Elixir by Charles Atkins
English | 2020 | Mystery & Thriller | ePUB | 2.9 MB
Dr Frank Garfield has found a cure for cancer, but cut-throat businesses are looking to profit on the research and don’t care who they trample over to do so.
Paediatric oncologist Dr Frank Garfield has discovered a genetic cure for cancer that can save his young patients. But his mentor, Nobel Prize laureate Dr Jackson Atlas, believes his research is like blood in the water for profit-hungry drug companies that will twist and weaponize it.
UNICO Pharmaceuticals CEO Leona Lang is desperate to find a new product, and Frank’s formula could be the answer. But Jackson is an obstacle.
Dalton Lang, Leona’s sociopathic son, has been tasked with seducing Frank into joining UNICO. His first steps are to eliminate Jackson and make it look like a burglary.
With Jackson gone, will Frank be persuaded to join UNICO or let his research, which could blow apart the cancer industry, die? The lives of innocent children hang in the balance. Frank can save them . . . but at what cost?
Frank stared at his mentor, white-haired Jackson Atlas, and wondered why he even tried. ‘You don’t understand.’ He doesn’t get it. What can I say to get a yes? There has got to be a way.
‘I do,’ Jackson replied from a leather chair, stained with sweat on the armrests. ‘But just because you can do a thing, doesn’t mean you should.’
‘They’re children.’ Frank argued. A wave of young faces raced through his mind, most of them dead … but not Jen Owens, not yet. She doesn’t have long. You need to make him say yes. While he knew from painful experience not to get attached to his patients, it was not a trick he’d managed to achieve. Jen’s imminent death felt real and awful. And I could save her.
‘That’s how it would start.’ Jackson said. ‘I’m telling you, the minute the drug companies get their hands into a thing it goes sideways. It always does, and you will have no control. Zero.’
Frank’s gut tightened. He let out a breath and looked around at Jackson’s familiar study, a conservatory in a Tudor in one of Brookline’s oldest neighborhoods. The smell was dank, traces of tortoise dung and guano from Jackson’s pets, Killer the Galapagos tortoise and Harvey his potty-mouthed Macaw. ‘You’re wrong,’ he said. ‘You know how I work. I write down nothing. It’s all in my head. I can control that.’
Jackson snorted. ‘Not likely.’ He sat up and fixed Frank in his gaze. ‘You’re young. You don’t understand, with pharma it’s all about the dollar. But wrapped in a Madison Avenue moral shellac. Smiling faces, puppies, direct advertising to consumers desperate for a pill to fix what’s wrong. And doctors … we’re the worst. We don’t read the small print and believe what comes out of the mouths of sweet young marketing reps who don’t even have a degree in science. They are, without exception, pimps and whores, Frank.’
‘Pimps and whores. Pimps and whores,’ the macaw echoed, and then attacked a seed-embedded toy.
‘I’m not arguing about that,’ Frank said. ‘But if I don’t pursue the natural course of my research, someone else will. It’s just a matter of when.’
‘Maybe.’ Jackson said. ‘Eventually. It’s a can of worms you should not open. Or should I say, open further. And I’m sorry to do this. It hurts. You are, with the possible exception of one other, the most-brilliant researcher I’ve had the privilege to work with.’