12 March 2010

“The Hidden Pool” revisited

Last year, in response to a post by Teddy on whether there is a “hidden pool” of FBDD practitioners being trained in academia, guest blogger Derren Begley suggested that for the most part fragment-based approaches are restricted to industry: in universities “there are ‘puddles’ of FBDD here and there, but not what I would call a vast resource.” I think this statement was true at the time, but may now be changing. For example, Practical Fragments' last four posts have all covered papers that came out of academia.

There also seems to be an increasing trend of industrial scientists moving to academia, driven by factors ranging from the decreasing number of jobs in industry to the increased freedom in academia. These moves span the gamut, from world-class scientists leading entire departments to folks coming in as assistant professors, staff scientists, and research associates. But they are bringing their interest in fragments with them. In fact, of the last four blog posts mentioned, at least two involved people with current or former industry ties.

Finally, there seems to be increasing academic interest in fragments. I’ve given a couple talks in the past two months at Carnegie Mellon – University of Pittsburgh and St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, and Peter Kenny has spent the past year as an itinerant fragment evangelist at universities around the world. I know that St. Jude in particular is actively seeking someone with an interest in FBDD, and with resources comparable to what you would find in big-pharma, they make a pretty appealing destination.

What are you seeing? Is FBDD going ivory?

1 comment:

Fries With That? said...

Why is all this talent fleeing to academia? Is it because the time lines to drug development using fragment based technologies are too long, and investors are too impatient? How do fragment based timelines compare to traditional high throughput screening?