How time flies. It seems like yesterday when, in a corner of my living room, I visualized a new publication for an emerging and promising area of the life sciences. This began the beginning of a wonderful and continuing adventure.
Genetic Engineering News (which quickly became known as GEN and has since evolved into Genetic Engineering & Biotechnology News) was the first publication in this nascent field that later became known as biotechnology, a word coined by Nelson Schneider of E.F. Hutton. It was an exciting time. Genentech’s public offering was spectacular, and venture capitalists were lining up to fund scientists who had an idea for a new company. As soon as we launched new journals, such as DNA, Hybridoma, and the Journal of Interferon Research, the editors-in-chief were asked to start up companies, a trend that continued for many years.
The definition of a “biotechnology company” was a bit confusing. Genentech defined itself as a pharmaceutical company and Eli Lilly defined itself as a biotechnology company. One thing was clear. Mary Ann Liebert, Inc., was a biotechnology publisher.
GEN’s mandate was absolute. GEN would be much more than a source of news for the biotechnology industry. We publish content that enables the biotechnology community to move forward; we identify new opportunities for global biotechnology initiatives. We foster new collaborations among the public and private sectors, academia, industry, and government.
GEN elucidates the new technologies and covers biotechnology from bench to bedside—from applied research through commercialization. That has been our mission from the get-go, and we do it very well.
We’ve been told that GEN has such impact that it can help move a company’s stock up.
We became so widely read, in fact, that the FBI called to warn me that we might have a reader we wouldn’t want: the Unabomber. I’m quite relieved that he will remain behind bars.