Life Science and the Rise of Biotech Enterprise
Publication Year: 2014
Published by: The Johns Hopkins University Press
Title Page, Copyright Page
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More than any other book I can imagine, this is the work of a lifetime in that I am drawing upon experiences since my teenage years, all specifically related to this work. I therefore owe debts to an unusually long series of people for enabling it. These include the biologists who took me into their laboratories and trained...
Introduction: Biology’s Day at the Races
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“ Gene jockeys”—as I learned as a biology graduate student at Stanford during the 1980s—were biologists working in the biotechnology firms that hired so many of my fellows at the time. Soon after, the term became the name of a lab computer program that found the correct position of DNA sequences. At a superficial...
1. Biology, Industry, and the Cold War
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The ecstatic man steps from his wheelchair, no longer wracked with disease and smiling against the backdrop of a mushroom cloud. A grateful woman sobs with relief when her doctor, pronouncing her cancer diagnosis, also hands her a radioactive bracelet—the painless cure cheaper than a restaurant dinner thanks...
2. The Insulin Trophy
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The first pharmaceutical that molecular biologists made was human insulin. It was always going to be insulin. From the perspective of life scientists in the middle 1970s, it is hard to imagine any other drug coming sooner into the medical marketplace through genetic engineering. This statement is not intended as...
3. Growing Pains: Commercial Strains on a Way of Life
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In the shelves full of books written about the biotechnology industry and its meteoric rise around 1980, tales of heroism abound. Exceptional qualities have been attributed to the biologists who first cloned human proteins to make new drugs possible: foresight and genius, brilliant entrepreneurial creativity, dedication...
4. The Interferon Derby: Markets in Credit, Tournaments of Value
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Insulin may have been the most famous protein in 1978, when Genentech claimed the laurels in the race to clone it, but the one most on the public’s lips that year was interferon. Discovered 20 years earlier as a mysterious hormone-like substance released by animal cells when attacked by viruses, interferon had...
5. Epo: The Making of the Biotech Blockbuster
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Throughout this book we have explored the active roles university biologists played, during the early days of biotech, in shaping a wider social environment favorable to commercial molecular genetics. In the last chapter we saw how they helped create an overheated investment market for shares in the small biotech...
6. tPA: The End of the Beginning
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Since the retreat of infectious diseases in the early twentieth century, people in developed countries began living long enough to die of something different— especially cancer and heart disease. In the United States around 1980, about a million people each year suffered a visit from heart disease’s main killer, that...
Conclusion. Science, Business, and Medicine in the First Age of Biotech
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As we have seen, the first age of biotech was fuelled by enormous, often unrealistic enthusiasm in both medical and business worlds, and also in politics. The overheated enterprise not only resulted in some excellent science but brought a number of useful new drugs to market, perhaps a few years quicker than they...
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Glossary of Technical Terms
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Page Count: 264
Illustrations: 12 line drawings
Publication Year: 2014