"Gene Jockeys is a tour de force. Following the trail of the twists and turns in the experimental paths that yielded the first recombinant drugs, Rasmussen offers the reader a clear view of the difficulties that were encountered in the application of the new science of recombinant DNA… These case studies he sets in a changing scenario of the transition of the early researchers from quasi-academic style work habits to the more secretive and competitive environment of the drug industry. An important book for today’s readers of contemporary science"
"This is a remarkably original account of the first two decades of the biotechnology industry, when molecular geneticists from academia joined with venture capitalists and hungry investors to form the smart and nimble companies that turned into the powerhouses of Amgen and Biogen, Genentech and Genetics Institute. Rasmussen reveals how they did it, taking us inside the firms themselves by using interviews and business records – including telephone calls, private conversations, and laboratory notebooks – that patent infringement suits made public. He tells a rich and eye-opening story, spotlighting how the first generation of biotechnologists made their firms vital outposts of academic culture and how the firms achieved and marketed blockbuster drugs such as erythropoietin in the enabling environment of federal statutes and court decisions. In all, an even-handed, informative, and important book"
- Daniel Kevles, Yale University; author of In the Name of Eugenics, The Physicists, and The Baltimore Case
"Although some would assign more societal benefit and importance to the early products of Biotech than Rasmussen, the stories of the competition between teams of scientists to produce the first set of human proteins as therapeutics are both exciting and revealing of the faults of mankind."
- Phillip Sharp, Massachusetts Institute of Technology; Nobel laureate in Physiology or Medicine
Rasmussen achieves admirably what he sets out to accomplish... Gene Jockeys will be the go-to source on the history of the biotech industry in the 1980s for some time to come.
- American Historical Review
A welcome corrective to both triumphant and alarmist accounts concerning the entanglement of molecular biology in particular and universities in general with business interests... Rasmussen succeeds in delivering a readable and engaging account of this exciting episode in the history of molecular biology,
- British Journal for the History of Science
An engaging, informative work appropriate for general readers and beginning students of molecular biology and biotechnology... Highly recommended.
Well-written and engaging... Gene Jockeys is an in-depth look at the early days of biotech, when many thought genetic engineering might conquer every disease and when microbiologists were poised to become the academic world's equivalent of rock stars.
- Health Affairs
An impressive book ... with a new frame of reference that effectively treats the biotech revolution of the 1970s and 1980s as a distinct historical moment. Any scholars interested in the history of early biotechnology will find Gene Jockeys essential reading.