In Good Company

Bayer's pharma chief and the search for 'magic pills'

From gene therapy for Parkinson's disease to advanced drugs for cancer, the German company has a pipeline of treatments taking shape

The promise of stem cell therapy is that it tackles medical problems to which there are currently no solutions, says Mr Stefan Oelrich, president of its pharmaceutical division.
The promise of stem cell therapy is that it tackles medical problems to which there are currently no solutions, says Mr Stefan Oelrich, president of its pharmaceutical division. PHOTO: BAYER

Remember the picture of Muhammad Ali lighting the Olympic flame at the Atlanta Games? The famously swift hands that mesmerised the world and knocked out many a doughty boxer now jerking awkwardly upwards because of Parkinson's disease affecting his movements? The legendary motor-mouth struggling with every word?

At the time when Ali was diagnosed with the disease, the most potent treatment available was levodopa and a common side effect of the drug was dyskinesia, the involuntary, erratic movement of the face and limbs.

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