As Dr. Sid Gilman approached the stage, the hotel ballroom quieted with anticipation. It was July 29, 2008, and a thousand people had gathered in Chicago for the International Conference on Alzheimer’s Disease. For decades, scientists had tried, and failed, to devise a cure for Alzheimer’s. But in recent years two pharmaceutical companies, Elan and Wyeth, had worked together on an experimental drug called bapineuzumab, which had shown promise in halting the cognitive decay caused by the disease. Tests on mice had proved successful, and in an initial clinical trial a small number of human patients appeared to improve. A second phase of trials, involving two hundred and forty patients, was near completion. Gilman had chaired the safety-monitoring committee for the trials. Now he was going to announce the results of the second phase.
Alzheimer’s affects roughly five million Americans, and it is projected that as the population ages the number of new cases will increase dramatically. This looming epidemic has added urgency to the scientific search for a cure. It has also come to the attention of investors, because there would be huge demand for a drug that diminishes the effects of Alzheimer’s. As Elan and Wyeth spent hundreds of millions of dollars concocting and testing bapineuzumab, and issued hints about the possibility of a medical breakthrough, investors wondered whether bapi, as it became known, might be “the next Lipitor.” Several months before the Chicago conference,Barron’s published a cover story speculating that bapi could become “the biggest drug of all time.”
- 58In Mike McQueary, some see a hero who brought down a monster. Others see a liar who railroaded a legend. At the upcoming trial that will close the book on the Jerry Sandusky scandal, Joe Paterno's former protégé will have the final word. http://espn.go.com/espn/feature/story/_/id/10542793/the-whistleblower-last-stand
- 57Hayes has devoted the past fifteen years to studying atrazine, a widely used herbicide made by Syngenta. The company’s notes reveal that it struggled to make sense of him, and plotted ways to discredit him. http://www.newyorker.com/reporting/2014/02/10/140210fa_fact_aviv
- 56Meetings are such a fixture in our work lives that we constantly hear the same advice: have an agenda, keep it short, don’t invite too many people. However, despite the commonality of this well-meaning advice, research from Harvard suggests that half of all meetings are unproductive. http://99u.com/
- 56A few weeks ago David Carr profiled Kevin Kelly on page 1 of the New York Times Business section. He wrote that Kelly's pronouncements were "often both grandiose and correct." That’s a pretty good summary of Kevin Kelly's style and his prescience. http://www.edge.org/conversation/the-technium
- 55Nate Weiner is neither a journalist nor a publisher. He’s a developer bent on changing publishing, and he’s built the platform to do it. With 10 million users, Pocket is the largest save-for-later service on the market. But more than market share, what sets Pocket apart is its ability to…