Roger Perlmutter lights up the biological dark, building a new pharma force in Eikon and its superpowered microscopes
HAYWARD, Calif. — After two decades at the highest R&D ranks of pharma, Roger Perlmutter has a blunt explanation for why drug development so often goes awry.
“Most drug candidates don’t even come close, because we have no idea what we’re doing,” Perlmutter said. “It’s a bloody miracle if you ever make a drug that works.”
As Perlmutter sees it, scientists are still grasping to understand the machine that is the human body. After leading research at Amgen from 2001 to 2012, and then at Merck from 2013 to 2021, Perlmutter took an unlikely third act, joining privately-held startup Eikon Therapeutics as CEO. The company’s audacious goal is nothing short of being able to look at the real-time mechanics of the cell at the level of individual proteins, using Nobel Prize-winning microscope technology at an industrial scale to identify and treat new, challenging drug targets.
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