For Blood and Money
ebook ∣ Billionaires, Biotech, and the Quest for a Blockbuster Drug
By Nathan Vardi
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A gripping business narrative and scientific thriller about what it takes to bring a wonder drug to market—and save countless lives.
For Blood and Money tells the little-known story of how an upstart biotechnology company created a one-in-a-million cancer drug, and how members of the core team—denied their share of the profits—went and did it again. In this epic saga of money and science, veteran financial journalist Nathan Vardi explains how the invention of two of the biggest cancer drugs in history became (for their backers) two of the greatest Wall Street bets of all time.
In the multibillion-dollar business of biotech, where pharmaceutical companies, the government, hedge funds, and venture capitalists have spent billions on funding, experimentation, and treatments, a single molecule can stop cancer in its tracks—and make the people who find that rare molecule astonishingly rich. For Blood and Money follows a small team at a biotech start-up in California, who have found one of these rare molecules. Their compound, known as a BTK inhibitor, seems to work on a vicious type of leukemia. When patients start rising from their hospice beds, the team knows they're onto something big.
What follows is a story of genius, pathos, and drama, in which vivid characters navigate a world of corporate intrigue and ambiguous morality. Vardi's narrative immerses readers in the recent explosion of biotech start-ups. He describes the scientists, doctors, and investors who are risking everything to develop new, life-saving treatments, and introduces suffering patients for whom the stakes are life-or-death. A gripping nonfiction read, For Blood and Money illustrates why it's so hard to bring new drugs to market, explains why they are so expensive, and examines how profit-driven venture capitalists are shaping the future of medicine.