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Let’s Hear It For Biotech

Don Bauder’s recent article in the Reader is a one-sided, inaccurate depiction of biotech in San Diego and a number of legendary scientists who have been involved in breakthroughs in medicine (“Full Disclosure: Yeah, Sure,” “City Lights,” January 13). Mr. Bauder attempts to display the well-recognized risk in biotech drug development as unethical. Pharmaceutical development of drugs takes an average of 20 years and millions in investments. According to the Mayo Clinic, only 27.5 percent of drugs in phase three are successful. The risks of such drug development are well known and always transparent in financial filings. However, Mr. Bauder attempts to paint a picture that disgruntled investors are unaware of such risks. In addition, the article appears to defame some of the greatest scientific icons from San Diego, including Dr. Jonas Salk, Dr. Dennis Carlo, and Dr. Maurizio Zanetti.

A few facts that Mr. Bauder fails to mention. Dr. Salk developed the first effective polio vaccine. Dr. Carlo was a leader of Hybritech, San Diego’s first successful biotech company. Dr. Zanetti is an accomplished oncology professor at UCSD. Mr. Bauder fails to mention a fairly important fact that the investor action against Immune Response Corporation was led by Bill Lerach. According to the Wall Street Journal, March 7, 2009, “Once the undisputed king of class-action securities suits, Lerach was convicted of conspiracy and jailed last year for his role in a kickback scheme. Long suspected of filing suits to benefit himself rather than investors, Lerach had indeed been secretly bribing people to serve as lead plaintiffs. The support of these ‘plaintiffs’ was critical in convincing judges to authorize Lerach to represent millions of other investors he’d never met. This in turn gave him the leverage to beat settlements out of companies, often resulting in millions for Lerach and his firm, and pennies on the dollar for each of the actual investors.”

It would be helpful if Mr. Bauder did some objective research for his articles in order to achieve “full disclosure.” Yeah, sure, I guess the Union-Tribune got tired of such unbalanced journalism. By the way, Dr. Salk’s polio vaccine, although approved in other countries, took 51 years to get approved in the United States (the Sabin was used), but his research alone saved generations from a previously deadly disease.

How about some full disclosure, Mr. Bauder?

Name Withheld

Hit The Road, John

Re “Your Week and Welcome to It,” January 13. The description of “John and Juan: A History of the Golden State” of a “native Californian and a Mexican immigrant” gave me a chuckle, considering the only native Californians are the Mexicans. So who’s the immigrant? I know I am. I figure anybody named John is too. But thanks for letting me stay. John, however, you can kick out anytime.

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Courteous Radical

Allen Stanko wrote in his letter of January 13 about bicyclists riding “too far out in the lane.” Allen, you probably have never been doored, which is when an idiot opens a car door without looking. Being doored can result in a catastrophic injury. In addition, the streets of San Diego are in horrendous shape in certain areas. We have smaller wheels than you. Sometimes we have to avoid crumbling asphalt or broken glass that usually ends up where we ride. I personally have no problem passing bicycles; in fact, I’ve passed motorcycles, cars, and even Mack trucks in my Tercel. I would suggest if you cannot pass a bicycle, you should not be driving at all. I am a Critical Mass bike rider; however, I will be attending all future rides with a sign that says “Radical CMers Suck.” I try to ride with courtesy, but if you hit me with your car in an attempt to save a few seconds you will be sued, and I will spend every penny trying to bring you down. My life is worth more than your few seconds. Please just take a little time to pass us with courtesy and some concern for safety. That is all I ask.

Doren Garcia
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I Am Stardirt Jan. 27, 2011 @ 12:04 p.m.

Well said Doreen. What is about the phrase, "share the road," that drivers of autos do not understand. Maybe when gasoline is over five dollars a gallon and these automobile drivers are searching for alternative transportation and buy a bicycle or motorcycle they will understand the word empathy.


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