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September 29, 2011
Ah, Remember Those Days? How Will We Remember These?
If you want to know what it was like during the height of the genomics frenzy, here's a quote for you, from an old Adam Feuerstein post. Return with me to the year 2000:
During his presentation Wednesday, Mark Levin, the very enthusiastic CEO of Millennium Pharmaceuticals (MLNM), remarked that his company's gene-to-patient technology would turbo-charge drug-development productivity to levels never before seen in the industry. Just how productive? Well, he predicted that by 2005, Millennium would be pushing one or two new drugs every year onto the market, while keeping the pipeline brimming with at least five experimental drugs entering human clinical trials every year.
Note that I'm not trying to make fun of Millennium, or of Mark Levin (still helping to found new companies at Third Rock Ventures). A lot of people were talking the same way back then - although, to be sure, Feuerstein notes that many people in the audience had trouble believing this one, too. But there's no doubt that a wild kind of optimism was in the air then. (Here's another Levin interview from that era).
That's as opposed to the wild kind of pessimism that's in the air these days. Here's hoping that it turns out to be as strange, in retrospect, as this earlier craziness. And yes, I know that the current reasons for pessimism are, in fact, rather bonier and more resilient than the glowing clouds of the genomics era were. But it's still possible to overdo it. Right?
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