A Biotech Fable – The Crows and the Pitcher

In the old days, the birds didn’t worry about the narrow neck of the jug because the water level was high enough to drink. Over the last few years though, private capital sources have contracted, the IPO window has narrowed and acquisitions have become long term income sources. The water has leaked out of the pitcher and the birds can no longer reach the water to drink. Feeling as though their hard work would die and cures wouldn’t reach patients, some of the birds tried unsuccessfully to knock the pitcher over. Others wrung their hands so much they had no energy left to try. Another group of birds began to drop pebbles into the jug one by one. The pebbles were all shapes and sizes, from shared employees to new corporate structures to corporate venture capital. In the end, the pebbles caused the water to rise high enough for the birds to drink again.


 Picture by Milo Winter

Inspired by Aesop’s fable of the Crow and the Pitcher

For the scientists wondering about the truth behind the fable, here’s a study of rooks, a type of crow, and their response to a similar problem.


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