Monday, October 29, 2007

Ski Tech: Event Next Friday in Boston

Pascal Marmier of the Swiss Consulate e-mails with news of a cool event, coming up next Friday, November 9th. He says a few spots remain. The deets:

    Mingle with fellow skiers and snowboarders and learn about the latest in ski manufacturing, ski clothing, and safety on the slopes – all made in Switzerland. Plus, get a chance to win a pair of exclusive zai skis, a flight to Switzerland with Swiss Airlines, an 8-day Swiss Rail Pass, and Swiss Army knives! A wide array of typical Swiss foods and drinks will be served.

    WHEN: Friday, November 9, 2007, at 6:00 PM
    WHERE: Goethe-Institut, 170 Beacon Street, Boston, MA 02116
    ADMISSION: Free (RSVP required, though)

    6:00 PM – 6:30 PM

    6:30 PM – 6:35 PM
    Christoph von Arb, Consul General, Swissnex Boston

    6:35 – 7:45 PM
    Presentation + discussion
    · Zai Ski: Simon Jacomet, Founder and Chief Creative Officer of Zai, will present his innovative and stylish line of high-end skis. See the world’s first ski with a core of stone.
    · Nanotechnology for ski apparel: Rene Rossi from Empa – Materials Science and Technology will introduce the concept of body mapping used to improve body temperature control in athletic clothing.
    · Piste patrol, emergency rescue, avalanche control: Marc Ziegler from Swiss Ropeways, the association linking Switzerland’s 450 main cable car and ski lift operators, will present new training concepts to improve safety on the slopes.

    7:45 PM – 9:00 PM
    Reception and Raffle

To RSVP: E-mail Andreas Obrist at before Halloween.

Wish I could go, but I'll be out of town...

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Sunday, August 26, 2007

Today's Globe column: 'Why biotech CEOs need to think like Steve Jobs'

Today's Globe column deals with the importance of being able to sell a big vision in life sciences -- especially when a start-up is trying to pioneer a new area of science.

Among the CEOs I mention as "poster child" communicators are several alumni of Millennium Pharmaceuticals, including John Maraganore of Alnylam, Steve Holtzman of Infinity, and Alan Crane of Tempo Pharmaceuticals. Then you've got Christoph Westphal of Sirtris, and Josh Boger of Vertex. All these guys have elements of Steve Jobs' ability to communicate something ambitious and exciting -- something that is sorely missing among tech companies in New England right now.

The video clip features Alan Crane explaining how Tempo is using nanotechnology to engineer a new kind of cancer drug.

Finally, a few quotes that didn't make it into the edited piece....

“Someone who is a great storyteller can win people over with relatively little substance,” says Michael Gilman, formerly executive vice president of research at Biogen Idec. “But other people tend to be rubbed the wrong way by it.”

“The scientist in me is never going to make assertions that I don’t think I can back up with data,” says Gilman. “That’s just the way I’m wired. If you promise too much and disappoint, it’s not good for you in the long run.” Gilman founded Stromedix, Inc. of Cambridge in 2005, licensing a product that Biogen Idec had started to develop. It’ll begin trials later this year.

“Companies undergo a brutal and challenging transition when they’re forced to be evaluated on the merits of their products,” says Steven Dickman, CEO of the consultancy CBT Advisors. Dickman worked with Alnylam in its early days...

That transition hasn't quite happened yet for all of the companies I mention in the piece; while they've got drugs in clinical trials, none are yet on the market.

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