If you are in the biotech industry or simply interested in biotechnology, this list will give you the best books on various topics, including inspirational stories about scientific breakthroughs and entrepreneurial ventures.
- “The Antidote: Inside the World of New Pharma”
In 1989, Joshua Boger left his job at Merck’s American pharmaceutical company to start a new company, Vertex. Through his work, he helped transform the way health care is delivered. In The Billion Dollar Molecule, Barry Werth talks about the early days of the company and the challenges that face Big Pharma.
- “Her-2: The Making of Herceptin, a Revolutionary Treatment for Breast Cancer”
Her-2 is the biography of the drug known as Herceptin, which has been shown to help thousands of patients with advanced breast cancer. In his book, Robert Bazell talks about the various factors that contributed to the development of this drug. Some of these include politics, Hollywood, and the hard work and dedication of the scientists and patients who helped make this drug possible.
- “Regenesis: How Synthetic Biology Will Reinvent Nature and Ourselves”
George Church is probably the most prominent scientist in the field of synthetic biology. In his book Regenesis, he and Ed Regis talk about a future in which humans become immune to viruses, allowing bacteria to create various items, such as a drinking cup. These scenarios show how artificial biology could potentially change our lives.
- “Genentech: The Beginnings of Biotech”
Genentech was founded by Herbert Boyer and Robert Swanson, who was inspired by the idea of using bacteria to create a drug. In this book, Sally Smith Hughes discusses the entrepreneurs who helped create the company.
- “The Emperor of All Maladies: A Biography of Cancer”
The Emperor of All Maladies is a Pulitzer Prize-winning book that tells the story of cancer, from its first appearance to the modern battle against it. Siddhartha Mukherjee draws on the multiple perspectives of cancer to provide a comprehensive and accurate depiction of the disease. He uses a combination of historical and cellular biologists to examine the condition.
- “Science Lessons: What the Business of Biotech Taught Me About Management”
In Science Lessons, Gordon Binder talks about the journey of the biotechnology company Amgen from its humble beginnings to its emergence as one of the world’s leading pharmaceutical companies. He provides a comprehensive analysis of the company’s highs and lows during the development of its drugs. This book is ideal for aspiring Biotech leaders.
- “The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks”
Although you might already know about the HeLa immortal cell lines, did you know that these were taken from a poor African-American tobacco farmer in 1951? In her book, Rebecca Skloot discusses the conflicts that arise when race and science collide. She also talks about her daughter, who was consumed by questions about her mother.
- “The Double Helix”
First published in 1968 and written by scientist James D. Watson, The Double Helix is an account of the discovery of DNA by Watson and Francis Crick. A must-read for anyone interested in discovery and the history of scientific discovery.
- “The Code Breaker: Jennifer Doudna, Gene Editing, and the Future of the Human Race”
This book, published in 2021, is a great read describing the interesting history of the discovery of the gene-editing technique known as CRISPR. This is a terrific read, covering science, patents, and the potential power of this new gene editing tool.