On Innovation

The afternoon sessions here at PGH really got me thinking about innovation. It’s a word you hear thrown around a lot in biotech – as well as many other areas of science and technology. Actually, it probably gets overused. But when you really think about the word’s true meaning, you realize that innovation is what is required to tackle global health. And that more than one type of innovation is required.

Many people would first think of the innovative scientists it takes to develop a drug or technology to address a neglected disease. I, for one, have always been truly wowed by their ability to think so creatively that they literally develop a scientific theory and/or product that is truly, completely new and different. Their hard work is certainly invaluable, but there are other types of much-needed innovation too. You see, taking on neglected disease in the developing world requires innovative partnerships among public and private organizations, innovative ways to fund the research, innovative delivery of treatments, innovative prevention of the diseases in the first place, and innovative ways for industry to develop products that the developing world can afford while still satisfying shareholders. That’s a lot of innovation. And, to me, it’s nothing short of inspiring.

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