Patt Morrison for May 4, 2011

James Watson, father of DNA, takes on the pharmaceutical companies

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James Watson, co-discoverer of the structure of DNA, arrives at Time Magazine's 100 Most Influential People in the World dinner on May 8, 2008 in New York.

In 1962 James Watson was awarded the Nobel Prize, along with his research partners Francis Crick and Maurice Wilkins, for discovering the double helix structure of DNA. In 2011 Watson is wondering what happened to the class of super drugs—pharmaceuticals targeted for specific diseases based on the specific DNA structure of a person’s cells—that he feels should have been developed by now. At the Milken Institute Global Conference Watson spoke on the promise of medical science and to Patt he states bluntly that the promise has not been fulfilled. He saves the bulk of his criticism for pharmaceutical companies that, Watson believes, is simply not turning out the kind of effective drugs quickly enough. The discoverer of the double helix talks to Patt about what should come next in modern medicine.


James Watson, Nobel Laureate, 1962; chancellor emeritus, Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory

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