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The Antidote: Inside the World of New Pharma Hardcover – February 4, 2014

3.8 out of 5 stars 25 ratings

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Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

Werth, author and journalist, offers this sequel to The Billion-Dollar Molecule (1994), on the founding of the pharmaceutical company Vertex. Joshua Boger, founding scientist and president, along with a group of young scientists, set out in a garage to overtake the big drug companies. The author returns to Vertex to learn what it takes to succeed in science and business and sees that 22 years later and at about four times the anticipated cost, Vertex is now set to achieve Boger’s initial goals: “Make better drugs, faster. Create the 21st century biopharmaceutical company. Become Merck, only better.” Werth seeks to discover what Boger’s vision has become and considers if it is a road map toward “a new biological epoch.” We learn that “all progress in the pharmaceutical business is backbreaking, freighted with unknowns, and takes twice as long as you think it will.” Now Vertex has nearly 2,000 employees, and it is about to debut the company’s first drugs discovered and developed internally and commercialized under its own label. --Mary Whaley

Review

"A riveting mix of molecular science, big personalities—and big money." Source: Nature

“Barry Werth’s new book does for the world of biotech drug development what The Soul of a New Machine did for the dawn of the computer age. It presents an exciting narrative about the business of bringing new products to market.” Source: Boston Globe

“You can read The Antidote as a book about predicaments encountered by just about any company whose future depends on constant innovation. Yet, given Mr. Werth's welcome attention to personalities and circumstances—as well as to the recalcitrance of particular molecules and particular suffering bodies—you can also take the book at face value, as a story about what happened in one company in one fairly short period of time. ... The vividness and rich detail of "The Antidote" make it a gripping coming-of-age story for modern corporate and scientific times.” Source: The Wall Street Journal

“Werth's excellent writing takes the reader deep into the heart of Vertex and into the dilemma facing the biotech pioneers, and us all.” Source: Fortune

“Werth keeps a brisk pace, describing Vertex as the antidote to older pharma and Merck in particular. He infuses the book with drama, even managing to make a regulatory meeting seem exciting.” Source: The Economist

“The book is an in-depth look at a company in a daunting, high-stakes, highly regulated business in which science, commerce and politics intersect.” Source: Pittsburgh Tribune

“Werth very aptly captured the drama of the pharmaceutical industry … Werth was able to obtain extraordinary inside information on the workings of the pharmaceutical industry. He was able to capture the emotional and psychological state of the players, the day-to-day workings of the companies with failures and successes of research, as well as collaborations with other companies and acquisitions. … Succinct and understandable.” Source: New York Journal of Books

“[Werth’s] rendering of bright, quirky individuals and their determination to make Vertex sustainable will satisfy anyone seeking an exciting biotech business story. … A revealing, readable book.” Source: Kirkus Reviews

“Werth doesn’t shy away from technical details, and The Antidote has plenty of “inside baseball” for pharma industry cognosenti ... But although these nitty-gritty details are important and interesting, Werth uses them as the backdrop to ask a more broadly relevant and philosophical question: not just how to build a large drug company, but what to grow up to become? …. Sometime, somewhere, a future biopharma CEO will hopefully read The Antidote and be inspired to continue the quest.” Source: Pharmagellan.com

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3.8 out of 5 stars
3.8 out of 5
25 customer ratings
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Reviewed in the United States on February 5, 2014
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Top international reviews

Tim David
1.0 out of 5 stars Very difficult to read
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on March 16, 2014
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Stephen
2.0 out of 5 stars as the author makes a hundred pages out of something that could be written better in a chapter
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on December 24, 2014
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Mike Evans
5.0 out of 5 stars A clear insight into the struggle and cost of introducing ...
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on January 8, 2015
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Langlois Jean-Baptiste
4.0 out of 5 stars Le service a été excellent. Propre et rapide
Reviewed in France on December 5, 2014
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