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The Billion Dollar Molecule: One Company's Quest for the Perfect Drug Paperback – March 1, 1995
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From Publishers Weekly
Copyright 1995 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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Top Customer Reviews
Werth offers masterful descriptions of both the science and the intricacies of the busisess deals. The work is similar to that of Tracy Kidder in "The Soul of a New Machine" and, in my opinion, of the same quality.
At the center of the story is Vertex's founding visionary, Joshua Boger, formerly a researcher at Merck. He reasoned that instead of screening soil samples and insect secretions in a hot or miss approach in thousands of petri dishes, he could design drugs atom by atom to bind to - and thus inactivate - molecules instrumental to the disease process. In theory, these drugs would be without side effects: because of the precision of the design, they would adhere to their target alone, allowing beneficial enzymes of other chem reactions to go on unimpeded.
Boger's first target molecule was FKBP, which he believed was a crucial agent of the immune system. By blocking it, he hoped to prevent the host's body from rejecting transplanted organs. While Boger was out raising money (eventually reaching $60 million), Vertex's researchers hunkered down to isolate and analyze FKBP, whose molecular mechanic remained poorly understood.
Unfortunately, what happened is a great example of the difficulties in marrying business to cutting-edge science: after over two years of pushing themselves to the brink of nervous collapse, Vertex scientists found difficulties with FKBP.Read more ›
This non-fiction tale has enough twists and turns and drama to match any thriller on the market. An informative and engaging tale of a pharmaceutical start-up and the people involved. Joshua is interesting enough that the book could have been solely about him, but he isn't the only one. All of the players in this ego-driven mega-drama are interesting on many levels.
Who would I reccomend this book to? Anyone who likes a well-told story. A background in medicine is not needed, and neither is a knowledge of business practices. All you need to enjoy this book is a brain . . . and a night light because you'll be reading this book deep into the night.
I particularly enjoyed the background on the Boger-Schreiber collaboration and rivalry, and the ensuing rivalry in Vertex's own labs. Further, following the last few years of Vertex's ups and downs via the Internet has been thoroughly enjoyable.
Werth's style is easliy read, and his obvious unhindered access to Vertex and its people make the story enjoyable, suspenseful, and dramatic.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Chronicling the rise of Vertex, one of the first companies to dabble in rational drug design, the Billion Dollar Molecule follows the brilliant Josh Boger as he attempts to become... Read morePublished 1 month ago by Amazon Customer
A riveting, intense look at one of the most intriguing companies of the last 30 years. The insight into the early days of Vertex is as entertaining as it is informative.Published 1 month ago by Amazon Customer
An average only business biography. The premise of going back to a company that the author had written about a decade ago was fascinating. Read morePublished 2 months ago by dilletante david
I purchased this book when I was hired at Vertex. I realize the book is a bit dated now but it is extremely interesting to read about the beginnings of the company and talking to... Read morePublished 6 months ago by E. Britton
This book is interminable, fanboy writing. The jacket calls it "Barbarians at the Lab" or something like it. A less apt comparison, I cannot imagine. Read morePublished 10 months ago by Doo Dah Man