CSHL Press News

Conscience and Courage


Conscience and Courage
How Visionary CEO Henri Termeer Built a Biotech Giant and Pioneered the Rare Disease Industry
By John Hawkins
222 pages, 32-page photo insert, illustrated (63 B&W), index
Hardcover • $29 ISBN 978-1-621823-70-4
 Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory Press


Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory Press Publishes Conscience and Courage, the Remarkable Life Story of Former Genzyme CEO and Rare Disease Pioneer, Henri Termeer

Author John Hawkins has written a well-researched biography about Termeer’s legacy—how he built a global biotech giant, Genzyme, and mentored a new generation of business leaders who continue to relentlessly challenge conventional innovation models and bring new novel treatments to patients around the world.

Cold Spring Harbor, New York, October 1, 2019 -- Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory Press (CSHL Press) today announced the publication of Conscience and Courage: How Visionary CEO Henri Termeer Built a Biotech Giant and Pioneered the Rare Disease Industry. Written by John Hawkins, a biotech industry expert, long-time consultant to healthcare CEOs and Board Chairmen, and Vice Chairman and Director of Odgers Berndtson, LLC, Conscience and Courage provides insights into Henri Termeer’s extraordinary life and his transformational approaches and actionable steps used to reshape research and development strategies in biotech.

“Biotech’s scientific luminaries are widely known, its business pioneers less so,” said Dr. John Inglis, Publisher and Executive Director, CSHL Press. “We are delighted to help John Hawkins put an overdue spotlight on Henri Termeer, an innovative executive who always put patients and their need for hope at the center of his healthcare strategy. Under his leadership, the small start-up Genzyme took a novel approach to research, development, and commercialization of treatments for rare disease and became a biotech giant. John’s book charts this transformation but also Termeer’s personal evolution as a source of wisdom, guidance, and mentoring that continues to have an impact on the management teams of major corporations today.”

Dutch-born, Termeer began his career in the healthcare industry and quickly rose to senior leadership positions. But in 1983, he changed course to join a two-year-old start-up, Genzyme, and over the next 28 years built a global Fortune 500 company with more than $4 billion in annual revenues and 14,400 employees. Under his mentorship, the Genzyme teams chose to forgo the traditional blockbuster approach to innovation and instead put patients at the center of their strategy. They focused on the development of breakthrough treatments for smaller groups of underserved patients suffering from rare diseases who had no other treatment options.

“Henri Termeer is among the founders of the biotechnology industry, and, without doubt, he was the father of the crusade to discover, develop, and deliver novel therapies to rare disease patients,” said author John Hawkins. “His vision, courage, and exemplary leadership serve as a model for today’s and tomorrow’s biotech leaders. He was a generous humanitarian of high character who possessed a passion for patients and an unyielding optimism in facing the challenges he met in improving their lives. I wrote the book to not only reveal the inspirational magic of Termeer’s life, leadership, and lessons, but to recognize a giant, largely unknown, who did so much for the millions of patients, patient families, and caregivers who benefit daily from his contributions.”

Thirty million people in the United States, 10% of the population, more than half of them children, have a “rare” disease—an enduring, often life-threatening condition typically affecting fewer than 200,000 people. In the 1980s, drug companies were averse to the risky development of therapies for such small groups of patients that might require tens or hundreds of millions of dollars of investment. Henri Termeer succeeded in guiding Genzyme to the creation of a wealth of treatments for such conditions with a transformative approach that harnessed innovative biotechnology to a business model capable of sustaining its costs. And he was instrumental in the founding of the Biotechnology Industry Organization (BIO), which successfully advocated for the first legislation to give patients access to breakthrough and experimental therapies.

“Our long-time colleague, John Hawkins, has written a thoughtful, comprehensive book about an extraordinary man. Henri Termeer had all the hallmarks of a great leader, mentoring scores of other leaders and being an innovative, iconoclastic thinker,” said Steve Potter, CEO of Odgers Berndtson US. “We were delighted to help support John’s work in writing about the life and legacy of Henri Termeer.”

In an accessible, engaging style, Conscience and Courage is a unique glimpse into the life and times of a business pioneer whose influence pervades today’s biotech and pharmaceutical sectors through his direct mentoring of more than 40 current and former CEOs. The book includes revealing, first-hand accounts from friends and colleagues based on more than 130 personal interviews with the author. Termeer’s story will intrigue general audiences, as well as readers interested in entrepreneurial leadership, the early development of biotechnology, medicine, business, and public policy.

Conscience and Courage is available in print and eBook formats online and at bookstores. Visit www.termeerbook.com for more information.


About the Author
John Hawkins is a biotechnology and pharmaceutical industry veteran and an expert in assessing the industry’s top executive and boardroom talent. For nearly four decades, John has encountered and studied many of the world’s best and brightest leaders in the life sciences arena. John’s personal exposure to Henri Termeer began through his involvement as a healthcare investment banker in the IPO heydays of the mid-1980s. Later, while serving as the CFO of a publicly held, pioneering mammalian cell culture firm and as a senior partner assessing and appointing more than 200 pharma/biotech Board Directors and CEOs, John accrued a unique contextual perspective on Termeer’s life and legacy. Father of three grown children and a resident of Charlottesville, Virginia, Hawkins has climbed four of the world’s Seven Summits.

About Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory Press
From its beginnings in 1933 as an initiative to publish an annual Symposium on Quantitative Biology, Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory Press is now the largest of the five educational divisions of the Laboratory, with more than 200 books in print, eight journals, and a variety of online initiatives. Its publications assist working scientists, graduate and undergraduate students, and the general public through the mission of the Press to foster and financially support the Laboratory’s commitment to the advance and spread of scientific knowledge.

About Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory
Established in 1890, Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory, headquartered in Cold Spring Harbor, New York, is a private, nonprofit basic research and educational institution, with some 330 scientists who conduct groundbreaking research in cancer, neurobiology, plant genetics, and bioinformatics. The Laboratory is one of eight National Cancer Institute–designated basic research centers in the United States. It is recognized internationally for its educational activities, which include scientific meetings and courses that attract more than 8000 scientists to the campus each year as well as the preprint servers bioRxiv and medRxiv. Its Watson School of Biological Sciences offers an innovative Ph.D. program. In addition, the Laboratory trains college undergraduates through the Undergraduate Research Program, high-school students through the Partners for the Future Program, and grade-school children through its Nature Study Program summer camp. The Laboratory also operates the Dolan DNA Learning Center, which offers laboratory workshops to science teachers and students. Other components of the Laboratory include Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory Press, the Banbury Conference Center, and the Cancer Genome Research Center.

Media Contact:
Robert Redmond, Marketing Manager, Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory Press
[email protected]

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