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Thursday, June 11, 2009

OHSU biotech breakthrough -- worthless to Portland

There is no guarantee that if a blockbuster drug materialized, it would be manufactured and marketed in the same place it was developed and tested.

Joseph Cortright, an economist who has studied biotechnology clusters, gave the example of a promising anti-leukemia compound developed at Oregon Health Sciences University in Portland, where Mr. Cortright is based. "The economic impact in the Portland area is zero because the rights to manufacture and market this drug were owned already by Novartis," Mr. Cortright said.

But the race continues.

The whole thing is here.

Comments (10)

Another quote from the article:

"Cities . . . are also gambling millions in taxpayer dollars on if-we-build-it-they-will-come research parks and wet laboratories . . ."

The word "gambling" is highlighted, and if you click on it you will be redirected to a page which discusses "pathological gambling." Clever commentary.

Personally, I think this trend of building larger and flashier biotech complexes is driven by penis envy.

Penis envy is right -- you notice how it's always guys like Sam and Randy leading the charge for this kind of thing? Rarely do you find women in power who suffer from this insane edifice complex.

I think "edifice complex" is actually more descriptive, and funny.

I don't see any women lobbying like mad bastards for budget-busting sports arenas either.

To clarify, I didn't mean penis envy in the Freudian sense but the more contemporary usage sometimes phrased "male penis envy."

I recall Vera had a bit of an edifice complex, so let's not get all sexist here.

You can usually count on Joe Cortright to tell it like it is. He's one of those rare dudes who has both incredible intelligence and yet very strong common sense.

And don't forget that although the facilities may be here, the research might actually profit thanks to someone else taking over. By the time I was laid off from Texas Instruments in 1991, the joke about the company was that we made a hell of a lot of money for other companies, as they took our neglected research and our abused employees and used them in a way TI never could. It's the same deal here: yeah, you'll see an awful lot of research at Portland facilities, but that's the extent of it. As soon as the researchers get a better offer to work elsewhere, you can bet they'll take advantage of a decent pay raise, even if it means moving to California.

It's already happened. They've gone to Florida.

"You can usually count on Joe Cortright to tell it like it is. He's one of those rare dudes who has both incredible intelligence and yet very strong common sense."

I agree. But the people who make the decisions don't seem to be listening to him.


This reminds me of that odd week when OHSU announced a (strings attached) 100 million dollar donation from Phil Knight. A week later they were back in the news saying "but we are still completely broke". Meanwhile, they work on things like genetically modified chimps(with the regional primate lab) they can patent and produce for use in clinical trials. "Life sciences"- should be renamed the "end of all life on the planet sciences".

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