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We're All in the Same Boat

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OK, ominous front-cover art this month. We know. But read the article. It’s apt. Can proteomics companies stay afloat? You’ll have to give them credit for trying. We give them credit for their forthrightness. There’s something about crisis mode that lets people drop the pretense. The seven proteomics CEOs who consented when asked to spend some time on the phone telling us how they’re faring in this miserable climate were disarmingly honest. How refreshing.

Then again, their sincerity makes the struggle all the more difficult to watch. We admit, when a company like … oh, why name names? … maintains its marketing spiel, denying any trouble right up to the end while we’re reporting otherwise, we can’t help but be a little smug when they succumb. But no one around here really wants to write the news when a guy like Ian Humphery- Smith — founding chair of the department of pharmaceutical proteomics at the University of Utrecht, a founder of the Australian Proteomics Analysis Facility, and a founder of HUPO — has to dissolve his company, as he did Glaucus Proteomics in October. (Could there be a lesson in here for public relations agents?)

As a proteomics tool provider, Glaucus isn’t in the target-finding category of proteomics companies we talked to for the cover story. But the touch-and-go nature of business is the same for any startup right now: Smith said that Glaucus “died quickly” when, with the ink wet on a $19.5 million financing round, the fourth investor, an institutional bank, pulled out at closing.

GenomeWeb is no stranger to the effects of the vagaries of business in a crummy economy. And we can’t help but be honest about it. The same way one of the companies in the cover story took on new hires after its first big deal, we were inspired by our run of 90-plus-page issues this year to bring on a new editor this month to help out with all the work (please welcome John S. MacNeil, and get a taste of his flair for capturing a personality on paper on p. 42) and now — well, you can feel the weight of this issue! We’re confident that we’ll be keeping John plenty busy in 2003, but if someone were putting the faces of all the “life sciences technology” magazine publishers into little portholes on a rocking boat asking “can they survive?” we won’t deny that our CEO’s mug would belong there.

 

The Scan

Support for Moderna Booster

An FDA advisory committee supports authorizing a booster for Moderna's SARS-CoV-2 vaccine, CNN reports.

Testing at UK Lab Suspended

SARS-CoV-2 testing at a UK lab has been suspended following a number of false negative results.

J&J CSO to Step Down

The Wall Street Journal reports that Paul Stoffels will be stepping down as chief scientific officer at Johnson & Johnson by the end of the year.

Science Papers Present Proteo-Genomic Map of Human Health, Brain Tumor Target, Tool to Infer CNVs

In Science this week: gene-protein-disease map, epigenomic and transcriptomic approach highlights potential therapeutic target for gliomas, and more