Thuy Nguyen _Speaker Report - Clive Cookson.docx


Dec 3, 2012 (4 years and 4 months ago)


Thuy Nguyen

AGI London 2011

Speaker: Clive Cookson, Financial Times of London, Science Editor

Clive Cookson
has been with the F
inancial Times of London

for over 20 years

where he has spent his entire professional career life working
in science
. He
has spent the last 19 years as
the F
inancial Times of London’s Science Editor

where he
is responsible

for stories focused on Biotechnology

Pharmaceuticals. His
background is in chemistry from Oxford University.

Clive ga
ve the AGI group an overview of how the FT has historically covered the
Biotechnology and Pharmaceuticals area. The key message was that news coverage is
ased on market interest. As a result, the FT team has been reduced in the last five
years. Five ye
ars ago, there were five individuals plus Clive covering the space. Now,
there is only two individuals plus Clive.

There has been a
significant lost of interest from
editors to cover this space.
shared a chart he created that showed
the number
of articles published on

in the FT and Wall Street Journal over a period of 15 years. The chart
demonstrated a significant drop from almost 500 articles in 1995 to a high of over 1000
articles in 2000 and then down to a low of a little more t
han 200 in 2010.

Typically topics with a more glamorous or controversial such as stem ce
lls continue to
receive a fair amount of coverage.

For example,
Neuron, a

United Kingdom’s listed
company has received some coverage lately because it has started
clinical trails of
neuro stemcells to treat stroke.

An area where Biotechnology companies have not taken full advantage of is using
media for their causes. It’s been very rare and difficult, as most media will only follow a
large story of high importanc
Unfortunately, the UK does not have the greatest opinion
of the press. There are many benefits for companies to use the media to push their
causes. For example it can help with recruitment, uncovering partnering opportunities
by building creditability
, and most importantly help with funding. If the Biotechnology’s
business name is not known, the chances a Venture Capitalists or Angel Investor would
gain interest to invest is minimal.

Pitching these stories is difficult but b
uilding strong working rel
will help these
be more
Although reporters are suppose to be unbiased, Clive
emphasized that if a relationship exists with a reporter, they will typically be more
understanding when writing up a failed or negative story suc
h as a phase three failure.

FT’s number one competitor is the Wall Street Journal in the United States.
To be more
petitive, the FT plans to leverage t
he increase popularity of soc
ial media to reach
their readers such as their popular podcasts creat
ed by Clive.

My question
to Clive was related to the
UK Golden Triangle dynamic and how he saw it
impacting the UK BioTech industry. His answer was very positive especially in his
thinking that it would be a major catalyst to elevate the UK BioTech indus
try forward.