Maude Tessier, PhD, is assistant director of business development and strategic initiatives in the Technology and Innovation Development Office at Boston Children’s Hospital. Her role is to initiate, develop and realize alliances between Boston Children’s and industry partners. She tweets from @maude_tessier.)
I log on to the Web portal with excitement and set up my profile. I browse for potential matches, reading though all their interests to see if they match my own. I send out requests to meet face to face. I wait. Have I received favorable responses? Were my short email invite and profile enticing enough? Is my dance card getting full?
It’s not a dating website, but rather the prelude to a biotech business partnering conference. In my role as a leader of business development and marketing efforts at Boston Children’s Technology and Innovation Development Office, my objective is to quickly and effectively pitch our most promising work to industry contacts, in hopes of continuing conversations after the conference is over. Attending these conferences is a great way to “break the ice”—and it is key to my success in building relationships and developing partnerships and alliances with life sciences companies.
Like many, I have a Facebook page where I share funny travel stories and cute pictures of my cat with friends and family. But for a long time I didn’t understand how such a platform, and others like Twitter, could affect how business is conducted in the life science industry, and how it fit in my own professional life as a hospital technology licensing manager.
I didn’t get it until a tweet from my colleague and fellow blogger Keeley Wray (@Market_Spy) established a direct contact with a regenerative medicine company potentially interested in a cell-based technology in my portfolio. I was surprised: so Twitter isn’t just for celebrities pushing their albums, movies and perfumes to millions of fans? Consequently, six months ago, I enthusiastically joined the Twitterverse (@maude_tessier) and haven’t looked back.
I’m not the only one recognizing the power of social media in the work that pharma, biotech and academic medical institutions do. Last week at the BioPharm America conference, a 90-minute interactive roundtable discussion emphasized the use of social media to help achieve business objectives.
The majority of the millions of plastic surgeries performed in the U.S. each year aren’t cosmetic procedures for Hollywood starlets or Beverly Hills housewives trying to hold on to their youthful looks. They’re reconstructive operations for patients with disfiguring injuries, tumor resections and congenital defects such as childhood hemangiomas, which can occur on the face.
A big challenge in reconstruction is compensating for the loss of a large volume of subcutaneous fat. Currently, there are three ways to do this, none of them ideal.
If you were a cancer patient receiving anti-angiogenic therapy, and you heard media reports that this treatment might make you worse and not better, what would you do? Recent peer-reviewed studies have indicated that inhibitors of vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF), the central factor controlling formation of new blood vessels, actually promote tumor invasiveness and increase metastasis in animal models – far from their intended effect of forcing the cancer into remission. Vector covered this surprising twist last fall. Understandably, as these findings got out, some patients called their physicians and asked to be taken off the drugs.
Knowing all this, I was eager to attend this week’s World Anti-Angiogenesis Summit, which promised a panel discussion addressing the controversy. It’s one that interests me, as I am the licensing manager for the Vascular Biology Program at Children’s Hospital Boston.