The Billion-Dollar Molecule: The Quest for the Perfect Drug

Front Cover
Simon and Schuster, Mar 1, 1995 - Business & Economics - 455 pages
2 Reviews
Join journalist Barry Werth as he pulls back the curtain on Vertex, a start-up pharmaceutical company, and witness firsthand the intense drama being played out in the pioneering and hugely profitable field of drug research. Founded by Joshua Boger, a dynamic Harvard- and Merck-trained scientific whiz kid, Vertex is dedicated to designing -- atom by atom -- both a new life-saving immunosuppressant drug, and a drug to combat the virus that causes AIDS.
You will be hooked from start to finish, as you go from the labs, where obsessive, fiercely competitive scientists struggle for a breakthrough, to Wall Street, where the wheeling and dealing takes on a life of its own, as Boger courts investors and finally decides to take Vertex public. Here is a fascinating no-holds-barred account of the business of science, which includes an updated epilogue about the most recent developments in the quest for a drug to cure AIDS.
 

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The billion-dollar molecule: one company's quest for the perfect drug

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Werth, a freelance writer on science and business issues, chronicles Joshua Boger's start-up of Vertex, a biotechnology company dedicated to the discovery of new drugs. Boger, a successful organic ... Read full review

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A nose dive into the thrilling world of scientific research, this book takes one on an exciting journey of a biotech start-up named Vertex Pharmaceuticals, and also an amazing history of money and science.
Led by Joshua Boger, the center of the company's story, Vertex takes on the biggest drug firms in the world in a race to create the next big immunosuppressant. Vertex deals with fearsome problems and competitors and takes risks and decisions not for the faint of heart, and keeps you glued to the story.
The book also takes the reader into the history of all drug research, through the 20th Century and beyond.It takes you straight into fast-paced million dollar labs, through legendary Harvard department corridors, and into the historical successes and failures of the most famous chemists of all time, right from Paul Ehrlich to modern whiz-kids.
The best part of the book is Barry Werth's inimitable style and penchant for narration. It gives an insight into the gritty details of drug approval, the fierce competition for credit and patents, and a world where money drives science. Although, those new to this kind of literature might feel at some points that they are being bombarded with information which they can't process at the speed of the plot.
If you start reading this book, you will learn a lot about how industrial research works and why. If you're someone who wants to know about what R&D is like and what is expected of those who intend to work in it, this book would give you a solid idea. Also, for history fans, this book is a gem. It will tell you about things that miss the modern history textbooks, a history which ran parallel to the one we know, creating a deep mark on the latter all the way.
 

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Copyright

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About the author (1995)

Barry Werth is an award-winning journalist whose articles have appeared in such publications as The New York Times, Washington Monthly, and GQ, where he is a writer-at-large. Currently at work on an expose about doctors and lawyers, he lives in Northampton, Massachusetts.

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