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Jan 1, 2011 (Vol. 31, No. 1)

GEN's 30th Anniversary: Academia in Commercial Ventures

  • Editor's Note

    GEN turns 30 in 2011, and we invite you to join the celebration. We have a number of events and activities planned throughout the year, so be sure to look out for them.

    One special feature will appear regularly throughout 2011. We will reprint an article from one of GEN’s earlier issues because of its particular importance and relevance to the development of the biotech industry. The article will appear in the print issue of GEN as well as online. We encourage you to comment on the article on our website,, based on the topic, issues, and technologies discussed.

    One of the most notable articles to appear in the very first issue of GEN was entitled “Ptashne to Go Without Harvard U.” The story took place at an extremely early and critical stage in the evolution of the biotech industry. Two major points pop up in the article: 1) the initial reluctance by major universities and academic centers to become involved in commercial biotech activities, and 2) local community fears about having a genetic engineering laboratory in the neighborhood.

    Some of the questions you may want to respond to are: Do you think there are still people in academia who view the business of biotech negatively? If so, why? Can you provide some examples? In retrospect, do you believe the close community scrutiny that new biotech labs received 25–30 years ago while they were being built were justified or an over-reaction on the part of people who did not understand the technology?

    These are just a few suggestions that you might want to address in a comment to the article. There might be other issues raised by the article that you may want to discuss. Come on! Join the GEN 30 Celebration!

    P.S. Genetics Institute was bought by Wyeth (now Pfizer) in the late 1990s and is now part of that company’s research division.

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