We have decided to summarize a list of niche blogs, mostly personal, run by the Life Science professionals - scientists, business leaders. Such blogs often provide personalized insights into certain areas of drug discovery, biotech, and business, which are not properly covered by the mainstream media, or covered in very general strokes. Reading blogs is a great way to explore nuances of the industry -- through the prism of personal opinions and experiences of the authors.
(Blogs are listed in alphabetical order).
Addgene blog is a niche resource focused on molecular biology, run by Dr. Jennifer Tsang, a Science Communicator at Addgen - a non-profit plasmid repository. The information available on the website describes methods of using plasmids, CRISPR, viral vectors, and fluorescent proteins, their pros and cons, and provides links to manufacturers. Video instructions are also available on the web-site, together with other materials that are useful in a biology lab.
Dr. Eric Vallabh Minikel initially was a city planner, but when in 2011 his wife was diagnosed with a genetic prion disease, he decided to retrain as a biologist. Eric started the CureFFI when he had no biology training at all, but currently, he works at the Broad Institute and holds a Ph.D. from Harvard Medical School. The blog is focused on molecular biology, genetics, genetic diseases, and possible approaches for its treatment (e.g. antisense oligonucleotides - ASO). Eric’s posts are detailed thoughts on the topics, supported by graphs, and links to a number of studies.
This blog is run by Dr. David Grainger, who is currently Chief Scientific Advisor at Medicxi. Drug Baron writes about healthcare, life sciences, and the R&D strategies in particular. For example, one of the recent posts discusses the new mechanism of cancer resistance and curing approach, which became a reason to found an oncology company, Divide & Conquer. Alongside the DrugBaron, David Grainger has more than 20 articles on Forbes.
This blog is run by Dr. Andreas Bender, Computational Toxicologist at AstraZeneca, and Principal Investigator for data-driven drug discovery at Cambridge University. Andreas is also a Co-founder at Healx, a computational drug discovery startup. In his blog, the author focuses on some of the domain-specific challenges and opportunities of applying artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning to research data in the field of drug discovery, which is quite different from more “trivial” cases, like, say, video processing, or consumer behavior prediction.
The blog is run by a professional chemist, and a drug discovery specialist - Dr. Dennis X. Hu. Drug Hunter is focusing on small molecule drug discovery as well as biologics. Published posts describe drug mechanisms or highlight new interesting compounds for drug design. Drug Hunter also gives insightful reviews about pharma and biotech markets and prepares informative annual reports summarising approvals of new drugs and year IPOs followed with infographics. Drug discovery scientists, medicinal chemists, and everyone who wants to get up-to-date information on drug discovery may be interested in reading this blog.
Enseqlopedia is a website that started in 2010 as a blog run by Dr. James Hadfield. Enseqlopedia focuses on NGS (New Generation Sequence) technology and tends to be an encyclopedia for it, holding information about papers, methods, applications, and technology providers; additionally considering advances and news in NGS.
In the pipeline / Sciencemag
“In the pipeline” is a popular blog that is run by a famous blogger - Dr. Derek Lowe. It enumerates 59 categories with 1-3 posts published every day and is the longest-running drug discovery blog since its start in 2002. Dr. Lowe discusses almost all important drug discovery news, including clinical trials and the pharmaceutical market.
Life Sci Vs is led by an early-stage venture capitalist, Dr. Bruce Booth. He writes about biotech VC, pharma industry, explaining the biotech business and investment models. Being a scientist and a successful venture investor, Dr. Booth provides important insights into various aspects of commercializing biotech breakthroughs and running biotech startups. Bruce Booth is also a Forbes contributor, actively covering various topics in the biotech industry.
The site was created by Dr. Tim Sandle in 2009 to discuss pharmaceutical microbiology and healthcare. The posts are published every day. There is a lot of interesting information regarding microbes, bacteria, and disinfection, laboratory techniques, vaccines, antibiotics, and more. Sometimes, Dr. Sandle creates videos, where he explains different topics, including the latest series related to the COVID_19 pandemic.
Dr. Robert Plenge has been blogging Plenge Gen since 2013. He is mainly focused on human genetics and its application to drug discovery. Robert analyses studies and gives his opinions on how to use it to improve the drug discovery process. He also discusses target validation, biomarkers, and precision medicine. Plenge has a clear vision that the success of drug discovery should be improved, in particular by better understanding the root cause of disease.
An author of this blog is Dr. Pat Walters, an expert in chemoinformatics with 20 years of experience in Vertex Pharmaceuticals, who is currently a Senior Vice President of Computation at Relay Therapeutics. His blog contains code-heavy chemoinformatics posts but still remains understandable and informative. Pat writes about computational drug discovery, including the application of AI/MI and discusses recent scientific papers (e.g. this one, followed by a series of discussions on the other dd blogs). For every paper he discusses, Pat provides additional computations, code, and visualization. The code for building and visualizing different tools is also available on the web-site and is reposted on GitHub.
This is a niche blog with a razor-sharp focus on fragments (small molecules with certain molecular and med chem parameters typically within the limits of a so-called “Rule of 3”). The blog is run by Dr. Daniel A. Erlanson, VP of Chemistry for Frontier Medicines, and is co-edited by Dr. Teddy Zartler, Director of Biopharmaceutical Services at SGS, and focuses on various new developments in the field of fragment-based drug discovery (FBDD).
Every Sunday Dr. Tirumalai Kamala, an immunologist, posts an article on her blog. She put questions on various aspects of immunology, preparing reviews based on scientific papers and reports. For example, in recent posts, she discusses the effectiveness of vaccines and the evolutionary sense of blood group antigens' existence. The most frequently occurring topics on TK Talk are vaccines, antibodies, cancer, microbiota, and viruses.