iotech can be a breeding ground for jargon, coded language, and outright nonsense, as investors and scientists probe the depths of linguistic absurdity to explain why the thing they do is just that much more special than all the other things out there. We wanted to celebrate this proud tradition — and so, like a canny capitalist repurposing an old drug, we stole an idea.

Ambrose Bierce began “The Devil’s Dictionary” in the late 1800s, creating a satirical lexicon he updated weekly before wandering off to Mexico to die. We sought to replicate at least part of that story — hence, The Biotech Devil’s Dictionary. Entries appear semi-regularly in The Readout, our free daily biotech newsletter. (Shameless plug: Subscribe here!)

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  • Good piece. Another term. If you are in Pharma R&D you will quickly learn that all of your clinical trials are on the “critical path”. This statement is enough to infuse one with paranoid anxiety for 3-4 years, and if you don’t suffer a nervous breakdown before FDA Judgement Day you will be made to feel at the very least that you are single handedly responsible for each day’s delay in approval or its rejection.

    When my boss asked me for the probability of success of my clinical program I always pulled a number from the place where the sun don’t shine. It was always at least 90% or he would give it the thumbs down.

    Another 6.5 months of “clinically meaningful” existence could be important to those greedy grandchildren who make sure they squeeze every last nickel out of Grampy’s will.

  • And every biotech company is a “world leader” in whatever it does. How can they all be world leaders? It is like in Lake Wobegon, but worse. 🙂

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