A reflection on the old and in with the new

There’s a facelift for ddn beginning in December, and some new directions for coverage going into 2013. With regard to that and more, the magazine’s chief editor, Amy Swinderman, walks you through some of the highlights of the past year and what’s in store for the future

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In one of my favorite films, Forrest Gump, Tom Hanks as the movie's namesake and main characterreflects, "Mama always said, 'There's an awful lot you can tell about a personby their shoes.' Where they're going. Where they've been." As 2012 winds to aclose, our dogs are barking. Heading into our ninth year of publication, we'realways humbled when we compare our beginnings as a simple newspaper to thelarge and diverse news organization we are today. It's been a long and busyyear for our editors and writers, as we brought you more content than everbefore across our many news vehicles: this monthly print publication, includingour expanded special reports and conference previews; our 24/7 website, ourbi-monthly e-newsletter, our blog and finally, our specialized websitededicated to oncology news coverage, ddnCancer Research News.
By the time you reach this column on page 10, you'll havenoticed some big changes to our print publication. We've given the ol' girl afacelift and a fresh look in anticipation of what we hope will be anothersuccessful year. We have some exciting coverage planned for 2013, but before Iintroduce you to some of our new endeavors, here's a look back at some of myfavorite stories from this year.
In our April issue, I had the great fortune of interviewingDr. Chiang J. Li, founder of Boston Biomedical Inc. (BBI), a privatebiotechnology company in Norwood, Mass., that was acquired in March by Japanesepharma Dainippon Sumitomo Pharma Co. Ltd. What followed from that interview wasthe cover story, "Pharma pink-slippers find pot of gold," a story every biotechhopes will someday be theirs: A small company is founded to advance a promisingnew R&D platform—in this case, clinical-stage product pipeline targetingcancer stem cells—weathers economic storms and uncertain R&D waters andfinally makes good when a large pharma with tons of resources swoops in with abig check and a solid chance to bring a new product to market. In this case, Liwas forced by economic pressures to temporarily lay off BBI's employees, but hehired them all back as soon as he could—and to ensure that no one lost a job,Li cut his own salary down to minimum wage. For his sacrifice, Li waseventually rewarded with a $2.6 billion acquisition offer—all because hedecided to take a risk, which he told me is "sometimes the best solution" tosuch challenges.
"From an executive's standpoint, I am excited because wehave created a world-leading portfolio that provides a new direction for cancerstem cell treatment. From a business manager's standpoint, I'm glad thingsworked out so that no one was out of a job. The moral to our story is that thisprovides an example of what can be done," he told me.
Later in the year, our senior editor, Kelsey Kaustinen,brought you an interesting story via our ddnCancer Research News website about bioengineering efforts at RMITUniversity in Australia that could make big waves in the cancer research arena.We report on countless research endeavors in oncology, but this one piqued ourinterest because the researchers have designed a peptide that mimics theproteins of the myxoma virus, allowing it to kill melanoma cells while leavingsurrounding healthy skin cells untouched. The researchers hope to create a skincream treatment containing this melanoma-killing peptide. This unique story isamong the many that Kaustinen writes exclusively for ddn Cancer Research News, and you can access this story and all ofour oncology-related news at www.ddncancer.com.
Finally, the summer of 2012 brought the return of our formerexecutive editor, Randall C. Willis, as our newly appointed features editor,and Willis kicked off his new position in August with "Regenerating interest instem cell medicine," an in-depth look at the stem cell technologies that showthe potential to replace organs and tissues, and an examination of how some ofthe initial hype for this potential has been toned down. Willis followed up ourseries on trends in stem cell research with a fascinating two-part series onthe latest buzz phrase in R&D: personalized medicine.
That brings me to an introduction to some of the topicsWillis will be covering next year for our Special Reports division. We'll kickoff the year with a look at how adjuvant advances, international interactionsand personalized preventions are transforming the world of vaccine research.For the past two years, we have examined trends in both cancer and stem cellresearch, and we'll revisit these topics in 2013. Other, new topics on tapinclude clinical trials, public and private partnerships in R&D andmedicinal chemistry.
We will also continue to provide you with useful marketintelligence via our Market Research division, for which we conduct quarterlyreader surveys with Mizuho Securities USA Inc., the U.S. investment-bankingsubsidiary of the Mizuho Financial Group in Tokyo. In this issue, we bring youthe results of our recent survey on companion diagnostics, and throughout nextyear, we will be assessing reader opinion on genomics, cancer, stem cellresearch and personalized medicine. Keep an eye out for our quarterlyinvitations to participate in these surveys. We value your opinion!
Finally, we welcome a new face to our growing staff: KevinE. Noonan, a biotechnology patent attorney and partner with the law firm ofMcDonnell Boehnen Hulbert & Berghoff LLP. Noonan, a former molecularbiologist who now represents pharmaceutical companies of all sizes on a myriad ofissues, is a frequent speaker and author on a variety of intellectual propertylaw topics, and starting next month, he will be lending his expertise to ddnvia a column that will appear in our Government Watch section. Noonan has beena great source to our editors and writers on matters related to patent law, andwe look forward to sharing his insights with you on a regular basis.
We hope you will join us for another great year, and we wish you a happyholiday season—and a pair of sturdy, shiny new shoes to give you solid footingfor it!


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