If you have an ACS member number, please enter it here so we can link this account to your membership. (optional)

ACS values your privacy. By submitting your information, you are gaining access to C&EN and subscribing to our weekly newsletter. We use the information you provide to make your reading experience better, and we will never sell your data to third party members.



Editorial: C&EN’s Year in Pharma marks another turbulent year

by Bibiana Campos Seijo
December 2, 2022 | A version of this story appeared in Volume 100, Issue 43


Credit: C&EN/Shutterstock

What a year 2022 has been. As I think about the past 11 months, trying, frustrating, and disruptive are some of the adjectives that immediately come to mind.

If 2020 was the year of pivot—when we had to change the way we live because of a pandemic that cost millions of lives—and 2021 was the year of resilience, how should we refer to 2022? “The year of despair” sounds a tad dramatic, but for me, 2022 was probably the hardest year of the past decade. A lot was seemingly back to normal, but everything we were back to doing was harder won—more effort, more worry. It has felt like walking through molasses.

But there are some silver linings. Although the pandemic is still ongoing, many of the restrictions have been eased, and the numbers of cases and deaths have dropped considerably. One of the articles in this issue discusses SARS-CoV-2 as well as other viruses, including mpox and polio, that were in the news this year (see page 34).

That story kicks off our Year in Pharma issue. As is now traditional, C&EN is dedicating the last two issues of the year to our roundup and analysis of the most important moments in the chemical sciences. This issue focuses on the pharmaceutical and biotechnology field. In the Year in Chemistry issue, publishing Dec. 19, we will cover the chemistry enterprise as a whole.

Contributing writer Alla Katsnelson chooses a less dramatic approach than me while reviewing what the year has been like for the biotech sector. On page 36 she terms it “a year of paradox,” a “bumpy” 12 months when stocks and initial public offerings were low but employment remained robust, and a strong slate of new medicines emerged that will help those who need them.

It was a year of perseverance for Ukrainian chemists. On page 38, Senior Editor Laura Howes tracks how the Russian invasion of Ukraine affected the chemistry enterprise. She reports that Ukrainian chemical firms paused projects as the war broke out and slowly restarted production while managing the termination of some contracts and the need to find alternative delivery routes for the compounds they manufactured.

For genetic therapies, it was a year of steady progress, according to Assistant Editor Shi En Kim, who reported the establishment of a number of important partnerships and the arrival of some technologies to the clinic (see page 46).

And those are just some examples of what you’ll find in this issue. Senior Correspondent Bethany Halford covers the implications of the Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization ruling on the use and availability of abortion drugs, Associate Editor Gina Vitale reviews key drugs that received US Food and Drug Administration approval in 2022, and more. We hope you enjoy our look back at the year for the pharma and biotech world. We are excited about what 2023 may bring for the sector.

In the meantime, you can help shape C&EN’s coverage in 2023 in various ways. We are soliciting nominations for the 2023 edition of C&EN’s Talented 12. If you know an outstanding early-career chemist who is working to solve a global challenge, submit a nomination at by Jan. 17.

We are also looking for writers and themes for our Opinion column. If you have a story you think is worthy of sharing with the scientific community, pitch it to us by emailing

See you here again on Dec. 19 for our last issue of 2022.

Views expressed on this page are those of the author and not necessarily those of ACS.


This article has been sent to the following recipient:

Chemistry matters. Join us to get the news you need.