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DBL%20Hendrix%20small.png College chemistry, 1983

Derek Lowe The 2002 Model

Dbl%20new%20portrait%20B%26W.png After 10 years of blogging. . .

Derek Lowe, an Arkansan by birth, got his BA from Hendrix College and his PhD in organic chemistry from Duke before spending time in Germany on a Humboldt Fellowship on his post-doc. He's worked for several major pharmaceutical companies since 1989 on drug discovery projects against schizophrenia, Alzheimer's, diabetes, osteoporosis and other diseases. To contact Derek email him directly: Twitter: Dereklowe

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June 14, 2004

Wipe Down

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Posted by Derek

Family activities prohibit much blogging tonight, but I wanted to bring up a couple of other issues about secrecy in the drug business. One effect of all the proprietary information running around inside our buildings is that it's rather unusual to have someone from a rival drug firm visit another one. If they do, then it's likely to be for a seminar or symposium, and they'll be confined to the public meeting areas of the site.

The only times you see any people from another company up in the lab areas are when some sort of research deal has been signed, or (more commonly!) when someone is slipping over to interview for a job. Those are certainly the only times I've ever seen the inside of another drug company, and quite right. I wouldn't let me upstairs, either.

It's not like I'm going to be snooping around, but it would be impossible not to see something revealing. There isn't going to be any sensitive information lying around in the cafeteria or the main conference rooms - there had better not be - but there's nothing but sensitive stuff all over the labs: notebooks, spectra, printouts, structures and reactions all over the blackboards and the sliding glass of the fume hoods.

All that can stay up if there's a high school group coming through on a tour. But two or three times in my career, I've been in labs where we had to sanitize the place ahead of scientifically adept outside visitors (a busload of miscellaneous academics, say) and it was a pain. It's odd to look through hood sashes that aren't full of blue and black heiroglyphics for once.

Comments (1) + TrackBacks (0) | Category: Life in the Drug Labs


1. Dawn B. on June 24, 2004 8:33 PM writes...

Boy do I hear that. My first company had regular wipedowns because we were constantly receiving visitors as we had several third party contracts and were looking for investors. We were encouraged not to write on our hoods in the first place and to keep all spectra/notebooks/etc. at our desks. Was very annoying when I wanted to spread out for some data analysis, only I couldn't because someone *might* walk by.


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