Org Prep Daily

June 23, 2011

Last post

Filed under: industry life, Uncategorized — milkshake @ 12:57 am

Today is my first day with a small privately held biotech company that is developing self-assembling polymers for targeted drug delivery. The group and the projects are awesome – and as much as I am excited about the research and the company, for obvious reasons I shouldn’t be writing about it. So there will be nothing new to add here. This is it – thank you for visiting!


  1. All the best!

    Comment by tuky tuky — June 23, 2011 @ 5:15 am

  2. Congratulations! I’m gonna miss your blog, but I wish you the best of luck in your new career.

    Comment by mike — June 23, 2011 @ 8:01 am

  3. You’ve been a great read for all these years. Enjoy your new position

    Comment by Kyle F — June 23, 2011 @ 10:17 am

  4. Congratulations on your new position and good luck!

    Comment by Curious Wavefunction — June 23, 2011 @ 10:56 am

  5. man, thats a shame. i will miss your posts and rich comment section. all the best

    Comment by fng — June 23, 2011 @ 8:20 pm

  6. Congrats! So happy you found something you like!

    I still thumb through the archives – great stuff and comments.

    May I ask what part of the country you are working in?

    Thanks for all these good years.

    Comment by Tom — June 23, 2011 @ 9:09 pm

  7. Congrats on the new job!

    Comment by Paul — June 23, 2011 @ 11:19 pm

  8. so long and thanks for all the blog – congratulations on acquiring gainful employment!

    Comment by dylan — June 24, 2011 @ 9:45 am

  9. Congrats!

    Comment by marto — June 24, 2011 @ 10:44 am

  10. There’s a rainbow in my heart; I am glad you found a position, yet very sad that we will not see any new posts. All the best, sincerely. HPCC

    Comment by HPCC — June 24, 2011 @ 11:51 am

  11. Best of luck!

    Comment by Okemist — June 24, 2011 @ 12:43 pm

  12. Best of luck for the future! Thanks for everything you’ve given to the community over the years!

    Comment by BRSM — June 24, 2011 @ 5:07 pm

  13. Thank you for all the well wishes, everyone. I found a good place to stay, bought a bed, attended the company’s detailed chemistry & biology presentation (we had a science advisory board meeting today) and I am starting work in the lab on Monday morning. Life is wonderful again.

    Comment by milkshake — June 24, 2011 @ 5:32 pm

  14. Glad to hear you found a new job. I will miss this blog though. All the best!

    Comment by josie — June 24, 2011 @ 6:27 pm

  15. While you may not be able to post specifics about the work you’re doing, I’m sure you’ll still be able to provide a nice insight into practical techniques and reagents/methodologies. I’ve really enjoyed your blog over the past year (and I’ve read all the old posts also) and I think it would be a shame to kill if off.

    Comment by Daniel — June 25, 2011 @ 7:01 am

    • I won’t have new procedures to share. In the past, when I was working on medchem-related projects in academia, the most sensitive information was the structure of final compounds and the biology data. The procedures for reagents and building blocks were not really secret. (And many procedures were actually old, accumulated over the years so by the time it got into Org Prep Daily the work was already published/patented or, more often, the projects got already terminated and we moved onto new series).

      I am new to the biopolymer field so I don’t even know what I would need to watch out for and I don’t want to get carried away in the comment section here while discussing a chemistry problem.
      I think it could get awkward: The founders spent years of their time and lots of their own cash on designing this stuff and optimizing the synthetic steps to make these elaborate polymer constructs in well-controlled manner. This detailed understanding of practical chemistry problems and the improved procedures for making the biopolymers is what distinguishes the company from other groups that are trying similar designs. The information on what we are currently using for this application might be too sensitive to share even if the methodology/building blocks themselves are well known from the literature.

      The easiest solution for me is not to write any new chemistry posts for awhile. Org Prep Daily will be still around and maybe I will resume writing about chemistry later on but I suspect that this pause will last few years.

      Comment by milkshake — June 25, 2011 @ 12:24 pm

  16. Milkshake, best of luck with your new job! By the way, have you considered chiming in at the most recent thread (Telling Everyone What It’s Like) on In the Pipeline? A bunch of a-holes have tried to hijack the discussion and blame America’s chemistry woes solely on cheap foreign labor, specifically H1-Bs. In my humble opinion, chemistry is being ruined by the collusion of those empowered in industry, academia, and government, which perpetuates an exploitative, unproductive, and socialogically detrimental system.

