With new buy­out, J&J jumps back in on a sto­ried but trou­bled Holy Grail tar­get

Over a decade ago, some phar­ma ex­ec­u­tives fell in love with a mol­e­cule called ra­pamycin and its ge­net­ic tar­get, called mTOR. (Lit­er­al­ly: “mol­e­c­u­lar tar­get of ra­pamycin.”)

It was easy to see why. Orig­i­nal­ly iden­ti­fied in 1972 by an In­di­an-Cana­di­an chemist, who hid it in ice cream tubs in his freez­er and then smug­gled it in­to the US af­ter the com­pa­ny he worked for asked him to aban­don the pro­gram, it was fi­nal­ly ap­proved in 1999 as an im­muno­sup­pres­sant for or­gan trans­plant re­cip­i­ents.

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