Isis Pharmaceuticals (Nasdaq: ISIS) is a drug discovery and development company focused on the untapped therapeutic target, RNA. The company commercialized the world's first antisense drug and currently has 10 antisense products in development to treat metabolic, cardiovascular and inflammatory diseases and cancer.
Through its Ibis division, Isis is developing a biosensor to identify infectious organisms. As an innovator in RNA-based drug discovery and development, Isis is the owner or exclusive licensee of more than 1,500 issued patents worldwide.
Dr. Stanley Crooke has spent his entire adult life in science. Crooke was born and raised in Indianapolis, Ind., in the shadows of Eli Lilly and Co. (NYSE: LLI), where the majority of town members dreamed of working at or with Lilly.
While at that time Crooke didn't know his fate, his career in biotechnology would bring him back to his Indianapolis roots for the largest and to date, the most important corporate collaboration of Isis' history.
Some of the highlights of his professional career included positions at Bristol Myers (NYSE: BMY) and SmithKline Beckman Corp. (SKB). At Bristol, Crooke helped to establish the company's anticancer drug discovery and development program and succeeded in bringing a significant number of drugs to market. At 35, Crooke became president of research and development for SKB. It was at SKB that he was first introduced to antisense technology and thought the concept was worthy of more attention than it was receiving.
As a result, in 1989, Crooke set out to revolutionize the drug discovery world with the establishment of Isis Pharmaceuticals. Crooke put together a team of approximately 30 scientists, several of whom are still with the company, to perform the biggest experiment of their lives. The experiment started in 1989 in a small office building in Sorrento Valley, with labs located in a garage. Two years later, the company went public, and today it is widely considered the leader in its field.
Crooke is on the board of directors of Antisense Therapeutics Limited, Toorak, Victoria, Australia; EPIX Medical Inc., Cambridge, Mass.; and is a member of the San Diego State University BioScience Center Scientific Advisory Board. He also serves as an adjunct professor at San Diego State University, and has won a number of teaching awards. Crooke has authored more than 436 publications and edited 19 books.
Crooke received his M.D. and Ph.D. from Baylor College of Medicine, Houston, and his B.S. in Pharmacy from Butler University.