    Comment by AnotherChemist — June 26, 2011 @ 8:18 pm

    • I agree. But its not going to help arguing with angry folks who lost their job because they were good in their profession and got promoted for it – only to be replaced with someone cheaper now as the management does not give a damn about the research quality anymore. The chemists who struggle to support their families and are forced into progressively lousier jobs. They can see a Chinese guy working next hood more clearly than the combined reasons for the pharma industry decline. (I too got eventually replaced in my previous medchem job – I used to fight with the management over instances when people were intentionally left off patents and publications, so when the funding was running low the management realized that for my salary the institute could easily bring in two postdocs with a visa problem who will never talk back).

      When I came to US in 1993, I knew that this was the promised land for organic chemists. Where I grew up, the synthetic chemistry research was a weird and somewhat disreputable profession – and an impossible way to make a decent living in Eastern Europe. I think the system of generously funded academic research in US – one that feeds into big pharma and biotech startups – which had made US such a desirable place to do chemistry research, is now falling apart. I would expect that more foreign graduates will now consider returning back home or will look elsewhere if they cannot find a decent job in US. And I don’t think employers are too eager to process H1 visa for the job applicants these days; there is plenty of desperate applicants with green cards and citizenship to chose from.

      I think the academia needs to scale back. Government grant funding is now getting progressively harder to get so I suppose the academic research sector in US that imports and trains too many chemists will eventually readjust itself. And I suppose the word is getting around that synthetic chemists are about as employable these days as philosophy majors so this should bring down the number of chemistry graduates too.

      The pharma turnaround will take decades because the pharma business cycle is so slow and the current problems were decades in making – the foolishness of the pharma stockholders and the ignorance, irresponsibility and outright dishonesty of the business people in charge of these companies. Since there is nothing that we can do about the blight, about the turn to protein-based therapeutics and the ridiculous contract research outsourcing mania – which I think is the death rattle of the industry – a sensible thing would be to get out of the pharma-related synthesis field (i.e. medchem, process research and custom synthesis) and look for R&D jobs in any other technical field that is more stable and where experimental chemistry knowledge can have some value. Even if this means analyzing flavors for McCormick or developing adhesives for a glue company. Apart from nicer treatment and a job security, one may also get more job satisfaction that way – being able to see the product of research on the market within a year rather than in two decades. (And its not like you get much of a chance of curing cancer if you work on anti-cancer project in big pharma these days.)

      Comment by milkshake — June 26, 2011 @ 10:18 pm

  17. Hey Milkshake,

    Thanks for taking the time to inform and amuse us, over these last few years.

    Best of luck,

    Comment by agogmagog — June 27, 2011 @ 9:08 am

  18. Thanks, from a non-chemist who enjoyed your stuff even when I didn’t follow all of the details. If you decide to let the blog go permanently, please consider archiving it — some of your younger-days posts are priceless!

    Comment by Karl — June 27, 2011 @ 6:25 pm

  19. Hi Milkshake,
    Congrats on your job. I guess you should keep your blog open for younger chemists to post their problems/procedural issues/challenges. I am sure that would be lively discussion on this blog-space.

    Comment by sks — June 27, 2011 @ 10:57 pm

  20. congrats on your new position- it sounds very interesting

    Comment by partial agonist — June 28, 2011 @ 9:34 am

  21. Congratulations on your new job. I hope everything works out OK.

    Having some bio experience and a good chemistry background might be useful in the future – if not in drugs, maybe elsewhere.

    Comment by Hap — July 1, 2011 @ 10:22 pm

  22. Thanks for all the posts over the years, you’ll be missed.

    Comment by James — July 6, 2011 @ 7:03 pm

  23. Congratulations Milkshake! Nice to hear about someone passionate about research who left academia and landed on their feet!

    BTW, I agree that an archive of your posts, especially the synthetic ones, would be a great resource.

    Comment by bef — July 12, 2011 @ 6:53 pm

  24. Congrats man, I’m really happy for you. BTW, I cannot write anything for the same reasons. Have a good day.

    Comment by krest17krest17 — August 2, 2011 @ 5:59 am

    • I know – I noticed your employer update on LinkedIn. Congrats to you as well, on finding a job – and it looks like a good one and it is outside pharma.

      Comment by milkshake — August 2, 2011 @ 4:29 pm

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