Celebrating 30 years of BioWorld

BioWorld™ has built an enduring relationship with everyone in the drug development and medical technology sectors. As we celebrate our 30th anniversary, we reflect on how the publication has changed over the years to accommodate shifts in media consumption and industry needs.


BioWorld has built an enduring relationship with everyone in the drug development and medical technology sectors. Like most long-term relationships, trust is the cement that secures this foundation. Trust that the news we deliver will be accurate, timely and informative. Trust that we’ll cut through the clutter to make you aware of the most important stories every day (or every hour if necessary!). Above all, that we’ll get the information straight from the source and add perspective – minus bias.

As the news industry continues to endure a tumultuous transition due to the rise of social media, self-proclaimed born-on-the web news outlets, popup newsletters and “free” content, specialty publishing – targeted news for specific markets or industries – is more important than ever.

This year we’re celebrating three decades of tracking the development of innovative human therapeutics.


What a long, strange trip it’s been

I relate this to a famous Grateful Dead song, “Truckin’”:

Sometimes the light’s all shinin’ on me
Other times, I can barely see
Lately, it occurs to me
What a long, strange trip it’s been

Since the first biotech drug – Genentech Inc.’s genetically engineered human insulin product Humulin – gained approval in 1982, the industry’s impact on human health keeps on truckin’. Sometimes the light is shining with phenomenal news of scientific breakthroughs, clinical successes and deep-stakes deals. Other times the road ahead hasn’t been so illuminated, yet we truck through despite the potholes from failed experiments, regulatory challenges and collaborations that end in divorce. But the people and companies developing critical new medicines keep driving forward. Thankfully.

During the year BioWorld was launched, 1990, scientists set out to map the human genome. A 4-year-old girl with an immune disorder received the first experimental gene therapy treatment. The first transgenic cow was created to produce human milk proteins for infant formula. And the first field test of a genetically modified vertebrate was conducted, on a trout. Strange to some but groundbreaking for the industry.

And BioWorld has been there, covering it all, first published as a magazine by David Bunnell and Cynthia Robbins-Roth (a former scientist from Genentech). Bunnell was a pioneer of the personal computing industry who founded some of the most successful computer magazines, including PC Magazine, PC World and Macworld. He had the idea that biotechnology would become a big thing ― and he was right!


The Bill Gates connection

Bunnell was working at Micro Instrumentation and Telemetry Systems (MITS) in Albuquerque, N.M., when the company made the first personal computer, the Altair 8800. One of his coworkers was Microsoft founder Bill Gates. The two became lifelong friends. This photo shows Gates demonstrating software on a PC for Bunnell.



Also in 1990, Gates become the single largest investor in fledgling ICOS Corp., of Seattle. “BioWorld visits the software boy wonder,” trumpeted a headline in BioWorld. ICOS, to become best known as Eli Lilly and Co.’s partner for the erectile-dysfunction drug Cialis (tadalafil), was bought in 2007 by Lilly.

The Microsoft chairman’s presence in the biopharmaceutical industry has only grown since. In 1994, Gates founded the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation (then known as the William H. Gates Foundation) to give back by enhancing health care in poverty-stricken areas of the world.


Remember curly fax paper?

Early on, BioWorld was converted from a print magazine to a faxed publication, called BioWorld Today™. Shortly after, BioWorld Financial Watch™ (a weekly look at financial trends) was launched along with a nascent data service that tracked the biopharmaceutical industry. BioWorld former owner, Thompson Media Group, acquired BioWorld in 1994. BioWorld dropped the faxed version (goodbye master fax blaster!) and converted to digital delivery. BioWorld was acquired by Thomson Reuters in 2013. In 2016 Thomson Reuters spun off the Intellectual Property and Science division, which emerged as an independent company now known as Clarivate.

Fast forward to 2019 when we relaunched on a brand-new platform which allowed us to make improvements, such as:

  • We know you need it fast … now we provide same-day delivery of news.
  • Scan all the news: BioWorld, BioWorld MedTech™ and BioWorld Asia™ consolidated on BioWorld.com.
  • New functionality that allows you to easily read on any device.
  • Fully digital presentation with improved functionality; as such, we dropped the old-fashioned PDFs.
  • BioWorld Insight™ analysis was integrated with daily news. Why wait?
  • More data visualization with interactive infographics allows you to quickly track trends.


Looking towards the future

All of this makes our latest achievement – realized in our 30th year – even more gratifying. BioWorld was named Best Daily publication for 2020 during the 41st Annual SIPAwards. In a competition judged by our peers in specialty publishing, BioWorld is now the recipient of 63 awards from the Specialized Information Publishers Association dating back to 1998, including 15 for our daily news services.

But we’re not resting on our laurels. The enhancements continue. If you need help navigating the immense volume of news every day, rely on BioWorld. It’ll help you stay competitive, build a smart business and aid in your mission to improve the human condition.

We’re looking forward to clocking another three decades. Stay tuned.


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