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November 9, 2007
I was reminded yesterday that today is the one-year anniversary of the day that we found out that the Wonder Drug Factory was being closed down. I remember that presentation rather well. I was one of the more optimistic ones, thinking until the last that we had about a 50/50 chance of the ax, but by the time the meeting began everyone had heard what was really coming.
Unpleasant, that was, and it did extend a cloud over the following holiday season. The job-searching period that followed wasn't anything I'm looking to relive, either, although my severance pay kept it from being anywhere near as bad as it could have been. And in the end, things worked out well. I thought they would, but as my wife pointed out to me at the time, I generally think that things will work out well, so that isn't as good an indicator as it might otherwise be.
But the whole thing was a useful reminder: no one's sitting back in a comfortable chair in this industry. You're riding a wild animal, instead. Working at a smaller company makes it easier to remember that, as many people here around the Boston/Cambridge area know, but there's no drug company so large or so profitable that it can make any guarantees to anyone. Patents expire, companies get taken over, drugs drop out of clinical trials or get pulled off the market.
But on the flip side, discoveries get made. Things make it through trials even though no one thought they might. New ideas get tried out, and given how little we know, just about anything has a chance of improving our lot in research. That's the thing about science: we don't have to be stuck where we are; we can invent doors and walk out of them into something new.
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