which gives different dimensions,

Newsweek : In what way does the semiconductor industry offer lessons to pharma?

Grove: ......... It [semiconductor industry] has done a bunch of unbelievable things [ in last 40 years of his involvement there], powering computers of increasing power and speed. But in the treatment of Parkinson's, we have gone from levodopa to levodopa. ALS [Lou Gehrig's disease] has no good treatment; Alzheimer's has none.

But again, Pharma & Semiconductor industry are completely different ballgames. Though one can draw some similarities between them, they have unique limitations and obstacles.

The things which worry me are

1. The low quality of translational research in academics where it is more publication driven.

2. Emphasis given to the ‘me-too’ drugs in industry R&D, than going in to the new lead (which involves more risks).

Read the complete interview here

Seeji, Pharm House

Related : High Output Management by Andrew Grove