Biotech millionaire John Crowley, the 40-year-old Princeton resident who is reportedly mulling a bid for the GOP U.S. Senate nomination, has a story that is so potentially compelling that Harrison Ford may be playing him in a movie based on his life.
From The Cure: How A Father, John Crowley, Raised $100 Million — and Bucked the Medical Establishment — in a Quest to Save His Children, a book written by Wall Street Journal Pulitzer Prize winner Getta Anand:
The remarkable true story of one father’s race against time to build a business that would cure his sick children. John and Aileen Crowley were on top of the world. With a brand-new Harvard Business School degree, three beautiful children, a new house, and a great job, they thought that they had just entered the best years of life. Then doctors diagnosed their two youngest children with Pompe disease, and everything changed.
Fifteen-month-old Megan and five-month-old Patrick were given only months to live. Pompe disease, the Crowleys were told, was so rare that no company had yet developed a medicine to combat it. There was no cure, no treatment–only the gradual degeneration of muscle so that in the end, afflicted children would be unable to walk, eat, or even breathe on their own. It was a nightmare the Crowleys could hardly comprehend.
But John Crowley refused to accept this death sentence–and in the absence of other options, he chose his own solution. Determined to find scientists who could develop a replacement enzyme that would keep the disease at bay and his children alive, Crowley quit his job as a marketing executive and invested himself and his life savings in a biotechnology start-up company. In just over a year, Novazyme Pharmaceuticals Inc. went from an endowment of $37,000 to $27 million, and was sold to Genzyme Corp. soon thereafter for a newsbreaking $137.5 million. But the struggle wasn’t over yet, and scientific setbacks, accusations of conflict of interest, business troubles, and the children’s own worsening condition would test the limits of John and Aileen’s minds and hearts as they fought for a cure.