Incest in the boardroom

SIGNALS Magazine is a good biotech trade “online magazine,” although it publishes new content relatively infrequently. But what do you expect for that paltry online revenue model? The articles I have worked through have been interesting (I particularly enjoyed the systems biology piece), but more than that, I was impressed with a little Flash application they did call “Power Brokers.” With it, you can see how insanely incestuous the biotech world is by looking at who is serving on which board. It’s a nice little data visualization app even without the interesting data. I don’t know how up-to-date their database is, but try this. Start with Paradigm Genetics. They’ve got heavy-hitter Leroy Hood on their board, but also the well-connected Terrance McGuire who sits on nine boards. If you open up two of these, deCODE Genetics and Inspire Pharmaceuticals, you’ll see that Andre Lamotte is common to both of those.

There’s even a nifty tool in this power viz app that lets you test out the six-degrees-of-separation concept. Choose two companies and see what the shortest path is to join them up by board members. It’s a small world, and some of these power brokers are very well-connected. For instance, if you’re raising money for a biotech venture, consider talking to Jean Deleage. He sits on what must be a record of 18 different boards.