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Journalist Barry Werth publishes a book about the formation and early-stage development of Vertex Pharmaceuticals. The book provides an intimate look at life inside a biotech startup. From 1989 to 1994, Vertex applied cutting-edge methods of ‘rational’ structure-based drug design in pursuit of a blockbuster pharmaceutical product – a billion dollar molecule. The company also published important scientific discoveries in Nature, inked a major R&D licensing deal with the Chugai Pharmaceutical Company, and made an initial public offering of stock. Werth was on hand to capture all of the dramatic action, delighting reviewers and catching off-guard any readers who came to the book with preconceived notions about scientific work being purely technical and bloodless.
The Billion Dollar Molecule follows the exploits of Vertex CEO Joshua Boger, his first lieutenant, Richard Aldrich, University of Pittsburgh transplantation specialist Thomas Starzl, Harvard chemist Stuart Schreiber, venture capitalist Kevin Kinsella, legendary East Coast financier Benno Schmidt, and a colorful crew of talented scientists hard at work in Vertex’s Cambridge, Massachusetts laboratories. So far, the book has introduced more than 60,000 readers to the exciting world of biotech entrepreneurs and technologists. Werth is currently working on a sequel that will cover the development of Incivek®, Vertex’s new antiviral cure for hepatitis C infection. Industry analysts expect Incivek® to become a multi-billion dollar molecule. The book is due to hit bookstore shelves in 2013.