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It’s been an eventful year in the life sciences, from the struggles of IBM Watson, to China’s twin CRISPR surprise, to a flurry of IPOs, to catching a serial killer with the power of consumer genetics. And since we’re a wonky bunch over here at STAT, we’re continuing our annual tradition: Life sciences limericks to memorialize the year past. (For 2017’s offerings, click here.)

On solving crime

’Twas a frigid cold case, a chiller
Turned genealogical thriller,
When a DNA kit
And a relative’s spit
Singled out the Golden State Killer.


On scaling gene therapy

This shakes the gene therapy sector:
How best to fabricate a vector?
Gobs of adenovirus
Are oh-so-desirous,
But cost and scale loom as a specter.

On CRISPR babies

The world gasped, awed and reeling in shock
At He Jiankui’s new kids on the block.
“Did you hear?” we whispered,
“Those babies were CRISPRed!”
The ethics lapse made scientists balk.

On sexism

A post-BIO bash turned a bit crude:
Dancers took to the stage nearly nude.
Folks were roundly aghast,
But the industry’s past
Bares a gender balance sorely skewed.


On record IPOs

That maven of biotech myst’ry,
Moderna, made IPO hist’ry.
$600 mil were raised,
Then the market got razed,
So investors are a bit jitt’ry.

On Vascepa

Amarin’s heart drug made of fish oil
May work wonders, yet caused some recoil.
The trial’s placebo arm
Could have caused patients harm.
Prescribe? Debate continues to roil.

On drug prices

CAR-Ts are swell but come with a curse:
They’re bedeviling to reimburse.
Next-gen drugs can ease pain
But are hard to sustain,
Leaving payors’ purses much the worse.

On artificial intelligence

“Can you fix my health?” I asked Watson.
That question, it said, is a hot one.
“Jeopardy was simple,
Like popping a pimple,
But illness is hard: I think not, son.

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