Brady Haggett: Hello science talk audience. My name is Brady Huggett and I come from the journal Nature Biotechnology. We just launched a new podcast-an independent series-and the editors of Science Talk think you might be interested. This is a 10-part program that focuses on the history of antisense to the drug model, starting with an antisense pioneer who overcomes poverty, and a difficult childhood in order to achieve his own. Eventually, his company developed the first drug to treat spinal muscular atrophy, the main genetic killer of infants. We have made a trailer for the show, and now I want to play it for you. The podcast is titled “Hope in a Dream” and the first episode aired on September 8. Give you.
Brady Haggett: Stan Crooke once told me something I will never forget. That was in 2015, when I interviewed him at the Hilton Hotel near Union Square in San Francisco. He attended a biotechnology conference in San Francisco and served as the CEO of a company he founded in 1989.
Stan grew up in extreme poverty in downtown Indianapolis in the 1940s and 1950s. An “ugly place”, as he said, when we talked, I asked him how he overcame that neighborhood and his tough upbringing, got himself to college, and then farther.
Stan Crook: Therefore, it is mainly despair and anger. It’s just that there is no hope, the whole idea of ambition. What I mean is that poverty is not a loss of money-although of course it is pathetic. This is the loss of dreams, the lack of hope. That is poverty.
Brady Haggett: There is no real future.
Stan Crook: Besides. At least in my opinion, this is not even the ability to dream, you know?
Brady Haggett: This is the life story of Stan Crook. This is the story of the biotech company he founded, and the story of a powerful drug discovery technology called Antisense. Together, they solved a degenerative disease called spinal muscular atrophy, which has been taking the lives of children and traumatizing families since it was first discovered more than a century ago.
From Natural biotechnology, I am Brady Huggett, this is the hope of my dreams.
[theme music, snippets of dialogue]
“Can’t believe, can’t explain, can’t understand how this drug can fail”
“Like, one of the most amazing and dramatic moments in my life”
“So I thought, I have to sit here and watch my daughter slowly lose weight? Like, is this what I want to do?”
“The winner is Spinraza from Biogen and Ionis”
“When you have such a common vision with a group of people, and you have to say goodbye to half of them, it is a trauma.”
“This is what I have been thinking about, it is hope. SMA, especially infantile, is a terrible disease.”
“But if I’m telling the truth, it’s the truth”
Brady Haggett: Well, I spent more than two years reporting and writing, but I will not give up that minute. This is a fascinating story, and I think this story is also underestimated and underestimated. 10 chapters, one chapter every week, starting on September 8th. You can find it wherever you get a podcast: Apple, Google, Spotify, wherever it is, and subscribe there. Just look for the hope in your dreams. thanks for listening.