Are Biopharma reagent companies sitting on a pile of gold (or at least poptarts)?

All opinions are my own and do not necessarily reflect those of Novo Nordisk

The recent news about the United States Government monitoring a great deal of both general and specific electronic data has had one beneficial outcome (or at least, one I feel is beneficial):  it has made more people aware of what can actually be done with data, and also that we’re leaving massive amounts of personal data out there that can be traced to the behavior of individuals or organizations.  A few months ago, the Seattle Times published an article describing the explosion of big data and how that can be leveraged in so many ways.

This led me to speculate, in a very out-there kind of way, about what kinds of data Biopharma companies produce and whether there’s any hidden value in that.  Now, certainly companies are very careful about communicating information to the outside world.  Contracts with collaborators routinely contain embargo clauses, and presentations and posters are carefully vetted by legal and communications departments.  So companies would appear to be covered there.  But what kinds of data are out there that might be available, maybe not freely, but in potentia, to an interested audience?

Let me digress for a moment about mergers.  Biopharma over the last few years has seen a flurry of merger and acquisition activity.  The big pharma deals, like Pfizer/Wyeth, and Merck/Schering-Plough, have gotten big press, but there has also been a lot of consolidation among reagent suppliers.  To take one example, I’ve shamelessly taken Life Technologies’ merger history off of Wikipedia and condensed it into this table (after the jump): Continue reading