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October 2000
Vol. 3, No. 8, p. 85,

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illustration ofbook innovationsPharmaceutical Innovation: Revolutionizing Human Health

Chemical Heritage Press, Philadelphia, 1999, 408 pp, $44.95 hardcover
ISBN 0-941901-21-1


In 1993, Ralph Landau began a study that culminated in Chemicals and Long-Term Economic Growth (Wiley: New York, 1998) that dealt with the entire worldwide chemical industry, the first industry to be based on science. Landau and his coeditors realized that the pharmaceutical sector of this industry deserved a separate, extensive study, and the result is Pharmaceutical Innovation, a wide-ranging book dealing with the last 150 years of a field that, "while still innovating, stands at the threshold of even newer technologies that will further affect the health and welfare of humanity." Unlike the earlier volume, it is more a technical and commercial history than an economic study.

Almost three-quarters of this six-chapter book is devoted to two long chapters—"Innovation in the Pharmaceutical Industry" and "Discovery of Major Drugs Currently in Use". These two chapters consider the historical evolution of the industry from different perspectives. The first considers the industry primarily from its economic impact; the second chapter is primarily about scientific novelty and the value drugs have provided to the practice of medicine. "The Role of Biotechnology in Drug Development" focuses on the history of eight companies (Amgen, Biogen, Centocor, Chiron, Genentech, Genetics Institute, Genzyme, and Immunex) from the 1970s through the 1990s. "Pharmaceutical Taxonomy of Most Important Drugs" demonstrates the different phases of drug discovery and includes an eight-page table of pharmaceutical bestsellers in the United States, as of 1998, classified by type.

"The Economics of Drug Discovery" summarizes econometric studies of major pharmaceutical companies over several years. "Clinical Champions as Critical Determinants of Drug Development" presents an intensive study of the tortuous and frequently serendipitous process of drug discovery, and it describes and analyzes five case studies of innovations (6-mercaptopurine, azathioprine, allopurinol, acyclovir, and ganciclovir) resulting from research on purine and pyrimidine analogues by 1988 Nobel physiology or medicine laureates George H. Hitchings and Gertrude B. Elion at Wellcome Research Laboratories. The redundancy between the chapters is deliberate and is intended to illustrate the varying dimensions of the innovation process. Replete with numerous charts, figures, tables, and portraits, the book includes alphabetical lists of references for each chapter, a 10-page glossary, and a detailed index.

Although intended for an audience of "informed laypersons", this meticulously documented account of R&D and the commercialization of science and technology in one of the world's key industries will also provide valuable information for persons within the industry and for policy makers, economists, corporate executives, research managers, physicians, health professionals, and historians of science, technology, and medicine.

—Reviewed by
George B. Kauffman

illustration of booksDrug Targeting: Strategies, Principles and Applications

Humana Press, Totowa, NJ, 2000, 320 pp, $89.50 hardcover
ISBN 0-89603-531-X


This book is a compilation of re-view articles written by interna- tional experts in drug targeting from both academia and industry. According to the editors, "targeted delivery systems have the potential to increase the efficacy of existing diagnostic and therapeutic agents and also create the opportunity for the use of new pharmaceuticals, substances that themselves can be harmful to normal tissues." Such hope provides more than enough reason to be interested in the subject of drug targeting. This basic survey examines both "classical" targeting methodologies and some of the "new wave of very promising ligands and constructs, all of which are opening new horizons for targeted drug delivery."

The book, like Gaul, is divided into three parts: Strategies, Theoretical Aspects, and Applications. Topics include applicability to HIV, leukemia, myocardial infarction, lymphoma and other cancers, and gene therapy. As with any such eclectic treatment, everyone's interests will not be equally served; for some, favorite technologies will be omitted, whereas for others, the approach will be too simplistic for their level of familiarity. But Drug Targeting can be a valuable resource—especially for beginners in the field—as much for the troubleshooting notes and extensive bibliography associated with each of the described protocols as for the introductory material at the beginning of each chapter highlighting the "state of the art" of that particular methodology.

—Reviewed by
Mark S. Lesney

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