Who Should Biotech Pros Follow on Twitter? An Update for 2013

8/19/13Follow @xconomy

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directly to the president of Cambridge, MA-based Epizyme on Twitter. He answered, if memory serves, within about 10 minutes. Cool.

@kevintoshio Kevin Chow handles business development for Bothell, WA-based Alder Biopharmaceuticals. He can’t say anything newsy about Alder, but he will occasionally share a little competitive intel, such as a tip to a journalist about Novartis and Roche potentially scrapping their PCSK9 drug development programs.

@biotechbythebay Geoff Benton, a scientist at 23andMe, rounds up news about biotech in the San Francisco Bay Area.

@rofrechette Roger Frechette, an entrepreneur in Boston, shared this item recently: “So, can you patent genes or can’t you?” along with a link to a well-written blog post by a biotech patent attorney. More on him later.

@michaelpellini The CEO of Cambridge, MA-based Foundation Medicine still seems to be getting the hang of blogging, because he’s more quotable in person than he is on Twitter. But he recently moaned about an editorial on ADHD in the Wall Street Journal that he didn’t care for. Pellini will surely go quiet for a while now that his company is angling to go public, but as a savvy operator, I expect him to find a way to keep his voice alive even if his lawyers try to muzzle him.

Venture Capitalists:

@bmgallagherjr Brian Gallagher is a partner at SR One in Boston. He has some intelligent things to say, although he has a mysterious allegiance to the Michigan Wolverines. (What can I say, I’m a Wisconsin Badger.)

@davidasteinberg David Steinberg is a partner at Puretech Ventures in Boston, easily the most Twitter-savvy biotech venture group from top to bottom. He recently challenged a post from Business Insider founder @hblodget.

@bernatolle Bernat Olle is part of the Puretech Ventures crew, and pays attention to the latest developments in the micobiome.

@venturevalkyrie Lisa Suennen of Psilos Group is one of the best VC bloggers out there, with a keen eye for what’s new in health IT. She’s also not afraid to call out gender bias she sees in the business world. For example, she chimed in to support @lindaavey with her view of the financing of Bustle, the women’s website. “ugh is right. Guys in charge, guys funding, guys clueless. #neverendingstory”

Physicians

@SeattleMamaDoc Wendy Sue Swanson is a pediatrician at Seattle Children’s Hospital who comes from a new generation of doctors that believes in using the tools of online media to better communicate with patients. She has interesting thoughts on this in a TEDx talk.

@drClaire Claire McCarthy is a pediatrician at Boston Children’s Hospital, and not surprisingly, she has some things in common with @SeattleMamaDoc. Here was a recent message she sent: “It really is amazing. RT @SeattleMamaDoc: “Jenny McCarthy continues tireless crusade to kill us”

@DrGreene Alan Greene is a pediatrician in Palo Alto, CA. What’s with pediatricians that makes them social media savvy?

@Doctor_V Bryan Vartabedian, is, you guessed it, another pediatrician. But he has wide-ranging things to say about medicine, such as, “Doctors r universally obsessed w/ what they can’t control online. This happens at the expense of what they can control: making gr8 content.”

@GlassHospital John Schumann, an internist at the University of Oklahoma School of Community Medicine in Tulsa, OK, calls himself a “medical hipster.” In a field full of egotists, a little self-deprecating humor goes a long way. I just started following him, but anybody who has a blog with a tagline that says “demystifying medicine one week at a time” is at least worth giving a chance.

@Kennylinafp Kenny Lin is a family doctor and the director of the Primary Care Health Policy Fellowship at Georgetown University School of Medicine in Washington D.C. He follows healthcare costs, and what’s happening in healthcare reform.

@drval Val Jones is the CEO of Better Health, a network of healthcare bloggers. She’s followed by Sally Church (@MaverickNY) so I figure it’s worth listening for a while to what Dr. Val says.

@daviesbj Benjamin Davies is a urologist at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine. He has strong opinions and a great sense of humor.

Scientists

@eperlste Ethan Perlstein is an independent scientist, and probably the first scientist I’d want to ask about anything to do with crowdfunding. He and I just had an interesting discussion last week on Twitter about a story I wrote about a new initiative called “Project Violet” at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center.

