IMPROBABLE DEVELOPMENTS

The Human Stories Behind the Medicines

Improbable Developments: The human stories behind the medicines

Every medicine in your pharmacy has a human story behind it. Real people doing real work and living real lives.

We all have romantic ideas about scientists working late into the evening or doctors dropping everything to answer a phone call about a patient. You can almost envision the moment when one of those researchers finally solves an intellectual puzzle and leaps into action. Their eyes go from an empty stare to an alert laser-like focus. They sit a bit taller and start to read frantically. I am sure you’ve seen those movies too.

But is it real? Is that how it really happens?

That’s what we intend to explore in “Improbable Developments.”

Each month we will talk to someone who was or is in the trenches of biopharma R&D and let them tell their story. We’ll be talking about medicines you may know and some that never saw the light of day. We’ll talk to people involved at the bench in the earliest stages through to those who run the clinical trials and present the data to regulators around the world. We'll even be talking to patients who have joined the effort.

The science of drug discovery and development creates a rich landscape for all sorts of stories to unfold. The technical challenges, the urgency to help patients, career aspirations, the fight for resources, and many other factors all work together to produce a complex and enthralling human drama. In our monthly discussions, we will look at this from many different angles.

Through our discussions, we hope to give you a real appreciation for the types of people behind the medicines you take and the medical devices you may use. You’ll get to know each of them a little bit and start to understand what they have in common and how different and unique they really are.

Episodes

Episode 6: Robert Weker Against All Odds

Rob Weker’s story is remarkable for many reasons. First and foremost, he has beaten cancer.  Not once. Not twice. But three times.  Getting the third diagnosis, this time it was pancreatic cancer, really got his attention. Only 7% of pancreatic patients live beyond 5-years. I met Rob at last year’s Patients as Partners conference and really…

Carol Marzetta: Living to Help Other People

This month listen to Dr. Carol Marzetta talk about how the urge to help other people has shaped her career and her life. From her earliest days as a Discovery Biologist, she has found her passion in work that tries to help people in need. She shares with us some stories about the emotional pendulum around some…

Donald Kirsch: Getting to Know a Drug Hunter

We’ve all been there. You are at a party and someone asks, “So, what do you do?” Dr. Kirsch always found it hard to explain his career as a discovery scientist. He decided to write a book about it.  The Drug Hunters: An Improbable Quest to Discover New Medicines is a colorful, fact-filled narrative history of the search for new medicines…

Episode 3: Hope Can Be Curative.

David Pearce Ph.D., Sanford Research Leader Today we hear from David Pearce, PhD, President of Innovation and Research, Sanford Health and Vice Chair, Consortium Assembly, International Rare Disease Research Consortium (IRDiRC) Dr. Pearce’s rare disease background emanates from publishing over 100 research papers on Batten Disease. David talks to us about how he got involved in…

Episode 2: Kyle Bryant: Remember Why We Are Doing All This

We welcome Kyle Bryant of the Friedreich’s Ataxia Research Alliance (FARA) to discuss his journey as a patient with Friedreich’s Ataxia (FA), as an active patient leader, and in his job as a liaison between the FA community and researchers. After being diagnosed with FA when only 17 years old, Kyle has dedicated his life…

Episode 1: David Fajgenbaum, MD, MBA, MSC, FCPP

Chasing My Cure: A Doctor’s Race to Turn Hope Into Action We are honored to have Dr. David Fajgenbaum as our first guest on Improbable Developments. His story is intense. Before he even earned is medical degree, he was faced by a rare life-threatening illness for which there was no treatment, let alone cure. Tune…