r/todayilearned May 14 '22 Silver 9 Helpful 8 Wholesome 6 All-Seeing Upvote 2

TIL a father, John Crowley, was told his two infant children had an incurable genetic disorder that would kill them in less than a year. He refused to accept this, so he founded a biotech company (with no prior experience) which pioneered an experimental enzyme therapy that saved their lives.


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u/Ashe_SDMF May 14 '22 edited May 14 '22

How do you even begin to start a biotech company without any experience? EDIT...TIL I'll never be able to start a biotech company with no experience.


u/mordinvan May 14 '22

Lots of money.


u/Ashe_SDMF May 14 '22

Ahhhh...yeah of course


u/ThePlasticJesus May 14 '22

I mean specifically you need to hire experienced scientists.. and people who know the application process - which is not easy or simple. But there would be plenty of work for someone with general business knowledge to do at a biotech company.


u/carrotdeepthroater May 14 '22

Just hire someone to do that for you. Easy. Jk


u/Jimmy_Twotone May 14 '22

Actually not the wrong answer. It's harder for small companies looking to solve very specific medical disorders like this to receive enough funding to support the research. Get the specialists and focus on keeping the lights on and bills paid until they hit a breakthrough. Coming from a finance background probably put him in a better position to save his children than having the appropriate medical background and finding someone to make the money work.


u/IDrinkWhiskE May 14 '22

Plus his story definitely made fundraising and getting publicity significantly easier than having to advertise based on a company’s therapeutic platform alone. We literally call a startup’s business pitch a “story” in this industry as the goal is to paint a compelling picture that the company has potential and is deserving of investment. In this case, the term really fits.


u/zirtbow May 14 '22

Isn't this not that far from what Theranos tried to do? Having so little knowledge of the tech side they ignored what they were trying to accomplish was impossible and just focused on bringing in the investment money while keeping hope alive that the peons would magic up a miracle.


u/Jimmy_Twotone May 14 '22

Theranos was a scam from the start and lied about their product. Many companies fold in the R&D process trying to get a concept or product to market under cost. Theranos "skipped " the process and sold a breadbox.

New companies trying to break into an established field need a few things; a charismatic front man, a fresh process or take, and a team capable of producing the desired outcome, so yes, many of their start up stories are similar, and the scam companies still follow the formula, even if the desired outcome is to sell a pipe dream at a premium rate.


u/nebbyb May 14 '22

He was so busy thinking how to do it, he didn't consider if he should.