RocketBoom Founder Fighting For Father's Life; Meanwhile, Drug Company Is Committing PR Suicide

This is a story that’s bound to explode onto mainstream media today. RocketBoom founder Andrew Baron’s father, Frederick Baron, is dying of multiple myeloma, a particularly nasty form of cancer. Last week doctors gave him days to live – as of this morning he’s still fighting.

According to a blog post by Andrew, the family was preparing for the worst. And then a possible miracle cure: one of Frederick’s doctors discovered last week that a multiple sclerosis drug called Tysabri, produced by Biogen Idec, may cure the cancer.

The drug was not FDA approved for treating multiple myeloma, but Baron’s father has friends in the right places – Lance Armstrong, President Bill Clinton, Senator John Kerry, Senator Tom Harkin and Senator Ted Kennedy all personally requested that the FDA approve the use. FDA head Andrew von Eschenbach ok’d it, and the drug was moved to Baron’s hospital.

But then things get crazy. The CEO of Biogen Idec, James Mullen, has apparently refused to approve the experimental use of the drug for Baron, despite personal telephone calls from all of the individuals above.

What is he thinking.

As far as I can tell, there is no downside at all to letting this go through. It’s not like there’s any lawsuit that might come of this if he approves it. And he can then call in favors from, well, Lance Armstrong, President Bill Clinton, Senator John Kerry, Senator Tom Harkin and Senator Ted Kennedy. But by denying the request, and angering some of the most powerful people in the country, he’s setting up a PR nightmare for himself and his company. Plus, there’s some serious bad karma coming his way.

Either there’s more to this story or we’ve just been introduced to one of the dumbest CEOs in America. I’ve emailed Biogen Idec for their side of things.

This is one of those times where someone in our community needs our support. Andrew tells you how we can do just that in his blog post.