@leonidkruglyak Leonid Kruglyak is a geneticist at UCLA, and notes that in his bio that he was “analyzing large datasets since long before Big Data became cool.”

@ctitusbrown Titus Brown is a genomics professor at Michigan State University. He gleefully mocks academic pretensions, noting in his Twitter bio that he’s “so interdisciplinary I occasionally risk being relevant.”

@dereklowe Derek Lowe is a chemist who writes the must-read biotech and pharma industry blog “In the Pipeline.”

@phylogenomics Jonathan Eisen of UC Davis is a prolific writer on microbes, genomics and open science.

@drbachinsky David Bachinsky writes about biochemistry, genomics and other biotech issues from his post in Boston.

@kyleserikawa Kyle Serikawa is a Seattle-based scientist who knows a lot about baseball, and how to write about both. [Updated:6:15 am PT 8/19/13]

Journalists:

@benthefidler Ben Fidler is the new East Coast biotech writer for Xconomy.

@ScripMandy Mandy Jackson covers West Coast biotech for Scrip Intelligence

@BioPharmaJosh Josh Berlin is the head of emerging markets at Elsevier Business Intelligence and the publisher of PharmAsia News.

@vikasdandekar Vikas Dandekar, a reporter for PharmAsia News based in Mumbai, India, got a scoop this past week. It was on Roche’s decision to let biosimilar companies make copies of the hit breast cancer drug trastuzumab (Herceptin) in India, even though the drug is protected by a patent until 2019. The decision may be just symbolic (there is no biosimilar version of the drug approved in India), but it says something about the evolving state of the law and politics around pharmaceutical patents in the world’s second most-populated country.

@erika_check Erika Check Hayden covers biomedical news for Nature. She had an interesting Twitter exchange about journalism ethics with a scientist who is clearly confused about what journalism is all about. I learned something valuable—I won’t waste my time interviewing that scientist.

@theraltweet Theral Timpson runs the @mendelspod podcast.

@mmarchioneAP Marilynn Marchione is a medical writer for the Associated Press, and covers the big clinical trials that change the practice of medicine, and will impact patient care in the here and now.

@carlaKjohnson Carla Johnson writes about medical research and health policy for the AP out of Chicago.

@cardiobrief Larry Husten is a veteran medical writer focused on cardiology. He writes for Forbes.com and cardiobrief.org.

@lizszabo Liz Szabo writes about medical news for a big, general interest audience at USA Today.

@dslevine Danny Levine is the editor of The Burrill Report, based in San Francisco. He gets the business and financial side of the industry like few others.

@duncande David Ewing Duncan is an author and magazine journalist with a strong interest in genomics and personalized medicine.

@bmahersciwriter Brendan Maher is a writer and editor at Nature. It’s not exactly news that Nature is an influential publication, but Maher got a big hat tip recently from Amy Harmon, the New York Times’s excellent writer on genetics and society. Harmon said that she used a Nature feature on GMOs to educate her editors and convince them that one of her story ideas wasn’t crazy.

Stock Market Investors:

@AndyBiotech This anonymous financial industry pro has taken Twitter by storm, firing off all kinds of newsy and sharp analytical tweets in just a few months on the platform. “He’s become somewhat of a must-follow news aggregator,” says Brad Loncar, @bradloncar, an individual investor in biotech. Andy still has a ways to go as a news source, however, in my opinion. His profile says he’s got a PhD in physiology, and I have no reason to doubt it, but I also can’t verify it, because he won’t reveal his name or company affiliation (I asked). Come on, Andy, if you want people to see you as a credible source, you have to identify yourself and let everybody consider the source.

@ColfaxCapital ColfaxCapital is an investor in public biotech companies and a prolific Tweeter. I got into a minor argument on Twitter with him a while back when I criticized Array Biopharma for trying to bury its layoff news, and he defended the company.

@MartinShkreli There are a lot of people on Wall Street who … Next Page »

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  • http://www.mendelspod.com/ Theral

    I could recommend a host of others. But I’ll keep it to one since you haven’t listed a category for this: @davidbrin. Beyond the business, policy, science, media, etc., are the sci-fi writers. They do the heavy lifting.

  • http://www.xconomy.com/ Luke Timmerman

    Thanks, Theral. I need to carve out a little more time for sci-fi reading.

  • Amarshall

    You might also follow certain stuffy outdated journals @naturebiotech