Summary of The Antidote

A Small Competitor Challenges the Drug Giants

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The Antidote book summary
Vertex Pharmaceuticals aims to change the world of Big Pharma.


7 Overall

7 Applicability

6 Innovation

8 Style


Even if you regularly take a prescription drug, you might not consider the money, time, research and effort that went into creating and marketing your daily pill. But rest assured, somebody worked quite hard to create it. Journalist Barry Werth’s second study of the plucky start-up Vertex Pharmaceuticals follows Vertex founder Joshua Boger and his team in their quest to develop groundbreaking drugs for hepatitis C and cystic fibrosis. The saga has a happy outcome, but Vertex bled billions of dollars along the way. Werth could have cut his page count by a quarter or a third and not lost the essence of his tale. And when Boger steps down as CEO – when the hero of the story leaves the stage – the drama suffers. Still, Werth presents gripping insights into the pharmaceutical industry and the tortuous path pioneering drugs take to get to market. getAbstract recommends this eye-opening saga to investors, entrepreneurs, start-ups, students of finance and anyone fascinated by the complexities of the high-stakes pharmaceutical market.

In this summary, you will learn

  • How Joshua Boger made Vertex Pharmaceuticals into a major drug company
  • How Vertex developed new drugs to treat hepatitis C and cystic fibrosis


From HIV to Hep C
In 1989, pharmaceutical executive and scientist Joshua Boger left a promising career at Merck to found his own drug-making start-up, Vertex Pharmaceuticals, in Cambridge, Massachusetts. Boger became CEO in 1992. By 1993, Vertex had 110 employees and had already impressed...
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About the Author

Journalist Barry Werth wrote The Billion-Dollar Molecule, also about Vertex.

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