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Publisher's Summary

In 1989, the charismatic Joshua Boger left Merck, then America's most admired business, to found a drug company that would challenge industry giants and transform health care. Barry Werth described the company's tumultuous early days during the AIDS crisis in The Billion-Dollar Molecule, a celebrated classic of science and business journalism. Now he returns to tell a riveting story of Vertex's bold endurance and eventual success.

The $325-billion-a-year pharmaceutical business is America's toughest and one of its most profitable. It is riskier and more rigorous at just about every stage than any other business, from the towering biological uncertainties inherent in its mission to treat disease; to the 30-to-1 failure rate in bringing out a successful medicine even after a molecule clears all the hurdles to get to human testing; to the multibillion-dollar cost of ramping up a successful product; to operating in the world's most regulated industry, matched only by nuclear power.

Werth captures the full scope of Vertex's 25-year drive to deliver breakthrough medicines. At a time when America struggles to maintain its innovative edge, The Antidote is a powerful inside look at one of the most intriguing and important business stories of recent decades.

©2014 Barry Werth (P)2014 Tantor

Critic Reviews

"A revealing, readable book about 'some of competitive capitalism's most complicated science and most cutthroat marketing maneuvers.'" (Kirkus)

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For me this was not interesting

Sorry for the harsh commentary.... It's like someone compiled all of their stock market announcements into a book, flavored with some irrelevant details about the employees... I was hoping to hear some insights about the pharma market. The book started well.

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Creating Societal Value

Enjoyed listening to the inside stories about the challenges of creating life enhancing products for humanity. A+

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Development of elegant new medicine

The author brings us inside the finance and science of the development of an entirely new concept in medicine. Vertex looks at chronic illness at the mechanism and focuses on fixing the problem rather than the symptoms. This is the 21st century in health care.