From Our Bookshelves: The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks & Building Global Biobrands

Each month we plan to highlight a couple books, old and new, from the MassBio Bookshelves.  We would love to hear what you think of these books and about any others you would recommend!

Here’s what we’re reading this month:

Immortal Life Biobrands


Immortal Life 1. The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot (2010)

Written for a general audience, this book has appeal for scientists and non-scientists alike. Categorized under Science – Cultural Studies, The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks is non-fiction but reads like a novel.

From Skloot’s website (

Her name was Henrietta Lacks, but scientists know her as HeLa. She was a poor black tobacco farmer whose cells—taken without her knowledge in 1951—became one of the most important tools in medicine, vital for developing the polio vaccine, cloning, gene mapping, in vitro fertilization, and more. Henrietta’s cells have been bought and sold by the billions, yet she remains virtually unknown, and her family can’t afford health insurance.

The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks tells a riveting story of the collision between ethics, race, and medicine; of scientific discovery and faith healing; and of a daughter consumed with questions about the mother she never knew. It’s a story inextricably connected to the dark history of experimentation on African Americans, the birth of bioethics, and the legal battles over whether we control the stuff we’re made of.


Biobrands2. Building Global Biobrands: Taking Biotechnology to Market by Francoise Simon & Philip Kotler (2003)

Categorized under Business & Economics

From the inside cover:

From medicine and defense to food and cosmetics, biotechnological breakthroughs are creating huge new global market opportunities as well as unprecedented challenges. Companies from mega-pharmaceuticals to infotech giants and biotech start-ups must radically rethink their business models. In the first book on the business of biotechnology, Françoise Simon and Philip Kotler combine their biotechnology and marketing expertise to show managers how to innovate with bionetworks, win customers with biobrands, and create sustainable advantage worldwide.

… The chapters on building and sustaining biobrands are the centerpiece of this indispensable book. Simon and Kotler present a powerful framework that will enable any manager to redefine and transform traditional models into a new branding paradigm: the global “targeted” model as an alternative to the global “mass market” model. The authors illustrate how each of these models has proven successful in launching such blockbuster drugs as Viagra, Lipitor, Rituxan, and Gleevec.

Relevant to all industries impacted by biotechnology from consumer goods to industrial products, Building Global Biobrands is essential reading for every manager, marketer, analyst, and consultant who must understand the Biotech Century.


What do you think of these books? Are you reading any good industry books right now?


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Posted on February 22, 2012, in MassBio, MassBio's Bookshelves and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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